Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

First Advisor

Eric A. Abbott



Social networking sites (SNS), such as Facebook and LinkedIn, have recently emerged as popular media worldwide. The rapid adoption of SNS by college students in the United States raises many questions. Why do youths like SNS? How do they use them? Will these SNS activities replace or complement face-to-face relationships? To address these questions, this research provides a quantitative examination of college students' uses and gratifications of SNS, with a focus on social capital. More specifically, it examines how individuals' perceived value of social capital drives the generation of user-created content, and how gratifications obtained from SNS are different from other media. SNS usage and satisfaction were explored as the consequences of social capital motives toward SNS. This study found that different types of social capital, especially "bridging" social capital, impacted students' use of SNS. Also the most obvious finding in this study is that SNS did not substitute for face-to-face relationships, but instead assisted students' communication with different connections.

User-created content enables users to create and publish different kinds of media content to make visible communication. Additionally, users may perform different activities on SNS for various reasons and motivations. Users' social interactions are undergoing a true revolution, and social capital has been tightly related to today's SNS. Another major finding was that the motivations for obtaining "bonding," "bridging" and "linking" social capital had affected individuals' user-created content activity.


Copyright Owner

Zhang Xu Lineberry



File Format


File Size

99 pages