Research on social network sites (SNSs) typically employ measures that treat SNS use as homogenous although the user-base, user practices, and feature sets of these tools are increasingly diverse. Using a uses and gratifications approach, we address this problem by reconceptualizing SNSs as collections of features. Survey data collected from undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university (n = 267) revealed that users' motivations for using Facebook predict their use of different features, such as status updates and Wall posts, but features that share similar capabilities do not necessarily share underlying motivations for use. When these results are contrasted against models employing a more unidimensional measure of Facebook use, we find differences between motivations for both general Facebook use and use of specific features of the site. This suggests that unidimensional measures of SNS use obfuscate motivations for using specific features. Theoretical and methodological implications of these findings and this approach are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Communication technology
- Social network sites
- Uses and gratifications