Cognitive needs and use of social media: a
comparative study of gratiﬁcations sought and
School of Media and Communication Studies, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan and
Judges Library, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Lahore, Pakistan
School of Media and Communication Studies, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, and
Faculty of Media and Communication Studies, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
Purpose –The purpose of this study is to compare the gratiﬁcation sought and gratiﬁcation obtained for cognitive needs from social media among
information professionals in the limelight of uses and gratiﬁcation theory. Cognitive needs are related to knowledge, acquiring information,
comprehension etc., and gratiﬁcation sought and gratiﬁcation obtained are two distinct components of the uses and gratiﬁcation theory.
Design/methodology/approach –For this quantitative research study, a self-administered survey questionnaire was used to collect data from the
participants of the study. Sample of this study was 700 information professionals who are necessarily users of social media.
Findings –Finding of this study depicted that gratiﬁcation obtained and gratiﬁcation sought from social media for cog nitive needs are different
from each other, and information professionals need to revisit their social media use for cognitive needs.
Research limitations/implications –The present study is limited to gratiﬁcation sought and gratiﬁcation obtained for cognitive needs among
Practical implications –This study has determined that information professionals need to revisit their social media use for cognitive needs, as the
obtained gratiﬁcations are different from gratiﬁcation sought from social media.
Social implications –Social media provides versatility of information in different forms and large numbers of information prof essionals are the
users of social media around globe. Perceived use of social media for cognitive needs has been resulted into destructed gra tiﬁcations. This study has
brought the actual outcome of the use of social media to the audience so that they may rectify their social media use.
Originality/value –This study is a signiﬁcant contribution for information professionals to review the gratiﬁcations sough tand obtaine dfrom socia l
media for cognitive needs. It has been established in this study that gratiﬁcations sought are signiﬁcantly different from gratiﬁcations obtained from
social media among information professionals.
Keywords World Wide Web, Social media, Information professionals, Uses and gratiﬁcations, Gratiﬁcations obtained, Gratiﬁcations sought
Paper type Research paper
Cognitive needs are related to knowledge, acquiring
information, comprehension, etc.(Al-Ghamdi and Carlin,
2005;Leung, 2009;Stefanone et al., 2019;Wang and
Tchernev, 2012).Uses and gratiﬁcation theory believes that the
selection of media and speciﬁed content to gratify a speciﬁed
need is purely a discretionof user and the user is independent in
choice. As per this theory, active users can evaluate and
examine different kinds of media to select the content and
media for gratiﬁcations of their cognitive need. Gratiﬁcation
sought and gratiﬁcation obtained are two distinct components
of the uses and gratiﬁcation theory. Gratiﬁcation sought has
been identiﬁed as corresponding needs for the use of social
media, whereas gratiﬁcation obtained has been considered as
the actual outcome or gained gratiﬁcations(Bae, 2018;Billings
et al.,2017;Ganet al., 2017;Hwang and Lombard, 2005;Ishii
et al.,2017;Johnson, 2014;Karimi et al.,2014;LaRose and
Eastin, 2004;Oladosu et al., 2017;Palmgreen et al.,1980;
Sohn et al.,2018;Stefanone et al., 2019;Wang andZhu, 2012;
Wang and Tchernev,2012;Zhang, 2013).
People use social media with different needs to gratify, and
social media provi de versatility of i nformation in the f orm of
pictures, videos, posts, tweets, live streams, stories , messages,
etc. to gratify these ne eds (Du, Kerkhof and Van
Koningsbruggen, 2019;Huang et al., 2014;Lee and Ma,
Emerald Insight at: https://www.emerald.com/insight/2398-6247.htm
Information Discovery and Delivery
48/2 (2020) 79–90
© Emerald Publishing Limited [ISSN 2398-6247]
Received 4 November 2019
Revised 12 December 2019
Accepted 1 January 2020