Master of Arts (MA)
A. Todd Smith
Primary Subject Area
Uses and Gratifications, Virginia Tech shootings, internet, Facebook, and qualitative
Facebook has been incorporated into the regular activities of over 100 million users. After the Virginia Tech Shootings, individuals began interacting with Facebook in a unique way. This exploratory project analyzed uses and gratifications of Facebook use in the time following the Virginia Tech shootings. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with seven college students whose Facebook profiles acknowledged the event in at least one area.
The study found preliminary evidence of Blumler's categories of Surveillance, Diversion, Personal Identity, and Personal Relationships. The category of Curiosity was not substantiated in the findings. New categories were suggested based on the results. These included memorialization, showing support, and use of Facebook as a support group in conjunction with the Therese Rando’s mourning process.