Congratulations to PhD Candidate Carol Scott, Associate
Professor Laina Bay-Cheng, Research Professor Tom Nochajski and
colleagues on the publication of their article, "Time spent online:
Latent profile analyses of emerging adults’ social media
use," in Computers in Human Behavior.
Scott, C. F., Bay-Cheng, L. Y., Prince, M. A., Collins, R. L.,
& Nochajski, T. H. (2017). Time spent online: Latent profile
analyses of emerging adults’ social media use. Computers
in Human Behavior, 75, 311-319. doi:
Studies of youth social media use (SMU) often focus on its
frequency, measuring how much time they spend
online. While informative, this perspective is only one way of
viewing SMU. Consistent with uses and gratification theory, another
is to consider how youth spend their time online
(i.e., degree of engagement). We conducted latent profile analyses
of survey data from 249 U.S. emerging adults (ages 18–26) to
explore their SMU in terms of frequency and engagement. We derived
separate 3-profile solutions for both frequency and engagement.
High frequency social media users tended to be women and to have
more Facebook friends. Highly engaged users (i.e., those most
interactive online) tended to be White and more highly educated.
Findings from this exploratory study indicate that youth SMU
frequency and SMU engagement warrant separate consideration. As SMU
becomes more ingrained into the fabric of daily life, it is
conceivable that engagement may be a more meaningful way to assess
youth SMU, especially in relation to the digital divide, since it
can be used to meet important needs, including social interaction,
information exchange, and self-expression.