An investigation into the motivations behind social media photo sharing behaviour

Essay by emilygpUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2014

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An investigation into the motivations behind social media photo sharing behaviour


Reaching in excess of 1 billion people, social media has come to engulf the everyday lives of its users. Throughout an era of worldwide exponential technology growth, social networks have become increasingly integrated into the everyday lives of its users. As of September 2013, 73% of online adults used one or more social media sites (Duggan & Smith 2014). Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become an integral platform for the collaboration, sharing and creation of news, ideas and information of every kind. Because of this, it has captured the attention of marketing and research scholars for its usefulness, audience size and market research potential (Pérez-Latre, Portilla, Sanchez Blanco 2011). It has created a whole new realm in which consumption can occur and the motivations behind the behaviours of online consumers are a topic that has undergone extensive academic analysis.

The social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have a combined total of 932 million users daily with an astonishing 413 million photos shared each day on all platforms (Smith 2014). Whether it is pictures of friends, food, news or humorous situations, online users have wholly adopted this practice as a way to share thoughts, attitudes and beliefs with their peers. According to recent survey data, Facebook and Twitter posts with photo attachments rate the highest on engagement scales with consumers (eMarketer 2011). This information has prompted consumer researchers and marketers to investigate the psychological motivations behind user posting habits in order to create content that can cater to consumers' experiential consumption desires (Holbrook & Hirschman 1982; Jantzen, Fitchett, Ostergaard & Vetner 2012).

This research investigation seeks to examine consumer affect and motivations surrounding posting images on social networks, and to understand how user...