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Facebook Effect on Relationships :

Facebook Effect on Relationships Denisha Forch, Cindy Camacho, Stefanie Hung, Janae Moss

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Communication with others has changed as technology has developed. In the past century, many ways of communication have developed. Now phones are not only used to call others, but they now allow different forms of communication such as text messages and emails. Computers have also changed the way people communicate. It is not only used to email, but now it is used to video chat and instant message. With the development of Facebook, communicating via technology has increased over the years. Facebook now offers many options people can use to communicate with others. Some of these outlets include instant messaging, emailing, wall-posts, and status updates Method Discussion Facebook ’ s Effect on Relationships Denisha Forch, Janae Moss, Cindy Camacho, Stefanie Hung Azusa Pacific University Face to Face Facebook Communication References Literature Review Results Looking at our research study, we were debating who we should distribute our survey links to. The choices were: other fellow Masters of Arts graduate students who are also in the Clinical Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy program, undergraduate students, or friends and family members. Sixteen respondents completed the online survey. All of the respondents answered each question within the survey. Fifteen of the respondents reported having a Facebook account and using Facebook at least three times per week. Our data proved to show an overall acceptance of Facebook as a communication tool. 81% of those surveyed reported that they believed Facebook is a good way of establishing communication with other people in their lives. Bonds-Raacke, J. and Raacke, J. MySpace and Facebook: Identifying Dimensions of Uses and Gratifications for Friend Networking Sites. (2010). Individual Differences Research, 8(1) : 27-33.

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Literature Review Communication with others has changed as technology has developed. In the past century, many ways of communication have developed. Now phones are not only used to call others, but they now allow different forms of communication such as text messages and emails. Computers have also changed the way people communicate. It is not only used to email, but now it is used to video chat and instant message. With the development of Facebook, communicating via technology has increased over the years. Facebook now offers many options people can use to communicate with others. Some of these outlets include instant messaging, emailing, wall-posts, and status updates. There has not been a lot of studies that directly relate to our current question: Does Facebook affect face-to-fact communication. In the research article conducted by Sheldon (2008), he looked at how gratification, one ’ s unwillingness to communicate and the different reasons people use Facebook, which are things that play an important aspect as to why people use Facebook. In his research, he found that large amounts of participants use Facebook to pass the time. However, it also showed that an even larger amount of participants used Facebook to pass time or for entertainment purposes. According to this study, Facebook does not affect face-to-face interaction which is a surprisingly result. But it proposes a good question, perhaps Facebook is used to help aid communication and really has no affect on face-to-face interaction.

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Literature Review Facebook has changed the way people communicate and it in fact opens new ways for people to stay in touch. This is what Bonds-Raacke and Raacke (2010) how networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace help people communicate. Networking sites allow people to keep in touch with old friends and feel connected with others. Not only that but it also allows an easier way to communicate to others about their life by allowing users to post and look at pictures, and to learn about social events (Bonds-Raacke & Raacke, 2010). Face-to-face communication has transferred to online communication via networking sites and has made is possible to help sustain relationships. Kujath (2011) concluded that Facebook serves as an extension of face to face interaction, but at the same time also decreases the frequency of face to face interaction. Facebook is needed to help stay connected with people. Facebook allows one to communicate with others such as old friends, family members and new acquaintances. Though it may replace face-to-face interaction with some users, it provides another outlet for communication (Kujath, 2011).

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Literature Review Relational closeness and communication frequency is also another aspect that needs to be taken into account in seeing why people use Facebook. In Ledbetter, Mazer, DeGroot, Meyer, Mao, and Swafford (2011) study, they looked at behavior in order to predict Facebook communication frequency and relational closeness. It seems as if the depth of self-disclosure affects the type of information people communicate on Facebook versus the type of self-disclosure one has face-to-face. Attitudes towards online self-disclosure and online social connection influence an individual ’ s attitude on the use of Facebook itself (Ledbetter et al., 2011). With Facebook, distance doesn ’ t matter. One can live on the other side of the world and still communicate with family and friends from people all over the world. Tillema, Dijst, Schwann (2010) looked at how physical distance between people can affect communication. This study showed that people still prefer having face to face time to communicate with loved ones as opposed to using technology because face-to-face communication is more personal. But distance still causes in issue in the type of communication that was used. Electronic ways of communicating , such as using email and social networking sites, increases when physical distance increases because they provide an easier way of staying in communication with loved ones (Tillema, Dijst, & Schwann, 2010).

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Literature Review Facebook started off in the college scene and since the majority of users are young adults it is good to see how college students view Facebook. A study conducted by Ellison (2007) looked at how often and for what reasons college students use Facebook. Ellison (2007) found that students use Facebook to communicate with those friends whom they had offline relationships with while new students use Facebook to make new friends. Nowadays more adults are signing up to be part of social networking craze. Facebook is no longer for tech-savvy 18-24 years olds (Kowitt, Hempel, & Beth, 2009). It seems that all ages use Facebook and that people are using it more frequently. People also seem to use Facebook frequently to update their status to inform others what is going on in their life and further helps increase communication between people by allowing people to find out day-to-day updates from friends through status updates (Kowitt, Hempel, & Beth, 2009). In another study, West, Lewis and Currie (2009) found that most young adults report that they use Facebook as a communication tool to connect with friends and peer colleagues with similar ages. Younger adults feel more comfortable being Facebook friends with similar age friends because it offers an easier and quicker way to communicate with friends (West, Lewis & Currie, 2009). Some people may prefer to use Facebook to communicate with others because of their personality type. Shy people may tend to use Facebook to communicate with others because it prevents the anxiety from face-to-face interaction. Facebook may be a “ saving grace ” for people who have low social skills or who aren ’ t comfortable “ confronting ’ others. Orr, Sisic, Ross, Simmering, Arseneault, and Orr (2009) found that shy people spent more time on Facebook; the higher one ’ s shyness the greater the amount one spends on Facebook. Shy individuals also seem to have a more favorable attitude in using and would rather use it as a form of communication than using face-to-face communication (Orr et al., 2009). People who are relational individuals care about staying in communication with loved ones. People tend to feel more connected with their friends because of Facebook usage as opposed to feeling disconnected because of it (Sheldon, Abad, & Hinsch, 2011). Facebook use and communication go hand in hand. Sheldon, Abad, and Hinsch (2011) state that Facebook allows one to feel connected with Facebook friends through the different types of communication tools that are readily available; private messaging, instant messenger, wall posts and status updates. Facebook allows for these type of individuals to stay in touch with those they are relationally close to.

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Literature Review One of the many perks about Facebook is that it allows multiple ways for people to keep in touch and to find out more information about family or friends. There are four primary functions with Facebook that help people find this: social browsing (newsfeed, all events page, all friends page, etc.), social searching (Facebook users ’ profile page – age, gender, education background, etc.), impression management, and communication (Alhabash, & Park, 2010). Social searching seems to be the primary reason why people use Facebook. Knowing the up to date information allows friends to communicate and connect more easily with friends. Communication through Facebook use is accessible since Facebook friend pages are simply one click away. One of the new applications Facebook has added in recent years has been Facebook chat. This application works just like instant messaging. Does this application make communication with others easier? Ramirez Jr. and Broneck (2009) looked at how and why people use instant messaging as a form of communication as opposed to face-to-face communication. Two factors were brought up which makes one think that perhaps age and gender affects the type of media communication one uses. Females are more likely to use instant messaging to maintain relationships than males and people who are older are less likely to use instant messaging as a form of communication (Ramirez Jr. & Broneck, 2009).

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Method Looking at our research study, we were debating who we should distribute our survey links to. The choices were: other fellow Masters of Arts graduate students who are also in the Clinical Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy program, undergraduate students who we feel may utilize Facebook more frequently than compared to these choices, or friends and family members who we think, in general, utilize Facebook. We decided to send our survey links to our friends and families who we think, in general, utilize Facebook. To avoid gathering data from non-Facebook users, our first question asks if participant has an account with Facebook and use Facebook at least 3 times a week. Each of our group members chose to send emails with the survey link, along with our Informed Consent and the approved number assigned by Azusa Pacific University ’ s Office of Institutional Research Assessment (OIRA), to 4-5 friends and family members. Participants were only able to have access to the survey for 17 days, thus, answers were collected during this time frame. These participants completed the surveys at their earliest convenience within the time period. 3 days before the closing of our link, some of us emailed friends and families again as a reminder to take the survey, if they have not done so. We opened an account on SurveyMonkey.com to perform this study. SurveyMonkey is a web-based survey service that allows researchers to create a list of questions for participants to answer. After the questions are created, a URL link was produced in accordance to our specific survey. We created a total of ten questions consisting of one Yes-No Question, one Open-ended Question (i.e., fill-in the blank question).some Multiple-Choice Questions (only one answer could be selected) and one Multiple-Choice Question (with more than one answer can be selected) of Likert-Type Scales questions (i.e., 1 being strongly agree and 5 being strongly disagree) were used to further influence the end results of our study.

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Method We used different Internet websites that assists us with further face-to-face discussion regarding our study. Our group members utilize Facebook ’ s private message application to discuss our study progress. This application works similar to emails. We used a Google Blog page that allowed our group members to: discuss about our topic and ideas, post literature reviews regarding Facebook, post the survey link, presentations of the survey data, and so on. Our group also used Tokbox.com, a website that offers live group video chats via online. After each of us opened an account with Tokbox, we were able to discuss and create a list of survey questions used for the survey. This research study was monitored by Dr. Scott Bledsoe, our Research Methodology eCourse professor. Our Informed Consent and this research topic are both approved by Azusa Pacific University ’ s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA). We contacted OIRA in case we decide to conduct our survey with APU students.

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Results Sixteen respondents completed the online survey. All of the respondents answered each question within the survey. Fifteen of the respondents reported having a Facebook account and using Facebook at least three times per week. The data received from this survey showed an overall acceptance of using Facebook as a communication tool, with 81.3% of respondents agreeing (sum of agree and strongly agree) that Facebook is a good way to communicate. The average response was 2.19 (SD = 0.66). Other forms of communication shared similar results. 81.3% of the respondents agreed that e-mail was a good way to communicate, and the remaining 18.8% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement. The average response was 2.19 (SD =0.4). Respondents reported an increase with 93.8% strongly agreeing that face-to-face interaction as a good way to communicate. The average response was 1.13 (SD = 0.5) (as seen in table 1). The data indicates a significant difference between respondents using Facebook to communicate about their own life versus using Facebook for the majority of communication needs. Respondents had an average score of 2.75 (SD = 1) for communicating about themselves on Facebook, compared to an average score of 3.5 (SD = .97) for communicating with others (as seen in table 1). In addition, although respondents suggested that Facebook is a good way to communicate, the data also shows that the majority do not use Facebook for the greater part of their communication needs with 43.8% (sum of disagree and strongly disagree) and 43.8% neither agreeing nor disagreeing (as seen in chart 1).

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Results In addition to looking at specific communication tools, the survey attempts to gain insight on the respondent ’ s beliefs about Facebook hindering face-to-face interaction. The data showed that respondents were split on this issue. Out of the sixteen respondents, 37.5% (sum of agree and strongly agree) felt that Facebook did interfere with face-to-face communication, 31.3% disagreed, and 31.3% neither agreed nor disagreed with the question (as seen in chart 2). Respondents were also asked about who they communicated with on Facebook. Unlike previous studies, respondents reported communicating with friends, family, classmates, and co-workers, but none reported communicating with strangers. As the focus was on communication, the data does not indicate possible reasons for this difference. The data further indicated that participants use a number of the communication tools set up through Facebook. When asked to describe what features most used, more than half of the respondents reported using wall posts and private messaging. Other common answers included communicating through or commenting on status updates and creating or attending events. One participant noted that messaging on Facebook can be at times more convenient and quicker than e-mail as he or she may be reminded of something while on the Facebook website. This may be one of the reasons that people choose Facebook when communicating with others versus other forms of communication. However, another respondent stated that he or she blocks everything on Facebook with the exception of messages and events. Thus, while communication is still occurring, it is much more limited than others. Overall, the data from the survey illustrates how Facebook is considered a positive and useful tool to communicate with friends and acquaintances versus other forms of communication. Yet, the data also showed that other forms of communication were rated similarly as effective or better. Thus, while there may be times where people choose Facebook over other forms of communication (such as e-mail or face-to-face interactions) in order to communicate with others this is not always true.

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Opinions of Facebook Communication

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Communication Needs

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Table

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Discussion Our data proved to show an overall acceptance of Facebook as a communication tool. 81% of those surveyed reported that they believed that Facebook is a good way of establishing communication with other people in their lives. We also asked participants how they felt about other forms of communication and 81.3% reported that they believed email was also a good form of communication. Contrary to out initial predictions, the survey of reported answers from our participants reported that 93.8% believed face-to-face interaction was a good way of communicating with others. We initially believed that Facebook would produce a higher percentage of participants agreeing that Facebook was a better communication method than other means of communication. It is also noticeable that respondents reported that they used Facebook as a means of communication to find out information about others in their life opposed to communicating with others about themselves. Although respondents suggested that Facebook was a good way of communication, majority of respondents, 87.6% reported that Facebook was not used for the greater part of their communication needs.

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Discussion Our results did not support our initial predictions. Our predictions were that people who used Facebook preferred to use Facebook over face-to-face communications. Our study showed that Facebook was more of a supplemental component to face-to-face interactions within the population group. Some research has studied Facebook in the context of being important in gratification in pre-existing relationships. In Sheldon ’ s (2008) research he reported that Facebook was important for gratification obtained by individuals. Our studies seem to show that individuals do get gratification from maintaining relationships with others, as shown in the responses to Facebook being important in maintaining communication with others, by reading other ’ s posts on Facebook. A large number of Sheldon ’ s (2008) participants used Facebook specifically to communicate with friends. Further research in the area of how Facebook enhances face-to-face communication is something that needs to be studied. There have been many studies done on the ways Facebook interferes in people ’ s lives, but there has not been a lot of information done on the effects and benefits of Facebook communication in developing relational benefits. The gathering of this information was important because research has shown that Facebook interactions do not take the place of Face-to-face interactions. D I S S C U S I O N

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References Bonds-Raacke, J. and Raacke, J. MySpace and Facebook: Identifying Dimensions of Uses and Gratifications for Friend Networking Sites. (2010). Individual Differences Research, 8(1) : 27-33. http://0-web.ebscohost.com.patris.apu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=9&sid=39471e04-a134-4dc9-8a5e-8a5b6af16689%40sessionmgr11&vid=4 Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook "friends:" Social capital and college students' use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication , 12 (4), article 1. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ellison.html Hempel, J. and Kowitt, B. (2009). How Facebook is Taking Over Our Lives. Fortune , 159(4) : 48-56. http://0-search.ebscohost.com.patris.apu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=36610434&site=ehost-live&sms_ss=google&at_xt=4d6d682dead9f34c%2C0 Kujath, C. L. (2010). Facebook and Myspace: Complement or Substitute for Interaction? CyberPsychology behavior and social networking, 14(1) : 75-78. Ledbtter, A., Mazer, J., DeGroot, J., Meyer, K., Mao, Y., and Swafford, B. (2011). Attitudes Toward Online Social Connection and Self-Disclosure as Predictors of Facebook Communication and Relational Closeness by Andrew Ledbetter, Joseph Mazer, Jocelyn DeGroot, Kevin Meyer, Yuping Mao, and Brian Swafford. Communication Research, 38: 27-53. doi:10.1177/0093650210365537. http://0-crx.sagepub.com.patris.apu.edu/content/38/1/27.full.pdf+html Orr, E.S., Sisic, M., Ross, C., Simmering, M.G., Arseneault, J.M., and Orr, R.R. (2009). The Influence of Shyness on the Use of Facebook in an Undergraduate Sample. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 12. http://0-web.ebscohost.com.patris.apu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?hid=17&sid=2837ca91-b492-4a0a-84c6-c1f3dd97b252%40sessionmgr14&vid=10 Ramirez Jr., A. and Broneck, K. (2009). ‘ IM me ’ : Instant messaging as relational maintenance and everyday communication. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26(2-3) : 291-314. http://0-spr.sagepub.com.patris.apu.edu/content/26/2-3/291.full.pdf+html

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References Sheldon, K.M., Abad, N., and Hinsch, C. (2011). A Two-Process View of Facebook Use and Relatedness Need-Satisfaction: Disconnection Drives Use, and Connection Rewards It. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology . Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0022407. http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2011-01596-001 Sheldon, P. (2008). The Relationship Between Unwillingness to Communicate and Students ’ Facebook Use. Media of Journal Psychology, 20(2): 67-75. retrieved from http://lsu.academia.edu/PavicaSheldon/Papers/150149/The_Relationship_between_Unwillingness_to_Communicate_and_Students_Facebook_Use Tillema, T., Dijst, M., and Schwanen, T. (2010). Face-to-face electronic communications in maintaining social networks: the influence of geographical and relational distance and of information content. New Media & Society, 12(6) : 965-983. http://nms.sagepub.com/content/12/6/965 West, A., Lewis, J., and Currie, P. (2009). Students ’ Facebook ‘ friends ’ : public and private spheres. Journal of Youth Studies, 12. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a915909606?words=youth&hash=2047002577 Wise, K., Alhabash, S., and Park, H. (2010). Emotional Responses During Social Information Seeking on Facebook. CyperPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking , 13. Advance online publication . doi: 10.1089.