Princeton University Library Catalog

A Cross-Generational Study on the Interaction Between Social Networking Site Use and Offline Relationships

Stearns, Corey [Browse]
Senior thesis
Wimmer, Andreas [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Sociology [Browse]
Class year:
63 pages
Restrictions note:
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note:
Social networking sites are relatively new, but they have already permeated our social worlds to an unexpected degree. This study examines the relationship between social networking sites, focusing mainly on Facebook, and people’s real world relationships. The study uses a questionnaire to obtain data about the use of Facebook, the motivations behind certain Facebook activity, and participants’ close offline relationships. The sample consists of Princeton undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni. The results indicate that people who have a high number of online friends also report more close real world relationships. In addition, people may not use Facebook to replace offline relationships, but instead to enhance their image. These image maintenance behaviors vary by age, as the younger generations are more likely to be concerned with their online appearances. Also, high levels of Facebook use were associated with social anxiety. The dependent variables were the number of offline relationships a person reported, social anxiety, and methods of communication. The independent variables were Facebook activity, online friend count, age, gender, and extroversion, among other factors.