Why Do People Use Social Media? Empirical Findings and a New Theoretical Framework for Social Media Goal Pursuit

33 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2012  

Donna L. Hoffman

George Washington University School of Business

Thomas P Novak

George Washington University School of Business

Date Written: January 17, 2012

Abstract

Why do people use social media? We examine how and why people use social media in the context of their basic needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness, intrinsic and external motivations, and well-being perceptions. Results show that motivations differentially drive social media goal pursuit, and users with different primary social media goals differ in perceptions of well-being. Using these results, we develop a testable theoretical framework for social media goals defined by two higher-order dimensions that contrast the primary focus of the online interaction with the primary direction of the online interaction. The framework may be useful to further understanding of the relationship between users’ social media behaviors and subjective well-being in the context of their fundamental needs and motives.

Keywords: social media, online interaction, interaction focus, interaction direction, self-determination theory, well-being

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Donna L. and Novak, Thomas P, Why Do People Use Social Media? Empirical Findings and a New Theoretical Framework for Social Media Goal Pursuit (January 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1989586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1989586

Donna L. Hoffman (Contact Author)

George Washington University School of Business ( email )

2201
G St NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
9515431260 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://postsocial.gwu.edu

Thomas P Novak

George Washington University School of Business ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
9515431592 (Phone)

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