Master of Mass Communication (MMC)


Mass Communication

Document Type



This study investigates the relationship between smartphone and desktop or laptop computer users’ characteristics and online content creation and participation. A survey collected demographic information as well as detailed information on which devices were preferred by the participants in various circumstances. Results showed age and income were the two primary demographic factors in determining a user’s degree of comfort with technology as well as their likelihood to participate with or create online content. Employing the Diffusion of Innovations theory, this research found support for the idea that home computers have seen to fruition the diffusion process, and are not factors in participant’s self-reporting of their level of online expertise. Looking at the use of technology through the Technology Acceptance Model lens, this research indicates that the usefulness a generation once saw in the proliferation of the home computer now has been more perceived and adopted in the area of smartphone use. This fairly widespread view of smartphone usefulness, except in the oldest age categories, indicates that like the computer becoming ubiquitous, soon too will the smartphone follow the same path. Interesting findings include the disconnect between a user’s self-concept and their actions; the Content consumers group, who generally consumes rather than creates or interacts with content, seems to rate themselves higher as influencers and experts online than the group who actually creates the content. And interestingly, those that are Smartphone averse will actually use their smartphones more in certain instances than Content consumers. Why participants’ self-concept differed from their self-reported usage patterns, in my view, is attributable to the fact that as the comfort level with technology rises, the awareness of that technology ebbs. This illustrates the power of ubiquity; once a piece of technology becomes commonplace or highly familiar, the user concentrates less on the device because it has become part of his or her daily routine. This, in turn, causes the user’s self-concept about the relationship between him or her and technology to become less based on actual usage patterns and more based on perception.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Porter, Lance