According to multiple sources, the basic idea behind uses and gratifications theory is that people use media for specific purposes and hope to receive specific gratifications from that usage. However, the actual gratifications they receive may not be the same ones that they seek. Thus, there is the idea of gratifications sought versus gratifications obtained.
One of the major concepts within uses and gratifications theory is that of the active audience. In essence, that concept suggests that people consciously make their own media consumption decisions and are not passive absorbers of media information (Tewksbury and Althaus, 2000).
According to Papacharissi and Rubin (2000), uses and gratifications theory also includes the wish to ascertain antecedent factors that affect media use and gratification.
Our team, the Bay Area Scholars, has elected to fine tune and focus our research by specifically exploring uses and gratifications theory in the context of the new medium of the Internet.
(The Bay Area Scholars, Spring 2008)