How Strong are our Weak Ties? Examining the Usefulness of Facebook Friendship in Youths' Life from the Social Penetration Theory

Saurabh Maheshwari, Tuheena Mukherjee

Abstract


Studies show the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook friendship, however, few compare Facebook friends with real-life friends. The present study follows the social penetration theory in exploring the differences in the formation of Facebook and face-to-face friendships and their patterns of support access. An offline survey was done on 253 undergraduate students. Results show that formations of these two are very different in terms of demographics, like- gender, socio-economic status, and siblings. Further, it is found that Facebook friends are counted at the time of emergency and financial need but not considered useful when it comes to emotional support. The present work suggests that though Facebook friendship has few traits of friendship, it not an extension of friendship. From the formation to the outcome there are differences in both kinds of friendship, however, it seems that Facebook friends are able to serve some purpose of friendship.


Keywords


Facebook Friendship; Friendship; Social Support; Facebook; Social Penetration theory

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References


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