Educator ~ Researcher ~ Leader

Barak D. Stanley


My Master's Thesis

Uses and Gratifications of Temporary Social Media:

A Comparison of Snapchat and Facebook

This thesis compares the uses and gratifications of Snapchat versus Facebook.  Snapchat is considered a form of temporary social media because it is based on user generated content disappearing after a specified timeframe.  This temporality is contrary to Facebook and other forms of social media that create a series of asynchronous online interactions that are more enduring.  Undergraduate students were surveyed in order to better understand their motivations to join, gratifications obtained, and frequency of use regarding each medium. 

Results of this study indicated that undergraduates were motivated to join Facebook to increase networking and motivated to join Snapchat because it enticed their curiosity and their friends are on it.  Students reported greater gratifications from Snapchat than Facebook in all categories including modality, agency, interactivity, navigability, and privacy.  This study provides insight into the growing popularity of temporary social media platforms. 

Gender differences and usage trends were also explored.  Females were shown to have greater motivations to join Facebook and Snapchat to monitor the lives of family, friends and others.  Males had higher motivations to join Facebook to network and meet new people.  Undergraduates’ Snapchat and Facebook use was positively associated with the agency gratification category.  Undergraduates’ Facebook update frequency was negatively associated with the privacy gratification category. 

Privacy was isolated as a viable social media gratification, which shows its influence on social media users need to update.  Temporary social media enables undergraduates to communicate more privately.  Therefore, this study serves as a pioneering investigation of temporary social media.  It also expanded current literature about Facebook’s uses and gratifications for younger adult segments.