How people use Facebook to maintain friendships revealed

Washington, Jan 05: A researcher investigating how individuals use Facebook to maintain their friendships has found that Facebook posts are generally linked to feeling closer to the friend and more satisfied with the friendship.

WIU Department of Communication Assistant Professor Bree McEwan was interested in finding out how one friend’s maintenance behaviors on Facebook might affect how his or her friend felt about the relationship.

“In order to do this, I collected data from friend dyads and used a statistical technique called the ‘actor partner interdependence model,’ or APIM. An APIM analysis allows researchers to determine the unique effects that both an individual and his or her friend have on the relational outcomes,” she explained.

“Through the analysis, I found that behaviors an individual uses to show he or she cares about his or her friend, specifically behaviors uniquely directed to the friend, are related to positive relational outcomes, such as increased closeness or satisfaction with the friendship,” the researcher said.

McEwan said for example, using Facebook to post on a friend’s wall or to share condolences or congratulations are linked to feeling closer to the friend and more satisfied with the friendship; however, sometimes people just post broadcast-style status updates as a way to maintain specific relationships.

These types of messages are correlated with negative relational outcomes. In addition, the less an individual posts mass status updates to Facebook, the more that person dislikes it when their friends do so.

According to McEwan, the study supports the idea that using Facebook doesn’t necessarily promote relational development nor is it detrimental to friendships.

The study was published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. (ANI)