Examining microbloggers’ individual differences in motivation for social media use

Dayong Zhang1, Xu Feng2, Pu Chen3
1Department of New Media and Arts, Harbin Institute of Technology, People’s Republic of China
2School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, People’s Republic of China
3Academy of Fundamental and Interdisciplinary Science, Harbin Institute of Technology, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Zhang, D., Feng, X., & Chen, P. (2018). Examining microbloggers’ individual differences in motivation for social media use. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46(4), 667-682.

Volume 46 Issue 4 | e6539 | Published: April 2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6539

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Examining individual differences in the intrinsic motivations for social media use is essential for determining what causes individuals to enjoy using social networking sites and to engage more consistently in online activities. We analyzed data obtained from a survey of 227 users of social networking sites in China. We tested the hypothesized model using structural equation modeling. Research findings revealed that personality traits are the best predictors of intrinsic motivations for social media use. The Big Five traits of agreeableness and extraversion positively affected social interaction and self-presentation, whereas conscientiousness negatively affected self-presentation. Additionally, the results indicated that demographic variables of age and gender affect intrinsic motivations for social media use. Compared with females, males were more likely to utilize social media to express themselves and expand their social interactions. Moreover, participants older than 25 years demonstrated a lower level of self-presentational needs than did those aged 25 and younger. Our findings further confirm that differences among individuals, largely rooted in personality traits and demographic characteristics, contribute to various motivations for social media use.

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