Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Swortzel, Kirk A.

Committee Member

Peterson, Donna J.

Committee Member

Seal, Susan D.

Committee Member

Denny, Marina D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agricultural Science (Agricultural and Extension Education)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


Many Extension organizations in the United States utilize social media to communicate with clients and deliver Extension educational programs. The purpose of this study was to investigate what social media platform Extension employees were using as a communication tool to deliver educational programs, and to examine factors influencing Extension employees’ attitude toward using social media with Mississippi State University Extension. The study followed a descriptive correlational design, using a researcher- developed questionnaire. Data were collected via Qualtrics. A total of 170 Extension faculty and agents responded to the questionnaire. Most of respondents were Extension agents, white, with an equal percentage of male and female. Their age ranged from less than 25 to over 65 years old, and 51.2% were in age range from 25 to 44 years old (f = 87). Facebook and Twitter were the most-used social media platforms by Extension faculty and agents. Based on 135 usable responses of social media users, two principle component analyses were conducted. The result of principle component analyses on organizational and social media scales revealed five components that influence social media use. These five variables were named social media characteristics, clients’ interest and skills, graphic skills, organizational support, and availability of equipment and Internet. The results revealed that Extension faculty and agents’ social media users and nonusers have a positive (in range of agree) attitude toward using social media in Extension. Social media users have positive (in range of agree) perceived usefulness of social media in Extension. Extension faculty and agents Facebook self-efficacy was in the range of agree, and their Twitter self-efficacy was in range neither agree nor disagree. Perceived usefulness, clients’ interest and skills, and social media characteristics were the significant factors that influenced Extension faculty and agents attitude toward social media with Mississippi State University Extension.