Arabs Motives for using New Media: A Uses and Gratifications Perspective

Abstract

In western countries, where citizens have access to many avenues for expressing themselves, new media may not be used for this purpose. In the Arab World, however, citizens may use new media mainly for expressing oneself; because there are very few permitted forms of expression and new media maybe the only form permitted. That said, previous work has focused on countries where citizens are able to express themselves using many methods. There is a need to understand Arabs motives for using new media. The study reported herein seeks to address this need for research. The study employed two stages of investigation: the first stage used a descriptive online questionnaire to report users’ perceptions relating to their motives for using Al Arabiya site, which is one of the highly ranked sites in the Arab World. The second stage also used an online questionnaire to explore users’ motives for using Al Arabiya site; but this survey was quantitative and was driven by the Uses and Gratifications theory. To measure users’ motives in this survey, Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) internet motives scale was used with modification. The modification involved incorporating some of the results from the descriptive stage into the Papacharissi and Rubin scale. A principal component analysis was used to extract interpretable factors. An eigenvalue of 1.0 or greater was used to retain factors. Results from the second stage indicate that Interpersonal Utility, which accounted for 28% of the variance, was the most salient motive for using Al Arabiya site. Interestingly, the Interpersonal Utility factor included several statements relating to ‘expression’ including ‘to express my opinion freely’, ‘to participate in discussions’, and ‘to express my opinion about the issues that matter to me’.



Author Information
Yeslam Al-Saggaf, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2013
Stream: Media Studies

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