Getting Acquainted with Groups and Individuals: Information Seeking, Social Uncertainty and Social Network Sites
Keywords:Information seeking, social network site, Facebook, Impression formation, Entitativity, Uncertainty reduction, Uncertainty, Cues, Individuals, groups Target perspective, University, transition, impression formation, psychology
This study examined whether the relationship between information-seeking and social uncertainty differed when information was sought about a specific individual (e.g. a new housemate) or a group (e.g. a group of new housemates). An online experiment recruited 488 first-year undergraduates in the weeks immediately before starting a new university. Four information-seeking strategies (Ramirez, Walther, Burgoon & Sunnafrank, 2002) successfully modeled how students sought information about each other using Social Network Sites. Whereas an interactive strategy predicted lower social uncertainty about individuals than groups, a passive strategy predicted higher social uncertainty for indi- viduals and lower social uncertainty for groups. Findings are discussed in the context of impression formation, specif- ically Entitativity (Hamilton & Sherman, 1995).