`Extending Society': The Role of Personal Networks and Gratification-Utilities in the Use of Interactive Communication Media

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email, gratifications, instant messaging, interactive communication technologies, personal networks, telephone

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This study examined the relationship among personal network characteristics, gratification-utilities and the frequency of use of three interactive communication technologies (landline telephone, email and instant messaging). A conceptual framework is presented, providing a rationale for three hypotheses predicting positive relationships between personal network characteristics (size, intimacy and physical proximity), gratification-utilities and frequency of use.The participants were 286 college students, whom research shows are primary users of interactive media. Hypotheses 1 and 2, proposing a link between network characteristics and gratification-utilities with frequency of use, were supported, while Hypothesis 3, predicting a link between the prior two variables, was only partially supported. Frequency of use was associated more strongly with network characteristics than with gratification-utilities across the three technologies. Of the network characteristics, network size was significantly associated with gratification-utilities. Directions for future research are discussed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

New Media & Society, v. 9, issue 5, p. 795-810