Self-Disclosure on Social Media: The Role of Perceived Network Responsiveness – Computers in Human Behavior – article

Self-Disclosure on Social Media: The Role of Perceived Network Responsiveness

Rebecca M. Walsh, Amanda L. Forest, Edward Orehek | Computers in Human Behavior

2019-10-12

Social media sites allow users to instantaneously self-disclose to their entire social network. This creates an opportunity to engage in self-expression that is farther-reaching than ever before, but also a new challenge: managing the risk inherent in self-disclosing to a large and diverse set of people. What guides decisions about how openly to self-disclose in such contexts? Building on theoretical and empirical evidence linking perceived partner responsiveness to open self-disclosure in face-to-face dyadic interactions, we hypothesized that perceptions of a Facebook network’s responsiveness would shape people’s self-disclosure on Facebook. We also examined whether observers can infer people’s perceived network responsiveness from thin-slices of self-disclosure. Across two studies, people who perceived their Facebook network as more (vs. less) responsive self-disclosed more openly on Facebook. Furthermore, observers could infer participants’ perceived network responsiveness with some accuracy on the basis of disclosure openness. Implications for the self-disclosure and person perception literatures are discussed.

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