Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2009


This study explored how college students utilize the social networking site Facebook to maintain relationships. Focus group data was analyzed to develop a list of 58 Facebook relational maintenance strategies. Canary, Stafford, Hause, and Wallace’s (1993) relational maintenance typology was used to organize Facebook relational maintenance strategies. A new category was created to represent a popular relational maintenance strategy on Facebook: surveillance. This study also examined how maintenance strategies vary in different Facebook relationships; close friends, casual friends, acquaintances, romantic partners, and outsiders (e.g. parents, bosses, teachers). Participants suggested Facebook is an adequate stand-alone tool to maintain casual or acquaintance relationships, yet cannot convey enough intimacy to maintain close relationships. Participants expected close friends and romantic partners to put forth extra effort to maintain relationships through additional communication media such as text messaging, phone calls, and face-to-face interaction.


Kentucky Communication Association

Publication Information

Kentucky Journal of Communication