Communication ETDs

Publication Date

7-1-2010

Abstract

Despite the growing number of people using social network Web sites to establish and maintain relationships, we know little about how the information available on these sites affects communication patterns and perceptions of partners. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to extend Uncertainty Reduction Theory (URT) into the Information age by examining the effect that the type of information available on social network sites may have on initial interactions. Thirty strangers were matched with one another to create fifteen dyads. These dyads were assigned to one of two groups: one group received their partners social network profile and the second group was provided an index card containing basic information about their partner. Then, participants completed a pretest, engaged in a get-to-know-you conversation, and completed a posttest. Several weeks later, the Relational Uncertainty in Initial Interactions Questionnaire was administered to assess the lingering effects of uncertainty. These findings contradict five of URT's seven axioms and show the limited applicability of URT to electronic communication while also providing support for Predicted Outcome Value Theory and Uncertainty Management Theory.

Language

English

Keywords

Interpersonal Communication, Uncertainty Reduction, Social Networking, Profile, Relational Uncertainty in Initial Interactions Questionnaire, Social profiles

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Communication

Level of Degree

Masters

Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

McDermott, Virginia

First Committee Member (Chair)

Schuetz, Jan

Second Committee Member

Shiver, Janet

Project Sponsors

Student Research Allocations Committee

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