#3 — Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT)

The Uses and Gratifications Theory (UGT) postulates that “media users play an active role in choosing and using the media” (Lane, 2001) and that “media consumers are actively choosing specific media content according to their needs” (Matei, 2010). In other words, users discern between various forms of media and select one that serves their intended purpose, thus fulfilling their needs.

Read more about it here: http://matei.org/ithink/2010/07/29/what-can-uses-and-gratifications-theory-tell-us-about-social-media/ .

we can do it1
(Source: https://americaniconstemeple.wordpress.com/tag/rosie-the-riveter/)

An example of UGT in action is when the ‘Rosie the Riveter’ image was used by the United States Government to motivate millions of women to join the workforce due to a shortage of labour when men were enlisted for WWII. This poster of a woman wearing a distinctive bandana, flexing her muscles and proclaiming, “We Can Do It!” was used to boost the morale of female workers. This is a prime example of how a group of people, in this case the U.S. Government, actively made use of an image to make a stand that women should serve the country by entering the workforce, thus fulfilling the workforce’s need for labour.

More information: http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/rosie-the-riveter .

wwf image
(Source: http://www.fubiz.net/en/2014/06/25/wwf-campaign-stop-one-stop-them-all/)

Another example is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) using powerful images to make a stand about our need to stop harmful actions towards nature and wildlife. The above image depicts men standing in the shape of a pyramid, with consumers of the fur trade standing at the top and animal hunters at the bottom. The caption of “Stop one. Stop them all.” serves to remind us that consumers are also perpetrators of this trade, as they provide incentive (monetary returns) for hunters to kill the animals. By stopping any one of the participants (not necessarily the hunters), the pyramid would fall apart, a metaphorical representation of this trade ceasing to exist.

wwf sharks           wwf rhino
(Source: http://www.fubiz.net/en/2014/06/25/wwf-campaign-stop-one-stop-them-all/)

As one of the main tools of advertising and propaganda, the UGT permeates more aspects of our lives than we consciously realise. People are constantly making use of media to make an argument or stand.

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10 thoughts on “#3 — Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT)

  1. Hey hey!
    I like how you define “uses and gratification”. It’s really specific with the citing, I agree with “In other words, users discern between various forms of media and select one that serves their intended purpose, thus fulfilling their needs.”

    I agree with the example of the uses and gratification. In the past, there are not many female celebrities thus unable to really portray or attract the people these days. However, if I’m a female and I was living in the past, after seeing this poster, I will feel that the female role is getting higher as compared to the past. Female are able to get a job and support the family. I might even think that ‘it’s the start of a new generation, where the females are equal with the dudes’. If this poster were to publish in today ‘s society, I think that it will not have a much greater impact as compared to the past. Females these days are independent even though females are still underappreciated, but still everyone is working towards that direction, in making the society fair. I also think that if the poster is to be published today, Pink, Ellen DeGeneres, Beyoncé, Hilary Clinton… etc will be a perfect candidate for the poster. They represent most of the females these days.

    Honestly, it takes me a while in order to understand what the poster is trying to tell, but all in all, I think that I agree with the poster. if one person doesn’t purchase hunted animal related product, there will be one lesser animal who will be killed. Even though it’s just a person’s effort, it will still help the environment, nature and the animal habitats. Perhaps you might even inspire others to follow your path, it will then become a lifestyle that people will eventually take up on.

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  2. I agree with you that the Uses and Gratification Theory serve in fulfilling needs of the organisation or people. In addition, UGT can aid in the organization to change people opinion and responding to the problem or the myth that they are concerning of. For example, I came across an article which stated that Macdonald’s burgers had added pink slime in it. So they came up with a campaign to clear the myth or rumors by videoing down the whole process of the making of their burger to show to the public.

    I like the way how you use the examples that you had found online to explain the lobby group. It was really interesting to read it. Especially the second example, this image had a strong message to the audience so that stop killing the animal and educate about the trade that is not existed anymore in the modern country.

    To be honest, media really make an argument or stand more visible than just giving a speech or presentation.

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  3. Yes, UGT talks about how consumers like us make use of media to achieve our goals rather than being portray as a emotionless tool discussed in the media effect tradition. Personally, I feel that your explanation for UGT was on point when you mentioned actively because it meant that we are conscious in the decision process and more importantly, we are responsible for your own decision in meeting our goal.
    I like your example on the World WildLife Fund poster. I like the way the portray poaching as having a simple cause and effect relationship. If no one buys, no one would have to hunt.
    The poster on encouraging women in joining the workforce is also good because the women was seen wearing a poker dots red bandana, a representation of a feminine women and yet, she is shown wearing a blue jumper flexing her arm which is a act of masculine. To me, the poster wants to remove the stereotype of a women being “soft” and that they could also be as tough as any other men.

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  4. Hey Rachael, loved the image of ‘Rosie the Riveter’! It is an icon of World War II and also a symbol that explains the capability that women have. The poster is a powerful one that has been inspiring women living not only in the World War II period but now as well. The icon can be viewed in two different perspectives; as wartime propaganda or as a feminist symbol.

    Anyway, the image of Rosie remains to empower females and is embraced by many. It is being said that the ‘uses and gratification’ theory suggests that audience are active and have their own ways to interpret messages and incorporate media into their lives. I agree with you how the icon, Rosie the Riveter is an example of how UGT is being displayed. The fact that it has successfully encourages women that they too can be strong and independent as well as break through the social norms that involves gender equity is a proof of the ‘uses and gratification’ theory. As viewers, we have self-awareness and have different initiatives towards how we view media. It’s a great contrast in my opinion to see how an icon can shift from a propaganda tool to a cultural icon.

    The second example you posted is such a creative way to raise awareness of wildlife crime and promoting animals’ protection. The pyramid displays the people and animals involved in the trading industry, from the poachers to the clients and providers. It’s like a cycle; if we eliminate one of the subjects, the cycle gets distorted and the process can be stopped. I feel that WWF has made an excellent move to try and stop illegal wildlife trade. We are all living in the same environment so we should play a part in conserving nature so we can continue to live alongside with each other.

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  5. Hey Rachael! I do agree with you that audience does recognize and understand forms of media and they are selective in choosing one that fulfils their needs. You also did brought up a good picture of a woman flexing her muscles. This shows that women are strong and can work too like the men. By showing this picture, it encourages women to work and thus fulfilling the need for labour work however, there may also be some misconception from the picture. From my point of view, it may also mean that women are trying to dominate the men. Well, there is a saying that goes by, ‘a picture tells a thousand words’. It means that although your picture states that women are strong enough to work and strong to be just like men, some audiences may not be able to read the context of the story or may not fully understand thus, from the picture, they create their own concept and put words on the media.

    Another good example was also brought up. The picture of how a group of humans manage to create a human pyramid. From the shape of pyramid itself, pyramid will topple down if the base is not stable or if one of the part is detached from the whole structure, thus the caption of “Stop one. Stop them all.” And yes I do agree that all are involved in this trade, as us, the consumers, provide money for hunters to catch and kill the animals. And by stopping any of this stages, it will bring good to the animals. However, another set of message that I can interpret from the picture would be, the men are hunters. They hunt dangerous animals to protect their family and their teamwork helped them succeed in their job.

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  6. Another with people making use of the method uses and gratification is that since humans beings have emotions, we thus have different needs in our lives like cognitive needs, social needs, entertainment needs or even for information. Some people just seems to want to know about things that happens around him like simple stuff like why do people behave in certain ways. This interest in wanting to gain knowledge is a reason people make use of media for their benefits. Others make use of media to satisfy their needs of watching a particular programme so that he or she can relate to their peers or family when they are talking about it. It gives them a sense of belonging or relatedness around the people they are with.

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  7. Hi Rachael!

    Great job in your selection of your two examples because I think that they are both very relevant in showing how ‘lobby’ groups make use of media as a platform to convey ‘their intended purpose [and] thus fulfilling their needs’.

    I agree with you on your interpretation of your first example on how the purpose of the image was ‘to boost the morale of female workers’. This masculinity of women (shown by the flexing of her muscles) was not the usual image of women then. With this particular image of women portrayed, I think that it gave women an equal status as men, allowing them to join the workforce and to temporarily take the place of men in the workforce.

    With regards to your second example of UGT, I really like the powerful meaning behind this image. It is the hunters that are usually caught and are always in the centre of attention when it comes to fur trade and it was such a brilliant idea for the cartoonist to bring in consumers into the picture. If there’s no demand, there won’t be a supply. Hence, I think the main targeted audience for this particular campaign may be the consumers.

    Yes, I agree that ‘the UGT permeates more aspects of our lives than we consciously realise’. Lobby groups have been expanding and more and more have been appearing to make an argument or stand to influence change. And yes I agree with the link that you’ve made that UGT is used very commonly in advertising and propaganda.
    Good job!

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  8. Hi Rachael! Great job in your selection of your two examples because I think that they are both very relevant in showing how ‘lobby’ groups make use of media as a platform to convey ‘their intended purpose [and] thus fulfilling their needs’.
    I agree with you on your interpretation of your first example on how the purpose of the image was ‘to boost the morale of female workers’. This masculinity of women (shown by the flexing of her muscles) was not the usual image of women then. With this particular image of women portrayed, I think that it gave women an equal status as men, allowing them to join the workforce and to temporarily take the place of men in the workforce.
    With regards to your second example of UGT, I really like the powerful meaning behind this image. It is the hunters that are usually caught and are always in the centre of attention when it comes to fur trade and it was such a brilliant idea for the cartoonist to bring in consumers into the picture. If there’s no demand, there won’t be a supply. Hence, I think the main targeted audience for this particular campaign may be the consumers.
    Yes, I agree that ‘the UGT permeates more aspects of our lives than we consciously realise’. Lobby groups have been expanding and more and more have been appearing to make an argument or stand to influence change. And yes I agree with the link that you’ve made that UGT is used very commonly in advertising and propaganda.
    Good job!

    Like

  9. Hey Rachael! As pointed out by you, the first image is of a woman flexing her muscles, which is a usual symbol of strength and power. This can be seen as a feminist campaign that serves as a morale boost towards women, since it is a clear-cut message for women that they ‘can do it’. It would allow them to feel empowered, enough to take up jobs commonly thought of as ‘for men’ during the World War II while men were away fighting in wars.

    I think that rather than the U.S. government making use of ‘Rosie the Riveter’ to tell women that they should serve the country, they were mainly trying to influence women at that time to temporarily take over the jobs of men, since women were discharged after the war and returned to becoming domestic housewives or ‘female dominated’ jobs, and not that people actually believed that women were actually of equal standing as men at that time.

    The second image from WWF is a very thought-provoking image indeed, and it shows that there is a hierarchy as well in the chain. There has to be people who kill the tigers to have people who will take the dead tigers to be skinned and cooked in order for consumers to wear them as fur and such, and thus stopping one part would indeed affect the whole pyramid.

    I don’t fully agree with the line “Stop one. Stop them all.” however, as there has to be a bigger impact made in order to stop the trade fully. For example, just taking down one group of tiger hunters will not truly deter others from doing it if it’s a lucrative business, and consumers will not stop doing things like refuse to eat shark’s fin even though there has been plenty of documentaries on how sharks are killed just for their fins.

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  10. Here is my edited comment from the previous post.

    I agree with you that the Uses and Gratification Theory serve in fulfilling needs of the organisation or people. In addition, UGT can aid in the organization to change people opinion and responding to the problem or the myth that they are concerning of. For example, I came across an article which stated that Macdonald’s burgers had added pink slime in it. So they came up with a campaign to clear the myth or rumors by videoing down the whole process of the making of their burger to show to the public.

    I like the way how you use the examples that you had found online to explain the lobby group. It was really interesting to read it. For your first example, female in a modern context are much more powerful but not dominant. The role of the women now is not just giving birth and takes care of the house. But it also consists of finding a career and supports their loved one. However, there are countries where by males are more dominant than female like developing countries. The roles of male and females can be equal in the modern context.

    As for your second example, this image had a strong message to the audience so that stop killing the animal and educate about the trade that is not existed anymore in the modern country. In addition, I feel that there are another reason behind it which is to give the animal the life back to the nature and live where and what they should be.

    To be honest, media really make an argument or stand more visible than just giving a speech or presentation.

    Like

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