Uses and Gratifications Theory


This theory originates from theories on mass media.  It is a classic 1970's theory that focuses on mass media, such as TV, newspapers, etc.  It originated with Blumer and Katz.

It states that media users play an active role in choosing and using the media.

The user sees media as a means to an end- they seek out and choose what they want to fulfill their information and entertainment needs.


This theory is somewhat out of date and doesn't incorporate modern technology.  With respect to modern technology, it still applies.  The Internet has multiple purposes, and people seek out different technologies that help them fulfill their goals.

Typical Goals of Internet Use:

  1. Gaming / Entertainment (online gaming)

  2. Communication Device (email, chat, videoconferencing)

  3. Information Source (Google-ing, online news, etc)

There are many more uses for other technologies- such as cell phones (communication device).  While a cell phone is primarily #2 above, it can (as with many other new technologies) be used for #1 and #3 above.


With this in mind, are individuals of different cultures likely to use modern communication technologies differently?  (Of course they are!)

How so?  (This is the goal of this exam!)


Some possibilities:

Are interdependents / collectivists more likely to use the Internet as a communication device (organize social events) - email, chat, CELL PHONES?

Are online gaming communities more supportive of independents or interdependents?  Do interdependents enjoy social type games more (City of Heroes / Final Fantasy / Unreal Tournament capture the flag 'team' - requiring group collaboration to conquer), while independents prefer games where they are 'the best' (first person shooter, conquer the world alone - Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Unreal Tournament deathmatches)

Are cultural differences mellowed out when we join virtual communities?  Do those with high uncertainty avoidance become more likely to take risks?