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CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P.3D 05/04/10 5:24pm Page 1 CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P Type: research-article CYBERPSYCHOLOGY, BEHAVIOR, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING Volume 00, Number 0, 2010 ª Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2009.0403 Motives for Maintaining Personal Journal Blogs Erin E. Hollenbaugh, Ph.D. Abstract Although much has been learned about political and news blogs, there has been a lack of research on personal journal blogs. They deserve further research attention because of the implications blogs have in many bloggers’ immediate social networks, as well as the opportunities for scientiﬁc inquiry in a rich and evolving communi- cation environment. This study explored bloggers’ motives for maintaining personal journal blogs, or blogs that resemble diaries about one’s personal life. Stemming from the uses and gratiﬁcations perspective, antecedents (age, gender, loneliness, disclosiveness) and blogging motives composed a model for predicting the amount of blog use. Seven motives emerged from online survey data: helping/informing, social connection, pass time, exhibitionism, archiving/organizing, professionalism, and get feedback. Age, gender, loneliness, and disclo- siveness predicted different motives, and the total model (age, gender, loneliness, disclosiveness, and motives) was useful for explaining 13% of the variance in the amount of blog use. Introduction whereas ﬁlters are devoted to external content.4 Although personal journal blogs are the most commonly maintained O ne unique aspect of the Internet is the availability of opportunities to serve as both consumer and producer of content. Although some users may choose to ‘‘surf’’ the World blog,4,5 they are not the most frequently researched. Instead, ﬁlter blogs devoted to external information, such as politics6 or news,7 dominate the scholarly conversation on blogging. Wide Web, taking in media content, others create their own These studies are often conducted on small samples.6,8 content and use the Internet as a medium through which their Though discoveries made about political and news blogs voices can be heard. Blogging provides Internet users an have been fruitful, much is left to be learned about personal outlet to create. Given the simple and free nature of current journal blogs. Personal journal blogs fulﬁll different roles in blogging Web sites, about 10% of the adult population in the bloggers’ lives, and although they may not be as widely read United States has taken this opportunity to produce their own as ﬁlter blogs, they may have far-reaching impact for bloggers presence on the Web.1 Through this presence, bloggers can and their immediate social networks. The research that does engage in personal communication with others,2 taking ad- exist on personal journal blogs concerns the reasons why vantage of the interpersonal functions of the Internet. people maintain these Web sites. Examining the motives for Weblogs, or blogs, are a channel of computer-mediated blogging may provide an important component in our un- communication in which users post updates in reverse derstanding of bloggers’ behaviors. chronological order.3 Approximately 12% of adults and 14% of teens online in the United States maintain blogs.1 Although The uses and gratiﬁcations perspective blogging activity has declined in recent years, the use of so- cial-networking Web sites, such as Facebook, is very high.1 The uses and gratiﬁcations perspective (U&G) was chosen More than 70% of online teens and almost half of online to guide this study. Early in the development of a new tech- adults in the United States use social-networking Web sites.1 nology, communication scholars make several attempts to A form of blogging is often included in social-networking understand why and how people use that medium. Stem- sites, such as the ‘‘notes’’ function of Facebook or the ‘‘blog’’ ming from a collection of studies in the 1940s through the function of MySpace. Given the prominence of text-based 1970s on media use, U&G has since emerged as a helpful entries in traditional blogs and integrated into social- perspective for understanding how people use media to fulﬁll networking sites, it is important to examine the communi- certain needs and motives.9,10 This perspective was informed cation processes related to blogging. by a functional approach to communication, which poses The two prominent types of blogs are personal journal that ‘‘an object is best deﬁned by its use.’’10 Unlike the direct blogs and ﬁlter blogs.4 Personal journals are composed of effects models of the mechanistic perspective, U&G is a more shorter posts concerning the blogger’s life and internal self, limited effects perspective that rests, in part, on social and Kent State University at Stark, North Canton, Ohio. 1 CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P.3D 05/04/10 5:24pm Page 2 2 HOLLENBAUGH psychological antecedents of media use.10 Media use is motives for blogging. For example, if previous research on embedded in a host of possible inﬂuences. It is the U&G sex differences in online disclosure holds true, women may be researcher’s responsibility to ﬂesh out what individual dif- more motivated to blog for self-expression and to commu- ferences mediate the effects of the media on the individual.11 nicate with others. From this perspective, media use is goal-directed and active. Loneliness is a psychological state in which people per- Clearly, bloggers are active users of the media in that they are ceive their relations to be limited or deﬁcient in terms of producers of media content, as well as consumers. quantity or quality.25,26 The blogosphere may be a haven for lonely people, and the effects of loneliness on online behavior Toward an understanding of blogging motives. Thus far, have been explored by a number of researchers.27–29 With much of the research on computer-mediated communication regard to the effects of loneliness on CMC, two perspectives has focused on motives of using the Internet as a whole12,13 or prevail. According to the social compensation hypothesis, particular types of Internet use (e.g., social-networking Web people with less social contact will be more likely to use mass sites,14 seeking health information,15 online support groups,16 media.30 Unsatisﬁed with their face-to-face (FtF) lives, lonely one-to-one chatting17). To date, few U&G studies exist that people may ﬂock to the media to fulﬁll their unmet needs. examine motives for blogging. Simply lumping all types of McKenna et al.31 have applied this idea to the Internet, ar- Internet use into one motive typology may not be helpful, guing that the reduced nonverbal cues of the Internet (e.g., considering the inherent differences between producing and visual anonymity) may help people who are socially anxious consuming media. and lonely be more comfortable in their online communica- A recent study examined the citizen journalists’ gratiﬁca- tion. On the other hand, the social enhancement hypothesis tions for generating content online.18 Four gratiﬁcations is a competing prediction that posits that the Internet emerged: recognition, cognitive, social, and entertainment more often sets up a ‘‘rich-get-richer’’ environment. Some- needs.18 These four needs seem to underlie the motivations for times, Internet users with extensive social networks and producers of Internet content. However, more investigation is popularity increase their interaction online.32 Research has needed to understand personal journal bloggers speciﬁcally. shown conﬂicting results concerning these competing hy- A search of the literature revealed very few studies iden- potheses.27–29,33,34 Blogging is a useful context for testing tifying motives for using personal journal blogs,19,20 only one these competing assumptions because of the potential for of which was guided by U&G.21 However, this study was on interaction and relating through this new media use. personal journal blogs that centered on bloggers’ experiences Disclosiveness is ‘‘a generalized characteristic or trait of the with cancer. Due to the speciﬁc nature of Chung and Kim’s21 individual representing that person’s predilection to disclose study and the less systematic methods of previous re- self to other people in general.’’35 Stefanone and Jang2 ex- search,19,20 the present study builds on this research to ex- plored the role of disclosiveness on the intent for people’s plore the motives people have for maintaining their own blog use. High revealers in their sample were more likely to personal journals. use their blogs to stay in contact with friends and family. Disclosiveness has been included in other discussions of Potential antecedents of blogging motives. A core as- CMC,36 as ofﬂine personality characteristics often impact sumption of U&G is that social and psychological factors online behaviors. Based on this research and the deﬁnition of affect the motives for using particular media.9,10 Certain personal journal blogs as containing information about the characteristics of bloggers themselves may predict both mo- self, it is expected that the personality trait disclosiveness will tives for blogging and subsequent blog use. Research in CMC impact blogging motives. and blogging speciﬁcally has shown that particular individ- ual characteristics, such as age, gender, loneliness, and dis- The present study closiveness, may impact the way in which people use media. These four individual characteristics may affect motives for The purpose of this study is to explore the motives for blogging and blogging frequency. maintaining personal journal blogs, as well as the varied Age is one individual characteristic that likely impacts predictors of these motives and the effects blogging motives motives for blogging, as well as blog use. Research has shown have on blog use. Situated within the uses and gratiﬁcations that age impacts blogging behaviors and content. Speciﬁcally, theory, this study will provide a unique perspective of In- younger people are more likely to blog about personal ex- ternet users, primarily because little research exists on per- periences, and they are more likely to blog to keep in touch sonal journal blogs and on users as producers of media with others.19 Conversely, older bloggers are more likely to content. Undoubtedly, the future of the Internet will include be motivated to blog to share their skills or knowledge with more and more opportunities for people to broadcast them- their readers.19 selves. Therefore, this study represents a turn toward that Sex appears to be a signiﬁcant predictor of Internet be- trend among Internet users. haviors, such as disclosiveness in computer-mediated com- Stemming from the U&G perspective, three research munication.22,23 Lenhart and Fox19 found that women were questions guided this study. more likely than men to be inspired to post to their blogs by a personal experience, which may suggest that they would be RQ1: What are the motives for personal journal blogging? motivated to blog for different reasons. Additional research- RQ2: Which antecedents (age, gender, loneliness, disclosive- ers reported that more women than men maintained personal ness) predict personal journal blogging motives? journal blogs.4,24 Although studies have examined the impact RQ3: How do antecedents (age, gender, loneliness, disclo- of sex on certain behaviors, such as disclosing personal in- siveness) and personal journal blogging motives predict formation, little is known about how sex may impact the amount of blog use? CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P.3D 05/04/10 5:24pm Page 3 MOTIVES FOR MAINTAINING PERSONAL JOURNAL BLOGS 3 Method Disclosiveness. Disclosiveness, as an individual charac- teristic, was measured in this study with several items from This study used a cross-sectional survey design. Partici- Wheeless’ Revised Self-Disclosure Scale (RSDS),42 including pants in this study completed an online questionnaire in the ‘‘I usually talk about myself for fairly long periods of time.’’ spring of 2008. To measure disclosiveness, participants indicated how much they agreed (1 ¼ ‘‘strongly disagree’’, 5 ¼ ‘‘strongly agree’’) Participants with each of ﬁve statements taken from the general version of Participants were 299 English-speaking bloggers who re- the RSDS. Items were chosen based on their face validity to sponded to a call for research participation. There were cer- measure disclosiveness as a trait. Stefanone and Jang2 used a tain restrictions to participate in this study. First, participants similar method in their study. Two items were reverse-coded must have maintained personal journal blogs, which were and the scores were summed and averaged, with higher deﬁned in the call for participation as blogs that are com- scores indicating more disclosiveness (M ¼ 3.01, SD ¼ 0.71, posed of short posts concerning the blogger’s life and internal a ¼ 0.73). self.4 Second, only bloggers who posted to their blogs at least once a month were asked to participate to ensure that par- ticipants were active bloggers. Blogging motives. A measure of blogging motives was The sample was primarily composed of females (n ¼ 226, constructed for use in this study. Similar to other U&G 75.6%; males n ¼ 68, 22.7%). Participants’ ages ranged from studies of new technology,12 a new assessment was con- 18 to 70 years (M ¼ 30.34, SD ¼ 10.88). This sample re- structed from qualitative data in a pilot study. Then, this presented a variety of ethnicities and locations. However, measure was administered to the sample and subjected to most participants were Caucasian (n ¼ 231, 77.3%) and factor analysis. American (n ¼ 245, 81.9%). Potential blogging motives were drawn from multiple Participants were recruited in March and April of 2008 sources, including blogging research,19,20 studies of personal in multiple ways: requesting that individual bloggers take home pages,43,44 Internet motives research,13 and open-ended the survey and post an announcement on their blogs, con- data from a pilot study of 102 undergraduate students. Sixty tacting featured bloggers on Blogger.com and Xanga.com to items were created to represent the motives taken from these post an announcement on their blogs, and posting an- sources and compiled into a motives index. Following focus nouncements on various discussion boards and listservs that groups with 22 undergraduate students to check the face bloggers may read. Most of the bloggers contacted were validity of the scale and scrutiny by the researcher to elimi- found through the ‘‘random’’ feature available on Live- nate redundancy, the preliminary version of the Blogging journal.com and Blogger.com, through the most recently Motives Index administered in this study included 56 items. updated blogs on Wordpress.com, or through blogrolls (a list Several items were generated for each conceptual motive to of blogs that the blogger reads). These recruitment strategies ensure that proper subscale reliability could be established. were similar to those used in other blogging studies.5,37,38 As This method is similar to other U&G research involving argued by Johnson and Kaye,7,39 it is near impossible to motive scales.12,13 generate a random sampling of Internet users. Instead, this The Blogging Motives Index was used to assess partici- study relied on the nature of the blogosphere as a community pants’ motives for maintaining blogs. The 56-item scale to generate a sample of bloggers. Overall, this study was asked participants to indicate how much each item de- announced to 297 individual bloggers, eight discussion scribes their reasons for blogging by choosing a response boards, and six listservs. Bloggers were invited to participate from 1 (‘‘not at all’’) to 5 (‘‘exactly like my own reasons in the study and to announce the study to their friends or blog for blogging’’). Responses were factor analyzed to reveal readers. the latent factors of participants’ blogging motives. After the exploratory factor analysis, scores on items composing Procedure each factor were summed and averaged to reveal a score for each participant. Means, standard deviations, and Cron- Upon approval by the Human Subjects Review Board, an bach’s alphas for each motive are reported in the results online survey was constructed for this study using Survey- section. Monkey.com. After providing informed consent, participants completed measures of loneliness, disclosiveness, blogging motives, amount of blog use, and demographic variables. Amount of blog use. The amount of blog use was mea- sured with one item that asked participants approximately Instruments and measures how many times per month they posted to their blogs, on average. Participants who maintained more than one Loneliness. Loneliness was measured using a shortened, blog were instructed to respond to this question according 10-item version of the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale.40 This to the blog they use most often. Bloggers in this study posted version was successfully employed in a study of stress and to their blogs an average of 15.36 times per month burnout among teachers.40,41 This scale asks participants to (SD ¼ 12.46). indicate how often on a scale from 1 (‘‘never’’) to 5 (‘‘always’’) they feel the way each item describes, such as ‘‘How often do you feel that you lack companionship?’’ Five of the items Demographic information. Participants reported their were reverse coded, and scores were summed and averaged age, gender, ethnicity, and country of residence to describe (M ¼ 2.60, SD ¼ 0.68, a ¼ 0.91), with higher scores represent- the sample. Age and gender were also used to address the ing more loneliness. study’s research questions. CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P.3D 05/04/10 5:25pm Page 4 4 HOLLENBAUGH Results The second factor that emerged was social connection (M ¼ 3.34, SD ¼ 1.20, a ¼ 0.85). This factor consisted of four Blogging motives items and explained 9.79% of the variance. This motive sug- Research question 1 asked what motives people had for gested that people blogged to share information with and maintaining personal journal blogs. To address this question, communicate with friends and family members with whom a two-stage principal components factor analysis with var- they may not talk on a regular basis. Participants who blog- imax rotation was conducted on the data from the Blogging ged for this motive also maintained a blog to send a message Motives Scale. The initial factor analysis revealed 13 factors to many people at once, rather than one at a time. with eigenvalues of at least 1. The researcher examined each Pass time explained 8.27% of the variance (M ¼ 2.52, item, eliminating those variables that did not cleanly load on SD ¼ 1.14, a ¼ 0.84). The pass-time motive included blogging only one factor. Items loading with at least a 0.59 on only one to pass time, to occupy time, and because there is nothing else factor were retained for further analysis. Twenty items were to do. The pass-time motive was composed of three items. eliminated following this process. Exhibitionism, the fourth factor, was comprised of three A second exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation items (M ¼ 2.45, SD ¼ 0.97, a ¼ 0.70). This factor explained was conducted on the remaining 36 items to reﬁne the factor 6.76% of the variance. People who scored high on exhibi- structure further. The second exploratory factor analysis re- tionism blogged for attention, to gain fame, and because they vealed eight factors in the rotated factor structure with thought people liked to read things about them. cleanly loaded items, and the scree plot supported an eight- The ﬁfth factor was labeled archiving/organizing (M ¼ 3.93, factor solution. The eighth factor only contained two items SD ¼ 0.89, a ¼ 0.72), and it included three items. This factor with a bivariate correlation of 0.34 ( p < 0.001). Because this accounted for 4.88% of the variance in the ﬁnal solution. correlation was not high, the eighth factor was dropped. Blogging for archiving/organizing included blogging to re- Therefore, the ﬁnal solution contained 25 items, accounting cord thoughts and feelings for further reﬂection, to organize T1 c for 58.22% of the variance. Table 1 displays the ﬁnal seven- thoughts and feelings, and to read what was written in pre- factor solution, including each factor’s eigenvalue. vious posts. The ﬁrst factor, helping/informing, accounted for 19.65% of Sixth was the professionalism blogging motive, which was the variance and included six items. Participants who blog- comprised of three items and explained 4.68% of the variance ged for helping/informing did so because they wanted to (M ¼ 1.41, SD ¼ 0.72, a ¼ 0.74). People who blogged for this motivate, help, and encourage others by sharing information, reason did so to help get a job, to put their resume on the as well as share their knowledge and skills. A mean index Web, and because they were required to for a job or school. was computed by averaging the items (M ¼ 3.42, SD ¼ 0.90, The last factor, get feedback, contained three items. This a ¼ 0.86). factor explained 4.20% of the variance (M ¼ 3.31, SD ¼ 1.07, Table 1. Factor Loadings for Final Seven-Factor Solution of Blogging Motives 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 To motivate others 0.84 To help others 0.77 To share information that may be of use to others 0.76 To share my knowledge and skills 0.72 To show others encouragement 0.70 To communicate about a special interest or issue that I care about 0.64 To share information with my friends and family who do not live near me 0.89 To communicate to my friends and family 0.85 To share information with people that I don’t talk to on a regular basis 0.79 To communicate to many people at once, rather than telling one at a time 0.69 To pass time 0.84 To occupy my time 0.82 Because I have nothing better to do 0.80 For attention 0.72 To gain fame or notoriety 0.72 Because I like when people read things about me 0.62 To record my thoughts and feelings so I can reﬂect on them 0.81 Because it helps me organize my thoughts and feelings 0.69 Because I can read what I wrote in previous posts 0.65 To help me get a job 0.83 To put my professional resume on the Web 0.76 Because I have to for a class or job 0.64 To get more points of view 0.72 To get advice from my readers 0.71 To get feedback from others who have similar experiences 0.65 Eigenvalue 7.07 3.53 2.98 2.43 1.76 1.68 1.51 Variance explained (%) 19.65 9.79 8.27 6.76 4.88 4.68 4.20 CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P.3D 05/04/10 5:25pm Page 5 MOTIVES FOR MAINTAINING PERSONAL JOURNAL BLOGS 5 Table 2. Regressing Blogging Motives on Antecedent Variables Age Gender Loneliness Disclosiveness b b b b R2 Helping/informing 0.18** À0.05 0.01 0.11 0.05** Social connection À0.06 0.08 À0.12* 0.12* 0.05** Pass time À0.13* 0.03 0.18** 0.05 0.05** Exhibitionism 0.04 À0.11 0.15* 0.25*** 0.08*** Archiving/organizing À0.04 0.21*** 0.07 0.04 0.05** Professionalism À0.06 À0.16** À0.08 À0.02 0.03 Get feedback À0.01 0.06 0.06 0.12* 0.02 All betas are standardized betas. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001. a ¼ 0.78). Participants who blogged to get advice and more motives in the second step. The amount of blog use, deﬁned points of view from others, as well as to get feedback from as how often, on average, participants posted to their most others who have had similar experiences, were motivated by frequently used blog each month, served as the outcome get feedback. variable. The overall model explained 12.7% of the variance in Effects of antecedents on blogging motives amount of blog use, F(11, 269) ¼ 3.56, p < 0.001. The ﬁrst model, containing antecedents as the only tested predictors, Research question 2 was posed to address the potential explained 6.2% of the variance, F(4, 276) ¼ 4.56, p < 0.001. effects of age, gender, loneliness, and disclosiveness on each Blogging motives entered on the second step of the regression blogging motive. A series of multiple regressions were con- explained an additional 6.5% of variance in amount of blog ducted. In each regression analysis, the four antecedents (age, use, F change(7, 269) ¼ 2.87, p < 0.01. Clearly, both antecedents gender, loneliness, and disclosiveness) were entered as pre- and blogging motives are meaningful contributors in pre- dictor variables. Each emerging blogging motive served as an dicting amount of blog use. outcome variable. Taken together, these four antecedent Despite the large impact that these variables collectively variables signiﬁcantly predicted the variance in helping/ made on amount of blog use, only three variables individu- informing, social connection, pass time, exhibitionism, and ally predicted the outcome variable on the last step of the T2 c archiving/organizing (see Table 2). However, age, gender, analysis: age, helping/informing, and pass time (see Table 3). b T3 loneliness, and disclosiveness did not account for a signiﬁcant Older participants, bloggers interested in helping and in- amount of variance in the professionalism, F(4, 285) ¼ 2.25, forming others through their blogs, and people blogging to p ¼ 0.06, or get feedback motives, F(4, 285) ¼ 1.37, p ¼ 0.24. pass time posted more frequently than others. Although speciﬁc variables individually predicted these motives, these relationships should not be interpreted be- Discussion cause the overall regression model was not signiﬁcant for these two motives. This study has explored one social use of the Internet that Table 2 lists all standardized betas in regressing blogging is communicated to a mass audience. In this study, a new motives on antecedent variables, revealing the individual predictors of each motive. This study found that age im- pacted the helping/informing and pass-time motives. Older Table 3. Individual Betas in Regressing Amount participants were more likely to blog to help and inform of Blog Use on Antecedents and Blogging Motives others, and younger bloggers were more likely to blog to pass time. Gender predicted the archiving/organizing motive in Amount of blog use that women were more likely to blog for this reason than b men. Loneliness affected social connection, pass time, and exhibitionism. Lonelier participants were more likely to blog Age 0.21*** to pass time and exhibitionism, whereas less lonely partici- Gender 0.00 pants blogged more often for social connection. Finally, more Loneliness À0.09 disclosive participants were likely to blog for social connec- Disclosiveness 0.03 tion and exhibitionism. Helping/informing 0.18* Social connection À0.06 Pass time 0.13* Effects of antecedents and blogging motives Exhibitionism 0.02 on amount of blog use Archiving/organizing 0.09 A hierarchical multiple regression was conducted to ex- Professionalism À0.10 amine the impact of antecedent variables and blogging mo- Get feedback À0.01 tives on amount of blog use, as addressed in research All betas are ﬁnal betas on the last step of the regression. Final question 3. Age, gender, loneliness, and disclosiveness were R2 ¼ 0.13, p < 0.001. entered in the ﬁrst step, followed by the seven blogging *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001. b AU2 CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P.3D 05/04/10 5:25pm Page 6 6 HOLLENBAUGH typology of motives for using personal journal blogs was context. On the other hand, some truth was found for the developed using data from an online survey of bloggers. social compensation hypothesis.30 Lonely bloggers were These motives included helping/informing, social connec- more likely to blog to get attention or for exhibitionism. tion, pass time, exhibitionism, archiving/organizing, profes- Not surprisingly, bloggers who were generally more dis- sionalism, and get feedback. Participants reported the highest closive in their FtF lives were more likely to blog for social scores on archiving/organizing, helping/informing, social connection, as found in existing research.2 Self-disclosure has connection, and get feedback. Professionalism was the least long been considered fundamental to relationship develop- reported of the motives. Age, gender, loneliness, and disclo- ment.46 Therefore, it seems logical that disclosive people siveness predicted the particular motives, which revealed would be more interested in creating and maintaining rela- interesting ﬁndings related to blogging motives. Ad- tionships through their blogs. ditionally, these antecedents and blogging motives were The model, informed by U&G, signiﬁcantly explained 13% useful in predicting amount of blog use. of the variance in the amount of blog use. This amount of Unlike much previous research that explores Internet users explained variance suggests that some variables appear to be as consumers, this study identiﬁes the unique motives of missing from the model. Future studies may expose addi- bloggers as producers of content. Several of the motives tional antecedents that help to explain the frequency with found in this study align with existing research. For example, which bloggers post. passing time or relieving boredom has been found in many types of media use, including the Internet13,45 and maintain- Limitations and future research ing personal home pages.43,44 Social connection is also an established motive of Internet use12,13,45 and personal home This study’s ﬁndings must be interpreted with the limita- pages.41,42 It is also well known that people use the Internet12 tions in mind. In addition to the limitations normally asso- and personal home pages43,44 for professional advancement. ciated with cross-sectional survey research design, there were It appears that blogs too can be used to further one’s career. also limitations resulting from the sampling techniques. Bloggers may actually be compensated for maintaining their Sampling was convenient, and participants self-selected into blogs, according to anecdotal evidence from this study. the sample. Although English-speaking bloggers from across The remaining motives are somewhat unique to the context the globe were able to participate in the survey, the majority of blogging. Information-seeking is one Internet motive that of the sample was Caucasian Americans. Therefore, it is ﬁts the content consumer role of Internet users well.12,13,45 possible that this sample may not be an accurate represen- Conversely, as content creators, bloggers instead create and tation of the population of personal journal bloggers, espe- share information in their blogs. Papacharissi44 found this cially when considering a global perspective. motive among users of personal home pages. However, in Given this study’s limitations, there are many avenues for blogs, there was also a helping component to this motive. future research. Psychological and sociological variables may Participants shared information to help others in some way, be added to predict the motives of bloggers better. For ex- which may communicate a sense of caring and support for ample, narcissistic bloggers may be more likely to blog for their audiences. exhibitionism. Extroversion could also potentially affect Exhibitionism, archiving/organizing, and get feedback blogging motives, such as social connection. Now that the were new motives that were not found in existing literature. motives for maintaining personal journal blogs have been Some bloggers appeared to crave attention, and in so doing, established, future studies should attempt to ﬂesh out our they revealed private information that may entertain others understanding of the multiple factors that play a role in blog and help them to gain popularity or fame. Blogs were also use. reported to be useful for archiving and organizing bloggers’ In addition to blogs, channels such as Facebook, Twitter, thoughts or ideas. This ﬁnding suggests that blogs serve as an and YouTube are available for Internet users to broadcast online journal or diary for some bloggers. Finally, unlike themselves, and more technologies are likely to come. The other functions of the Internet, such as personal home pages, motives for blogging found in this study can apply to these people sometimes blogged to elicit feedback or advice from other social-media applications as well, as these sites often their readers. This motive points to the interpersonal nature incorporate some type of blogging in their format. Future of blogs, in which a community of bloggers may forge rela- researchers should test this typology in more complex social- tionships through the medium. networking Web sites, such as Facebook, to further our As expected in the U&G perspective, antecedent variables knowledge on motives of new media use. had an impact on participants’ motives for blogging. Older It would be helpful for researchers to expand this typology participants were more likely to blog to help and inform in other types of Internet channels that allow for creation of others, whereas younger bloggers were more likely to blog to content. Perhaps certain motives can be gratiﬁed more clearly pass time or out of boredom. Women were more likely than using other channels. For example, the exhibition motive men to blog to archive and organize their thoughts. Partici- seems suited for YouTube, which allows users to upload pants who scored higher in disclosiveness were more likely to videos for anyone to view. It is clear from other studies of blog for exhibitionism. social media that socially driven motives are directing the use Loneliness had somewhat contradictory effects on blog- of these channels.14,47,48 Future research on social uses of the ging motives. Lonely participants were less likely to blog to Internet would beneﬁt from a broader application of motives establish and maintain social connections with others. This to multiple producer-enabled channels of the Internet. Such a ﬁnding supports the social enhancement hypothesis in that study could lead to a typology of motives for Internet pro- the ‘‘rich get richer.’’32 Less lonely participants sought social ducers, applicable across contexts. It is the researcher’s hope connections through their blogs, much like they do in the FtF that this study has taken a step in that direction by exploring CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P.3D 05/04/10 5:25pm Page 7 MOTIVES FOR MAINTAINING PERSONAL JOURNAL BLOGS 7 blogging motives. This work is just beginning, as these social 13. Papacharissi Z, Rubin AM. Predictors of Internet use. Jour- functions of the Internet are still in their infancy. nal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 2000; 44:175–96. 14. Raacke J, Bonds-Raacke J. MySpace and Facebook: Acknowledgments Applying the uses and gratiﬁcations theory to exploring friend-networking sites. CyberPsychology & Behavior 2008; This manuscript is derived from the author’s doctoral 11:169–74. dissertation. The author wishes to thank her advisor, 15. Yoo EY, Robbins LS. Understanding middle-aged women’s Dr. Nichole Egbert, and committee members, Drs. Paul health information seeking on the web: A theoretical ap- Haridakis, Jeffrey Child, and Rafa Kasim, for their careful proach. Journal of the American Society for Information reviews of this research. A version of this manuscript was Science & Technology 2008; 59:577–90. presented at the 2009 conference of the National Commu- 16. Wright K. Motives for communication within on-line sup- nication Association, Chicago, IL. port groups and antecedents for interpersonal use. Com- munication Research Reports 2002; 19:89–98. 17. Peter J, Valkenburg PM, Schouten AP. Characteristics and Disclosure Statement motives of adolescents talking with strangers on the Inter- No competing ﬁnancial interests exist. net. CyberPsychology & Behavior 2006; 9:526–30. 18. Leung L. 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