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THE USE OF THE INTERNET AMONG ACADEMIC GAY COMMUNITIESIN TAIWAN : AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

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The rise of the internet has tremendous impacts on homosexual communities in Taiwan. The internet has created a medium where homosexual people can form virtual communities to seek for emotional support without fearing the disclosure of their sexual preferences and causing unwanted negative consequences. The internet has become a medium where homosexual communities can share information with each other and voice their concerns to the public. Thus, the internet may become what Ithiel de Sola Pool (1984) called 'the technology of freedom' for homosexual communities. The purposes of this paper are set to discuss whether academic homosexual individuals perceive the internet to be more fair and impartial in terms of news reporting than traditional mass media and to investigate why they use the internet. This paper employs a questionnaire survey method to collect data for the questions. The quantitative analysis of survey data (N=701), from a self-completed questionnaire using modified snowball sampling of gays and lesbians from Taiwan. Principal component analysis with varimax rotation led to seven factors that account for 66.31% of the variance. These factors are social interaction and information, entertainment and relaxation, personal revelation, preference, privacy and escapism, pass time and, novelty-seeking. Correlation analyses also suggested that respondents' demographics, internet usage frequency and, time are associated with their use motivation. As an exploratory study of an academic homosexual population and their internet use behaviour in Taiwan, this study raised more questions than it intended to answer. The use of individual media by this group needs further study.
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Keywords: HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITIES; INTERNET; TAIWAN; USES AND GRATIFICATIONS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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