University of Twente Student Theses


What motivates people to use social media platforms?

Schmeer, S. F. (2020) What motivates people to use social media platforms?

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Abstract:Previous research regarding what motivates people to use social media is incomplete and solely based on quantitative methods. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to explore with a qualitative approach what social media users value about their platforms and what motivates them to use these platforms. Furthermore, a goal was to find out whether psychosocial need satisfaction might be related to higher feelings of intrinsic motivation. The Self-Determination Theory was used as a theoretical framework to analyze people’s motives regarding social media use. An innovative narrative approach, the ‘love letter method’, was conducted to gain insights into people’s thoughts and emotions regarding social media platforms. Participants could choose a social media platform themselves and were instructed to write a love letter to this platform. People valued most about social media platforms that these platforms let them feel more connected to other people, and they valued the feeling of joy they experience when using social media. Findings regarding a potential relation between psychosocial needs and intrinsic motivation turned out to be non-significant. To conclude, the ‘love letter method’ provided interesting insights into the aspects that make participants use social media. The satisfaction of psychosocial needs by social media platforms, especially of relatedness and competence needs, might explain why people use social media. However, the concept of intrinsic motivation might have not been optimally conceptualized to give valid results. Therefore, future research is necessary to validate this conceptualization, and to then further explore motivators to use social media. Practical recommendations could be made for social media developers who might use the results of the current study for developing new platforms.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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