Purposeful Use of Social Media in U.S. Counties: A Multivariate and Geospatial Perspective

Avijit Sarkar, School of Business; James B. Pick, School of Business; Tridev Raut, School of Business 

Social media use in the United States has been steadily increasing over the past decade as various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube become the primary channel of online engagement among American internet users. As the spectrum of purposeful use of social media diversifies, this study examines geographic patterns of social media access and use in U.S. counties. The extent of access of such platforms and purpose of use for e-communication, e-business, e-education, e-health, and e-entertainment are examined through dual lenses of geographic and socioeconomic variations. By borrowing from classical technology adoption and diffusion theories, the paper’s conceptual framework posits associations of 18 independent variables with 17 indicators of social media penetration and purposeful usage. Associations are analyzed using OLS regressions, differences are observed between social media access and usage, spatial patterns and biases are observed, and policy implications of these findings are discussed. avijit_sarkar@redlands.edu james_pick@redlands.edu tridev_raut@redlands.edu