It also examines how Twitter affects credibility of and level of engagement users have with mainstream newsorganizations.
As social networks have boomed in popularity, numerous studies have explored who is using these sites,how they use them, and what motivates them. Yet few have focused on the implications for journalism. Most socialnetworking studies are aligned with the active audience paradigm of mass communication theory, in which peopleactively shape meaning from media instead of passively consuming it. This body of theory is particularly relevant tosocial media, given its interactive nature, and the relative ease and low-cost means of amateur media production.
Within this paradigm, uses and gratifications has often been applied to the study of social networks, seeking tounderstand how audience members use media and the fulfillment they get from their media choices.
Uses andgratifications theory is relevant for journalists as a way to understand and target their audience
needs, ultimatelyensuring the best return on investment with social media.Because Twitter is relatively new, much of the current published work focuses on Facebook, its massivepredecessor, or on MySpace, which also preceded Twitter but is now declining in popularity. However, there is asmall and growing body of literature on Twitter, a social network that allows users to broadcast information toothers using just 140 characters, interact with each other publicly or privately
, and “follow” other users.
UnlikeFacebook, reciprocity is not required on Twitter; users can follow others even if others do not follow them in return.Although Twitter attracts a relatively small percentage of Internet users, its growth has been rapid. In 2010, Twitteradded 100 million new users.
While many new users check the site infrequently or never, one-third check for newmaterial posted by others on a daily basis or even multiple times per day.
Twenty-one percent of Twitter usersfollow more than 100 people, and 16 percent now have more than 100 followers.
People are also becoming morewilling to disclose personal information. In 2010, users were significantly more likely to provide a biography (69percent), full name (73 percent), location (82 percent) and website URL (44 percent) as part of their public profilesthan they were in the previous year.
Edison Research also found awareness of Twitter has exploded. Thepercentage of Americans who say they are familiar with Twitter rose from 5 percent in 2008 to 87 percent in 2010.
Twitter uses and gratifications