The Effects of Facebook Communication on Social Penetration Theory

Topics: Interpersonal relationship, Facebook, Communication Pages: 4 (1462 words) Published: May 1, 2012

The Effects of Facebook Communication on Social Penetration Theory

This paper examines a possible study to measure how CMC -- specifically Facebook communication -- is changing and evolving social penetration theory (Altman & Taylor, 1973). More specifically, the surveys are designed to determine if self-disclosure is happening more quickly in Facebook relationships. Altman and Taylor examine the stages of self-disclosure in social penetration theory and this study will determine if the lines between those stages are being blurred -- and therefore causing individuals to self-disclose more quickly and reveal more breadth and depth of information at earlier stages of the relationship.

Facebook has over 900 million users and they are all sharing information in ways that just did not exist 10 years ago. Users having the ability to share large amounts of information about themselves on profiles and chat easily with friends through Facebook’s chat interface has made obtaining information on others incredibly easy. Much easier than it used to be. Social Penetration Theory (Altman and Taylor, 1973)

Social Penetration Theory states that self-disclosure usually increases gradually as people develop their relationships. It suggests that self-disclosure can be conceptualized in terms of three dimensions: depth, breadth, and frequency. It is commonly referred to using the onion metaphor. As the frequency of communication and self-disclosure increases, the layers get thicker and closer to the core -- or more meaningful or intimate in a relationship sense. Initial interactions in an interpersonal setting will typically only involve communication about frivolous matters. As interactions increase, so does the depth of the subject-matters discussed (Guerrero, Andersen, Afifi, 91). Self-disclosure

Self-disclosure occurs when people reveal something about themselves to others (Guerrero, Andersen, Afifi,...

References: Ayres, J. (1979). Uncertainty and Social Penetration Theory Expectations About Relationship Communication: A Comparative Test. Retrieved from
Facebook (2008). Will You be my Friend: Facebook as a Model for the Evolution of Social Penetration Theory. Retrieved from
Guerrero, L., Andersen, P., & Afifi, W. (2007). Close encounters: Communication in relationships. (Second ed.). Sage Publications, Inc.
Marino, B. (2010). Laughter and the Laws of Attraction: Investigating Laughter and Attraction During Initial Interaction. Retrieved from
Malachowski, C., Dillow, M. (October-December 2011). An Examination of Relational Uncertainty, Romantic Intent, and Attraction on Communicative and Relational Outcomes in Cross-Sex Friendships. Retrieved from
Sheldon, P. (2009). I’ll Poke You, You’ll Poke Me: Self Disclosure, social attraction, predictability, and trust as important predictors of Facebook relationships. Retrieved from
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