Communication ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 6-29-2020


As Instagram is widely popular with young people, politicians and news media turn to Instagram and spread an array of political information. Despite the growing popularity, few studies have explored political use of Instagram. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate why and how college students use Instagram for politics. Based on the Uses and Gratifications (U&G) theory, this study examines students’ motivations and political uses of Instagram, such as getting political information, expressing political opinions, and following political accounts. Lastly, this thesis explores how young people unintentionally get political information on Instagram. This thesis found that motivation for information seeking is positively associated with political information consumption and following news media accounts on Instagram. Motivation for self-expression is positively associated with political information consumption, political opinion expression and following politicians’ accounts on Instagram. In addition to the motivations, frequent use of Instagram use is positively associated with incidental news exposure on Instagram.




Instagram, uses and gratifications theory, political information consumption, political opinion expression, following political accounts, incidental news exposure

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Yangsun Hong

Second Committee Member

Dr. David Weiss

Third Committee Member

Dr. Jessica Feezell