Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level





Larry Foley

Committee Member

Rob Wells

Second Committee Member

Ray McCaffrey


special needs, social media interaction, Uses and Gratifications Theory, Facebook usage impact, socialization, visually impaired, blind


This present research seeks to provide a more comprehensive understanding of why people with visual impairment use social media. I investigate this question using uses and gratification (U&G) Theory, which was developed by Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch (1974). The theory explains what people do with media and why. The purpose of this study is twofold: it seeks to document reasons people with visual impairment use Facebook and it endeavors to reveal which variables can influence users’ decisions to use one social media platform instead of another. In particular, I am interested in determining factors motivating users with visual impairment to use certain platforms and the gratifications that they receive. Accordingly, this study attempts to investigate the impact of social media on the daily lives of blind and visually impaired people and to examine the extent to which social media has allowed them to enrich their daily lives by building and participating in online communities.

The targeted population is represented by a sample of one hundred sixty-eight Facebook users, all of whom are active members of Facebook groups. Data were gathered through an online survey that consisted of three main parts: (1) the reasons that visually impaired people use social media; (2) their perceptions of social networking sites; and (3) the impact of social media on blind and visually impaired users. The data gathered through the survey were analyzed using Excel.