This study investigates whether and how impression management concerns shape ways people seek social support on social network sites (SNS). The data from a laboratory experiment (N = 176) show that the importance of impression management goals change depending on the publicity of the message, and that the amount of effort in message composition increases as the severity of the problem increases. This relationship becomes greater when people use a public as opposed to a private SNS channel to communicate a stressful situation. The more effort people put into message composition, the more likely they are to produce a sophisticated support-seeking message that serves an additional goal of impression management. This study contributes to understanding supportive communication occurring on social network sites.
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