Getting acquainted through social network sites: Testing a model of online uncertainty reduction and social attraction

  • Antheunis M
  • Valkenburg P
  • Peter J
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Abstract

The first aim of this study was to examine which uncertainty reduction strategies members of social network sites used to gain information about a person who they had recently met online. The second aim was to investigate whether and how these uncertainty reduction strategies resulted in social attraction. Drawing on a survey of 704 members of a social network site, we found that respondents had used active, passive, and interactive strategies to reduce uncertainty about their new acquaintance. Interactive strategies were most effective in reducing uncertainty about the target person. Respondents' level of uncertainty about the acquaintance mediated the relationships between the use of interactive uncertainty strategies and perceived similarity on the one hand and social attraction on the other. Finally, respondents' perceived valence of the obtained information about the acquaintance moderated the relationship between the level of uncertainty and social attraction. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • CMC
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Similarity
  • Social attraction
  • Social network sites
  • Uncertainty reduction strategies
  • Uncertainty reduction theory

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