How 'Social' are Social News Sites? Exploring the Motivations for Using

Toine Bogers, Rasmus Nordenhoff Wernersen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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Social news sites allow their users to submit and vote on online news stories, thereby bypassing the authority and power of traditional newspaper editors. In this paper we explore what motivates users of social news sites, such as Reddit, to participate in this collaborative editorial process. We present a tiered framework of motivational factors for participating on social news sites, based on a comprehensive literature review, drawn from fields like social media research, sociology, (social) psychology, and behavioral economics. We then validate this framework through a survey deployed on Reddit and use the results of this survey to focus the motivational framework for the social news domain. We find that the recreational value of the information posted to Reddit, along with the powerful possibilities for customization appear to be the most powerful incentives for using Reddit. Perhaps surprisingly, the social aspect of social news sites is not a motivating factor for the majority of Reddit users. Influencing the placement and reception of news stories in their niche communities of interest is what draws people to sites such as Reddit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the iConference 2014
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationIDEALS
Publication date1 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014
EventiConference 2014: Breaking Down Walls: Culture - Context - Computing - Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 4 Mar 20147 Mar 2014


ConferenceiConference 2014
LocationHumboldt University Berlin


  • social news
  • motivation
  • social media
  • quantitative analysis
  • incentives
  • Reddit
  • user participation

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  • iConference 2014

    Toine Bogers (Organizer)

    4 Mar 20147 Mar 2014

    Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

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