Discovering hidden digital producers on social media: theorizing digital literacy education by understanding motivation, creativity, and gender differences
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Social media provide many opportunities for young people to engage in digital production, and thus social media may provide a fruitful avenue to digital literacy education for young people. Considering both young women and men are actively utilizing digital technologies, specifically social media, to produce content and immerse themselves in participatory culture, it is especially important to understand various learning processes that can occur in their participation. Hence, using self-determination theory and the Four C Model of Creativity, this dissertation aimed to unravel relationships between motivation and creativity in social media production. Conceptualizing social media production as four types of production activities (i.e., text, photo, graphic, and video production), the primary goals of this dissertation were to: (1) take a multi-disciplinary approach to theorizing about digital media literacy production and education for young people, (2) gather information about young people’s social media production activities, (3) examine social media production as digital production and digital literacy education, (4) analyze relationships between social media production activities and levels of creativity, (5) identify the motivating factors that encourage social media production among young people, (6) investigate the relationships between level of creativity, types of social media production, motivations, and digital literacy outcomes, and (7) explore gender differences in social media production. This dissertation utilized a survey method to gather responses from a representative sample (N = 545) of young people between the ages of 15 to 24 years. The findings from this dissertation mapped each level of creativity to a social media production activity where text production was found to be not-creative and video production was matched with the highest level of creativity (i.e., Pro-c). Motivation also played a significant role in facilitating young people’s social media participation, as extrinsic motivation and external rewards had a prominent effect on young people to deepen their engagement on social media. Additionally, both creativity and motivation resulted was positively related to young people’s creative self-efficacy, which accentuated the importance of identifying psychological outcomes from digital literacy education. This study also identified young women and men’s unique interests and differences. Results indicated that young women and men have unique interests that directed them toward a certain activity and incorporated specific topics in their content creation. The results of this dissertation make theoretical contributions to social media production and digital literacy education that will go beyond previous digital literacy education research that mainly focused on identifying practical skills. Moreover, because this dissertation utilized theoretical concepts from psychology, education, and media effects, it exemplifies interdisciplinary opportunities that may help more young people to maximize their learning in social media production and make their way into the technology field.
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