Motives for Maintaining Personal Journal Blogs by MikeJenny


									CYBER-2009-0403-Hollenbaugh_1P.3D            05/04/10        5:24pm      Page 1

                                                                                                                     Type: research-article
     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.


     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.

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      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?
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     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’’)
                                                                             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 and 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 and, through the most recently                  Motives Index administered in this study included 56 items.
     updated blogs on, 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. 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.
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       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
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       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-
     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
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      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

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