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Beyond Access: Digital divide, Internet Use and Gratifications Gained
Unformatted Document Text:  R ETHINKING THE D IGITAL D IVIDE 5 and elderly the most disconnected from the virtual world. Further, even if gaps have shrunk in terms of access (Katz et al., 2001; Smolenski et al 2000), there may remain significant gaps in terms of patterns of use and gratifications gained (Lazarus and Mora 2000; Servon, 2002). Moving beyond the “access gap” to a “uses gap” is the purpose of this paper, and for this the uses and gratifications approach from mass communication studies seems particularly well suited. Uses and gratifications perspective According to the uses-and-gratifications perspective, communication needs interact with social and psychological factors to produce motives for communication (Rosengren, 1974). In other words, people use media strategically. They employ different media for different purposes and, more importantly, they select among media choices based on how well each option helps them meet specific needs or goals (Katz Gurevitch, & Haas, 1973; Katz et al., 1974). Underlying this perspective is the assumption that people evaluate available media options and choose among media on the basis of the gratification they seek to satisfy. Underlying this perspective is the notion that people are motivated by a desire to fulfill certain needs. So rather that asking how our media choices influence us, a uses and gratifications perspective asks how our basic needs influence our media choices. It is important to note that the media choices that people make are motivated by the desire to satisfy a wide variety of functions: entertainment, diversion, social connection, personal identity, information, etc. Much of the research on uses and gratifications has been concerned with identifying the specific gratifications satisfied by the use of media (Rubin, 1994; Swanson, 1992). The first assessments on this topic were made by Herzog (1944), who coined the term “uses and gratifications” to explain the specific

Authors: Cho, Jaeho., Zuniga, Homero Gil de., Nah, Seungahn., Humane, Abhiyan., Hwang, Hyunseo., Rojas, Hernando. and Shah, Dhavan.
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background image
R
ETHINKING THE
D
IGITAL
D
IVIDE
5
and elderly the most disconnected from the virtual world. Further, even if gaps have shrunk in
terms of access (Katz et al., 2001; Smolenski et al 2000), there may remain significant gaps in
terms of patterns of use and gratifications gained (Lazarus and Mora 2000; Servon, 2002).
Moving beyond the “access gap” to a “uses gap” is the purpose of this paper, and for this the
uses and gratifications approach from mass communication studies seems particularly well
suited.
Uses and gratifications perspective
According to the uses-and-gratifications perspective, communication needs interact with
social and psychological factors to produce motives for communication (Rosengren, 1974). In
other words, people use media strategically. They employ different media for different purposes
and, more importantly, they select among media choices based on how well each option helps
them meet specific needs or goals (Katz Gurevitch, & Haas, 1973; Katz et al., 1974). Underlying
this perspective is the assumption that people evaluate available media options and choose among
media on the basis of the gratification they seek to satisfy.
Underlying this perspective is the notion that people are motivated by a desire to fulfill
certain needs. So rather that asking how our media choices influence us, a uses and gratifications
perspective asks how our basic needs influence our media choices. It is important to note that the
media choices that people make are motivated by the desire to satisfy a wide variety of functions:
entertainment, diversion, social connection, personal identity, information, etc. Much of the
research on uses and gratifications has been concerned with identifying the specific gratifications
satisfied by the use of media (Rubin, 1994; Swanson, 1992). The first assessments on this topic
were made by Herzog (1944), who coined the term “uses and gratifications” to explain the specific


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