Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Candace L. White

Committee Members

Courtney C. Childers, Moonhee Cho


The purpose of this study is to examine how user-generated content on social media can affect national image. YouTube is a good fit for this study due to its abundant data and influence. This study tries to examine which topics of videos related to a country are famous and being discussed on YouTube; how do viewers react to the videos (e.g., likes, dislikes, and comments); and cultivation or framing effects of depictions (e.g., negative, neutral, and positive) in the videos from viewers’ reactions. To do so, this study uses content analysis and chooses South Korea as the subject country. This study selects and examines 50 YouTube videos related to South Korea sorted by the descending order of views and relevance. Coding categories are made based on the theoretical frameworks of Buhmann and Ingenhoff’s “the 4D model of country image.” The results show that the popularity of topics is related to unique and cultural images (i.e., the aesthetic dimension) of South Korea; a significant influence of Korean popular culture on increasing exposures of the videos; and the discrepancy between depiction tones of topics and overall tones of Korea (or Koreans).


This paper was written as a graduation thesis for the 'Public Relations Concentrations - Thesis Track' of the Master's program in the College of Communication & Information Science.

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