Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

8-2011

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Major Advisor

Mary Frances Casper, Ph.D.

Abstract

Although user motives for personal use of Facebook has been frequently researched, literature that describes user motives for business communication purposes is limited. To understand this process, this study employed uses and gratifications theory to interpret users’ motivations for communicating and using business Facebook Pages. An online survey was distributed and completed by 345 participants. This survey asked participants about their personal use of Facebook, their use of business Facebook Pages, and what type of content on Facebook they found gratifying. Content analysis was also utilized to observe users’ communicative patterns on business Facebook Pages.

It was found that, in order of importance, the most influential motives for user communication on business-related Facebook Pages were social, entertainment, and informational. Other notable findings indicated that users prefer communicating with other followers of the business Facebook Page over the business represented on Facebook, that users find following conversations on business Facebook Pages more entertaining than participating in these conversations, and that users share Facebook content primarily if this content gratifies their need for entertainment. Additional research on how communicative acts on a business Facebook Page can create social influence in the Facebook community is suggested. Implications of findings for uses and gratifications theory are discussed and recommendations for effective use of business Facebook Pages follow.

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