Uses and Gratifications of Online Communities in Japan

Kenichi Ishii


In recent years, a variety of online communities have gained popularity among internet users. In order to understand the motives behind using online communities, a questionnaire survey was conducted in Tokyo in 2005 (N = 455). A factor analysis of 21 statements regarding motives for visiting online communities found that four-factor models accounted for 67% of the variance. The four factors included self-disclosure, socializing, information seeking, and entertainment. The first dimension, i.e., the self-disclosure motive, was significantly and negatively correlated with age. These motives are conceptualized along two dimensions, namely, ritualized/instrumental and information/relationship dimensions. The self-disclosure motive is a ritualized and relationship-oriented motive, which has not been systematically discussed in previous studies. Results indicate that this motive was significantly correlated with positive attitudes toward virtual relationships and was especially associated with the use of social networking services. The theoretical meanings of this newfound motive were also discussed.


online community; uses and gratifications; motives; virtual relationship; self-disclosure

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