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Teenagers' use of uncertainty reduction strategies on social network sites in the offline network

Anissa All (UGent) and Cédric Courtois (UGent)
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Abstract
This paper presents the results of a study concerning the use of profile pages by adolescents to get to know more about friends and acquaintances known from offline life. Previous research has indicated that social network sites are used to gather information on new online contacts. However, several studies have demonstrated a substantial overlap between offline and online social networks. Hence, we question whether online profile connections are meaningful in gathering information on these 'offline' friends and acquaintances. First of all, the results indicate that the combination of passive uncertainty reduction (monitoring a target's profile) and interactive uncertainty reduction (communication through the target's profile) explains a considerable amount of variance in the level of uncertainty about both friends and acquaintances. More specifically, adolescents generally get to know much more about their acquaintances. Second, it shows that the results of online uncertainty reduction positively affect the degree of self-disclosure, which is imperative in building a solid friend relation. Furthermore, we find that uncertainty reduction strategies positively mediate the effect of social anxiety on the level of certainty about friends. This implies that socially anxious teenagers benefit from SNS in order to get the conditions right to build a more solid relation with their friends. Hence, we conclude that SNS play a substantial role in today's adolescents' everyday interpersonal communication.
Keywords
Social network sites, offline network, adolescents, friends, acquaintances

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MLA
All, Anissa, and Cédric Courtois. “Teenagers’ Use of Uncertainty Reduction Strategies on Social Network Sites in the Offline Network.” Etmaal Van De Communicatiewetenschap, Proceedings. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University, Department of Communication studies, 2012. Print.
APA
All, A., & Courtois, C. (2012). Teenagers’ use of uncertainty reduction strategies on social network sites in the offline network. Etmaal van de communicatiewetenschap, Proceedings. Presented at the Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University, Department of Communication studies.
Chicago author-date
All, Anissa, and Cédric Courtois. 2012. “Teenagers’ Use of Uncertainty Reduction Strategies on Social Network Sites in the Offline Network.” In Etmaal Van De Communicatiewetenschap, Proceedings. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University, Department of Communication studies.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
All, Anissa, and Cédric Courtois. 2012. “Teenagers’ Use of Uncertainty Reduction Strategies on Social Network Sites in the Offline Network.” In Etmaal Van De Communicatiewetenschap, Proceedings. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University, Department of Communication studies.
Vancouver
1.
All A, Courtois C. Teenagers’ use of uncertainty reduction strategies on social network sites in the offline network. Etmaal van de communicatiewetenschap, Proceedings. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University, Department of Communication studies; 2012.
IEEE
[1]
A. All and C. Courtois, “Teenagers’ use of uncertainty reduction strategies on social network sites in the offline network,” in Etmaal van de communicatiewetenschap, Proceedings, Leuven, Belgium, 2012.
@inproceedings{2072986,
  abstract     = {This paper presents the results of a study concerning the use of profile pages by adolescents to get to know more about friends and acquaintances known from offline life. Previous research has indicated that social network sites are used to gather information on new online contacts. However, several studies have demonstrated a substantial overlap between offline and online social networks. Hence, we question whether online profile connections are meaningful in gathering information on these 'offline' friends and acquaintances. First of all, the results indicate that the combination of passive uncertainty reduction (monitoring a target's profile) and interactive uncertainty reduction (communication through the target's profile) explains a considerable amount of variance in the level of uncertainty about both friends and acquaintances. More specifically, adolescents generally get to know much more about their acquaintances. Second, it shows that the results of online uncertainty reduction positively affect the degree of self-disclosure, which is imperative in building a solid friend relation. Furthermore, we find that uncertainty reduction strategies positively mediate the effect of social anxiety on the level of certainty about friends. This implies that socially anxious teenagers benefit from SNS in order to get the conditions right to build a more solid relation with their friends. Hence, we conclude that SNS play a substantial role in today's adolescents' everyday interpersonal communication.},
  author       = {All, Anissa and Courtois, Cédric},
  booktitle    = {Etmaal van de communicatiewetenschap, Proceedings},
  keywords     = {Social network sites,offline network,adolescents,friends,acquaintances},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Leuven, Belgium},
  pages        = {15},
  publisher    = {Ghent University, Department of Communication studies},
  title        = {Teenagers' use of uncertainty reduction strategies on social network sites in the offline network},
  year         = {2012},
}