Notice: the WebSM website has not been updated since the beginning of 2018.

Web Survey Bibliography

Title Why Do I Use the Social Web?” Exploring the Motives of Active and Passive Users via Focus Groups
Year 2009
Access date 14.08.2009

In recent years, several Internet applications and services summarized under the term Social Web have evolved and attract a steadily growing audience with their multi-use options. One approach to study the initial stages of new communication media and understand their core characteristics is the Uses and Gratifications Approach (cf. Ruggerio 2000). It focuses on the motives of users to adopt a new medium and the gratifications obtained by that use (cf. Rubin 2002). This approach seems to be particularly suitable to study the Social Web because of its underlying concept of an active audience acting purposefully and goal-oriented (cf. Schenk 2007: 684ff.). When studying the Social Web it is important to distinguish different levels of activity: The forms of usage reach from only reading Wikipedia articles or Weblogs over semi-active usage (e.g. writing comments on others) to high levels of acticity such as running a personal blog. Previous studies applying the Uses and Gratifications Approach to Social Web usage either focused on single applications like Weblogs (cf. Schmidt 2006) or Wikis (cf. Rafaeli/Ariel 2008) or did not differentiate clearly between these varying levels of activity (cf. Fisch/Gscheidle 2008).

Therefore, we focused on the research question why people – more or less actively – use different Social Web applications and services. The Social Web implies changes in the role of the media user. Consequently, we applied qualitative research methods to explore the guiding motives and the fulfilled needs of the Social Web. Five focus groups with nine to ten participants of different ages and levels of education were conducted. Three of the groups consisted of semi-active Social Web users and the other two of active users. In all of these groups the situations, modes, and motives of Social Web usage were discussed. Our results show an expansion of the motives identified for using traditional media. Also, we found important similarities and discrepancies in the motives for using different Social Web applications. On this basis, a Social Web motive scale was developed; it will be used and tested in a large quantitative survey as part of our research project.

Access/Direct link

Conference homepage (abstract)

Year of publication2009
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
Full text availabilityFurther details

Web survey bibliography - General Online Research Conference (GOR) 2009 (54)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 1
  • 2