Uses and Gratifications of the Screenshot in Human Communication: An Exploratory Study

Emily Cramer, Yoonmo SANG, Sunyoung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A screenshot is a digital image of content appearing on a device’s screen that can be cropped, filtered, retouched, edited, posted, and/or sent to someone else. Anecdotal evidence tells us that screenshots are integrated into our lives, but formalized research has yet to uncover the “how and why” of screenshot use. Drawing from a uses and gratification framework, this exploratory study examines the technicity and practice as well as motivations and gratifications of screenshot use in general and across age groups. A sample of predominately college-age students responded to an electronic survey inquiring about screenshot use (e.g. devices used to take screenshots, device preference for taking screenshots, and frequency of screenshot use) as well as motivations for taking screenshots. Results revealed that screenshots: are social, reflect a range of diverse and age-related content, occur often and on the go, and accommodate needs especially in emerging adulthood. Taking a first step in bridging the gap in screenshot literature, implications and future directions of this nascent work are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalElectronic Journal of Communication
Issue number1& 2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


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