The Adoption and Use of Photo Messaging

Date of Completion

January 2012


Speech Communication|Multimedia Communications|Mass Communications




The convergence of new media technologies has paved the way for new forms of communication. As technology has advanced, mobile phones with cameras and web access have reached wide-spread adoption. Mobile phone subscribers can now choose to communicate via text, voice, or multimedia. Photo messaging allows users to exchange messages visually through MMS services and online sharing. The present study applied theories of technology diffusion, uses and gratifications, and the technology acceptance model (TAM) via an exploratory model to explain photo messaging adoption and use. A sample of undergraduate students (N = 682) completed an online survey to assess the influence of innovativeness, media exposure, communication networks, technology ownership and motives on the adoption of photo messaging. ^ The results indicate the importance of examining diffusion variables in conjunction with technology acceptance. One of the key propositions of the TAM is that external variables influence both the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use of technology adoption. The findings of this study indicate the importance of innovativeness, communication network activity, media exposure, and technology clusters on technology acceptance and use. Innovativeness remains an important predictor of technology adoption. Communication network activity proved an important influence of photo messaging behavior. Media use and exposure predicted attitudes towards perceptions of usefulness and actual use. A narrow and functionally similar technology cluster influenced both perceived ease of use and actual use of photo messaging. ^ Motives for photo messaging use were integrated within a technology acceptance framework. The integration of motives and diffusion variables helps explain why people use photo messaging as a form of visual communication. Self-expression directly influenced how useful photo messaging was perceived to be by participants. Memory, relationship maintenance, and self-presentation motives all directly influenced the behavioral intention component of the TAM. Gender also influenced how often people send and share photo messages. The findings of this study help inform our understanding of visual communication in the digital age. ^