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A Social Cognitive Explanation of Internet Uses and Gratifications: Toward a New Theory of Media Attendance
Unformatted Document Text:  However, many of Internet-related studies that have examined the relationships between gratifications and media exposure (e.g. Kaye, 1998; Ferguson & Perse, 2000; Papacharissi & Rubin, 2000; Parker & Plank, 2000) have also reconfirmed a basic weakness of Uses and gratifications as a theory of media attendance: it does not predict media exposure very well. Consistent with Uses and gratifications studies of other media (cf. Palmgreen, Wenner & Rosengren, 1985), the Internet studies that hewed most closely to the concepts and operational measures of the Uses and gratifications tradition have explained less than ten percent of the variance in Internet usage from gratifications. That the Internet is in many ways a unique medium (Morris & Ogan, 1996) has not escaped the attention of Uses and gratifications researchers who have contributed innovative variations on conventional approaches. One response has been to expand the time-honored list of media gratifications derived from early television studies (notably Greenberg, 1974; Rubin, 1983) to explore unique facets of the Internet medium. For example, Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) developed measures of interpersonal communication gratifications, recognizing that communication functions like email and chatrooms are the dominant mode of Internet usage. Korgaonkar and Wolin (1999) found that dimensions of information control, interactive control, and economic control, as well as more conventional escapist, social and informational gratifications, distinguished Internet users from non-users. Other researchers reopened the basic question of “what do we use the media for” by beginning with focus groups (Charney & Greenberg, 2001) or broader theories of human behavior (Song et al., 2002) to generate gratification items. This resulted in the discovery of “new” gratifications that were either downplayed in conventional mass

Authors: Eastin, Matthew. and Larose, Robert.
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However, many of Internet-related studies that have examined the relationships
between gratifications and media exposure (e.g. Kaye, 1998; Ferguson & Perse, 2000;
Papacharissi & Rubin, 2000; Parker & Plank, 2000) have also reconfirmed a basic
weakness of Uses and gratifications as a theory of media attendance: it does not predict
media exposure very well. Consistent with Uses and gratifications studies of other media
(cf. Palmgreen, Wenner & Rosengren, 1985), the Internet studies that hewed most closely
to the concepts and operational measures of the Uses and gratifications tradition have
explained less than ten percent of the variance in Internet usage from gratifications.
That the Internet is in many ways a unique medium (Morris & Ogan, 1996) has
not escaped the attention of Uses and gratifications researchers who have contributed
innovative variations on conventional approaches. One response has been to expand the
time-honored list of media gratifications derived from early television studies (notably
Greenberg, 1974; Rubin, 1983) to explore unique facets of the Internet medium. For
example, Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) developed measures of interpersonal
communication gratifications, recognizing that communication functions like email and
chatrooms are the dominant mode of Internet usage. Korgaonkar and Wolin (1999)
found that dimensions of information control, interactive control, and economic control,
as well as more conventional escapist, social and informational gratifications,
distinguished Internet users from non-users.
Other researchers reopened the basic question of “what do we use the media for”
by beginning with focus groups (Charney & Greenberg, 2001) or broader theories of
human behavior (Song et al., 2002) to generate gratification items. This resulted in the
discovery of “new” gratifications that were either downplayed in conventional mass


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