Applying the Uses and Gratifications Theory to Compare Higher Education Students’ Motivation for Using Social Networking Sites: Experiences from Iran, Malaysia, United Kingdom, and South Africa

 

Drawing from the Uses and Gratifications Theory, this study examined the Gratification Sought and the Gratification Obtained from using Social Networking Sites among Iranian, Malaysian, British, and South African higher education students. This comparison allowed to drawing conclusions about how social networking sites fulfill users’ needs with different cultures. Data were collected through a quantitative study applying online and paper- based questionnaire carried out in 2013, using a representative sample (N=320). Findings showed differences in students’ motivation to join to and to use of social network sites in each country. Interestingly, the researchers found that cultural differences may determine the uses and gratifications of social networking sites.