2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

To Unfriend or Not to Unfriend: Exploring Students' Reasons Behind Maintaining and Unfriending Facbook Friends


Megan J. Dux
Dr. Paul Shapiro, Faculty Mentor

The social network site, Facebook, has dramatically changed the way people communicate with one another. The site allows individuals to maintain a minimal form of communication with people from their current and past relationships. Little research has explored why Facebook users maintain online ties with individuals whom they no longer communicate with offline, and have no desire to do so. This study explores college-aged students’ reasons behind maintaining and terminating relationships on Facebook. Specifically, it seeks to find whether individuals feel sentimentality by keeping certain online relationships, and if the “unfollow” feature prevents them from unfriending. Data was collected by an online survey sent to Truman State University students in Kirksville, Mo (total N=601). The null hypotheses of this study were rejected, suggesting that the “unfollow” feature does impact students' unfriending behavior, and that students do feel sentimentality by maintaining certain online relationships. 

Keywords: Facebook Friends , Unfriending , Unfollow, Sentimentality , Online Communication , Social Network Site, Survey , Maintaining online relationships

Topic(s):Sociology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 211-2
Location: VH 1236
Time: 9:45

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