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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Motivations for Internet Use

Motivations for Internet Use
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Author(s): Thomas F. Stafford (University of Memphis, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch433


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In light of the importance the Internet has as a channel of commerce, it is important to understand consumer motivations for Internet use (Eighmey & McCord, 1998; Lohse & Spiller, 1998; Schonberg, Cofino, Hoch, Podlaseck, & Spraragen, 2000). In the absence of motivations for Internet use, there can be no motivations for e-commerce use, so Internet use motivations are an important antecedent to e-commerce activities (Stafford, 2003b). The Internet is a telecommunications medium, but it is also far more than a computer-mediated communication channel. In its evolution, the Internet evolved from a basic telecommunications network, to a consumer communications and entertainment medium, to a converged channel of commercial and telecommunications media that combine the utilities of familiar entertainment and communications media such as telephones, radio, and television, along with emerging computer network functionalities. While remaining at its core a network for the distribution of information and telecommunications services, it has evolved into a combined channel for the delivery of other, richer media—become a medium of conveyance for many separate media delivered simultaneously, or a meta-medium (Stafford, Stafford, & Shaw, 2002). In the past, understanding Internet motivations strictly related to computer use was sufficient to characterize Internet user motivations, but in the converged meta-medium of the modern day, we should consider a wider range of potential uses and motivating gratifications arising from use of this complex and converged medium. Media uses and gratifications (U&G) has been a useful theoretical platform for understanding Internet use in this emerging age of media convergence. This perspective focuses on the process of using the Internet medium, and the gratifi- cations related to the content provided by the network. More recently, Internet U&G research has demonstrated additional motivations for Internet use that expand beyond the traditional usage process and media content motivations found in U&G studies of conventional media. These motivations span usage process and content to include considerations of social motivations for network usage, which is a gratification that traditional media have not generally been able to supply to users (Stafford et al., 2002). These new and emerging media usage gratifications for the Internet are important for site and service operators to understand, if they wish to successfully motivate customer use of and loyalty to their resource. These new motivations are potential differentiators between operators within the Internet medium as well as between the Internet and conventional promotional media.

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