Masters Thesis

Facebook and friendships: an investigation of online network initiation, accession, and friendship management

Facebook is the biggest social network site with 1.23 billion monthly users as of 2013. It has generated much attention from users because of its connection qualities, causing large online networks to emerge. These online networks, however, are different than offline networks. This is evident through the use of different interaction rules found on Facebook. One in particular is the use of communication channels, such as photos, applications, wall posts, gifts, and games that one uses to talk to different types of friends. The level of closeness one shares with individuals on his/her network may vary; thus, there are particular Facebook functions deemed appropriate for certain individual, such as close friends and acquaintances. There are unique characteristics that encompass online networks, and this study examines the process of network formation, growth, and management, specifically with Facebook. A qualitative approach was used due to the nature of “friendship” and because quantitative analysis has become prevalent among many studies. This study seeks to obtain the experiences from 20 freshman and sophomore college students at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) in relation to their online networks and their motives for creating and expanding these networks. In addition, once these networks grow immensely, this study will examine the different communication channels one uses to manage his/her network and the exceptions to these rules that occur with dormant relationships.

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