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Beyond Access: Digital divide, Internet Use and Gratifications Gained
Unformatted Document Text:  R ETHINKING THE D IGITAL D IVIDE 7 Gratifications gained from Internet use With any “new technology” come hypotheses about the future implications of its use and its contribution to society. For the Internet, scholars have staked opposite extremes, with some welcoming its arrival (Turkle, 1996; Rheingold, 1994; Newhagen and Rafaeli, 1996; Morris and Ogan, 1996) and others fearing it (Stoll, 2001; Calcutt, 1999; Cuban, 1986; Healy, 1998; Oppenheimer, 1997). Although there has been a tremendous amount of discussion in the popular press about how the Internet is changing all facets of social life, research on the impact of the Internet is only beginning to emerge. December (1996) identifies just "communication, interaction, and information" as the three broad categories for why people use the Internet. Some contend that Web user employ the Internet to satisfy the same needs that they bring to their consumption of other media, a notion that has been supported by some research (Eighmey & McCord 1998). Newhagen and Rafaeli (1996) have suggested that Internet usage may be especially useful because of the "mutability" of the Web, or what Newhagen calls its "chameleon-like character." The diversity of content is much greater on the Internet than traditional electronic media. While television, radio, and to a lesser degree print media are subject to regulatory and societal scrutiny, the web is virtually unregulated. Because of this, the Internet literally has something for everybody. The fact that this range of material is available at school, library, workplace, and home would suggest that potential uses for the Internet may differ from those provided by other media. The salience of information seeking, or what we refer to as learning gratification, has been well documented in explaining Internet use (Maddox 1998, Chen & Wells 1999; Shah et al, 2001). This is also true of the Internet as a connector in interpersonal communication (Gershuny 1983). One of the first attempts to look at the Internet from a uses and gratifications perspective was provide by Rafaeli (1986) that sought to establish the needs satisfied by electronic bulletin boards.

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
7
Gratifications gained from Internet use
With any “new technology” come hypotheses about the future implications of its use and
its contribution to society. For the Internet, scholars have staked opposite extremes, with some
welcoming its arrival (Turkle, 1996; Rheingold, 1994; Newhagen and Rafaeli, 1996; Morris and
Ogan, 1996) and others fearing it (Stoll, 2001; Calcutt, 1999; Cuban, 1986; Healy, 1998;
Oppenheimer, 1997). Although there has been a tremendous amount of discussion in the popular
press about how the Internet is changing all facets of social life, research on the impact of the
Internet is only beginning to emerge. December (1996) identifies just "communication, interaction,
and information" as the three broad categories for why people use the Internet. Some contend that
Web user employ the Internet to satisfy the same needs that they bring to their consumption of
other media, a notion that has been supported by some research (Eighmey & McCord 1998).
Newhagen and Rafaeli (1996) have suggested that Internet usage may be especially useful
because of the "mutability" of the Web, or what Newhagen calls its "chameleon-like character."
The diversity of content is much greater on the Internet than traditional electronic media. While
television, radio, and to a lesser degree print media are subject to regulatory and societal scrutiny,
the web is virtually unregulated. Because of this, the Internet literally has something for everybody.
The fact that this range of material is available at school, library, workplace, and home would
suggest that potential uses for the Internet may differ from those provided by other media.
The salience of information seeking, or what we refer to as learning gratification, has been
well documented in explaining Internet use (Maddox 1998, Chen & Wells 1999; Shah et al, 2001).
This is also true of the Internet as a connector in interpersonal communication (Gershuny 1983).
One of the first attempts to look at the Internet from a uses and gratifications perspective was
provide by Rafaeli (1986) that sought to establish the needs satisfied by electronic bulletin boards.


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