Title

Reconnect on Facebook: The Role of Information Seeking Behavior and Individual- and Relationship-Level Factors

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2016

Abstract

Social network sites (SNSs) such as Facebook function as both venues for reconnecting with associates from a user's past and sources of social information about them. Yet, little is known about what factors influence the initial decision to reconnect with a past associate. This oversight is significant given that SNSs and other platforms provide an abundance of social information that may be utilized for reaching such decisions. The present study investigated the links among relational reconnection, information seeking (IS) behavior, and individual- and relationship-level factors in user decisions to reconnect on Facebook. A national survey of 244 Facebook users reported on their most recent experience of receiving a friend request from someone with whom they had been out of contact for an extended period. Results indicated that uncertainty about the potential reconnection partner and forecast about the reconnection's potential reward level significantly predicted IS behavior (passive on both target and mutual friends' SNS pages as well as active). However, the emergence of their two-way interaction revealed that the forecasts moderated the IS-uncertainty link on three of the strategies (extractive, both passive approaches). Moreover, social anxiety, sociability, uncertainty about the partner, the forecast about the reconnection's reward level, and extractive and passive (target SNS pages) strategies significantly predicted user decisions to reconnect. Future directions for research on relational reconnection on SNSs are offered.

Document Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1089/cyber.2015.0630

Publication Information

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

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