Communication, community, crisis: Mapping uses and gratifications in the contemporary media environment

  • Lev-On A
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Abstract

The article analyzes how community members who were evacuated from their homes use various media, and especially the internet, to keep in touch, receive and disseminate information and express their opinions. Of particular interest are the differences between members of various groups, who differ in their decision whether to relocate in Israel with the rest of the original community or not, in media usage patterns and sense of community. The findings demonstrate that evacuees use diversity and multiplicity of media, where various media are used for different purposes according to need. Small media, with a rather limited and local reach (such as pamphlets, SMS, niche websites and small-scale meetings) are predominantly used for most of the needs, overshadowing mass media usage. Correlations were found amongst various media usages, and between the usage of various media and users' sense of community. The study demonstrates how contemporary media users use a variety of media depending on their circumstances and needs, and how media usage assists in establishing and maintaining a sense of community after the forced transition from the communities of origin.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Gush Katif
  • cognitive needs
  • communities
  • evacuees
  • internet
  • online communities
  • refugees
  • sense of community
  • social needs
  • uses and gratifications
  • virtual communities

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Authors

  • Azi Lev-On

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