Degree Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

First Advisor

Michael Dahlstrom

Abstract

While scholars have begun to examine the influence of the Internet on knowledge gaps, there is little research that explores the unique effect of the social media. This study begins to fill this research gap by examining the influence of social media on knowledge gaps about science and technology among Chinese audiences. This study focuses on the use of Guokr, a start-up social media site that combines the characteristics of blogs and social networks. Guokr's main objectives are to make science interesting and help audiences to know the truth. The results of a survey of Chinese students from China and the U.S. suggest that the use of Guokr positively correlates with participants' motivation and overall science knowledge and negatively correlates with education level. Use of more general social media had no interactive effect with Guokr use, motivation, education and other demographic variables (gender, education, major, residence, and household) upon overall science knowledge. The results suggest that social media influence knowledge gaps in a similar manner as the Internet in general by widening the size of gaps in knowledge about science and technology.

Copyright Owner

Xi Chen

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

54 pages

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