Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Fei Xue

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Christopher Campbell

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. John Meyer

Committee Member 3 School



Social media sites, such as YouTube, have provided a platform for many individuals to have online communities and form their own audiences through their shared interests and a sense of belonging. YouTube exemplifies a social environment in which everyone has the potential to be both the consumer and the producer of content and suggests the speed at which social networking innovations can transform the way we interact with other users. Corporations began to deviate new strategies to engage this new online market and have created a salient area to study the potential problems that may arise when ads present cultural biases or unhealthy habits for the sake of profit.

This study explored YouTube content, its influencers, and viewers' experiences within the YouTube platform through the frameworks of Social Identity Theory and the Uses and Gratification model. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with young adults who are frequent YouTube users. The participants were asked regarding their habits and consumption patterns in relation to online advertisements and viewed content on YouTube. The prevalence of online socialization, personalization, and the aspect of convenient entertainment significantly contribute to the overall time spent online. The study found that constant engagement with YouTube normalizes the repetition of advertisements which led the participants to develop different avoidance habits to cope with unwanted advertising on the Internet. However, the results also revealed that advertisements were mentioned to be entertaining and participants would continue to watch them if the content of the advertisements were enjoyable and memorable.