Anne Walker

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Tyler

Second Advisor

Dr. Wenqian Dai

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Granaas


Facebook, Symbolic Interactionism, Relational Maintenance, Closeness, Social Networking Sites, Interpersonal Relationships, College Students

Subject Categories

Communication | Social Media


This study examined whether Facebook and online relational communication have changed perceptions of closeness. Symbolic interactionism provided the theoretical foundation for analyzing responses to a qualitative survey of 42 students. Closeness was defined as the perceived satisfaction in relationships, and demonstrated by relational maintenance behaviors and self-disclosure expressions. The study found that closeness was composed of three categories: physical closeness, communicative closeness, and topical closeness. While students did perceive face-to-face and Facebook closeness differently, the relationship between the two communication contexts is complex and still being negotiated by students. This research indicates that while college students do use Facebook to maintain closeness, they still largely prefer face-to-face interactions.

Included in

Social Media Commons



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