Social networkings on the Internet, the Facebook phenomenon, benefits of friendship, and relationship maintenance have been researched throughout this study. The literature highlights how the Net-generation, born from 1990-2002, uses Facebook to maintain their friendships. This research shows they use Facebook more to maintain and strengthen past and current friendships and less to meet new people. By defining Generation Y, it is evident recent studies on Facebook use and relationship maintenance has only examined the latter half of this group. Current literature provides a wealth of information on those born from 1990-2002; it does not provide studies on the earlier half ...view middle of the document...
People have multiple modes of communication to choose from including: telephones, E-mail, instant messaging, text messaging, and social media websites.
Social media has experienced its own evolution over the past two decades. In 1997, early social media began with the launch of Sixdegrees.com (Bennett, 2011). Friendster began in 2002 with membership declining in 2008 due to the introduction of Myspace in 2003 and Facebook in 2004 (Bennett, 2011). 2003 was also the birth of the professional social site LinkedIn(Bennett, 2011). Twitter was introduced to the world in 2006 and Google launched its own site, Google Plus in 2011 (Bennett, 2011). This is big business. The number one most visited website in 2011 is Facebook (Smith, 2011). With Facebook showing no signs of slowing down, there is a tremendous amount of documented research on the site. One area includes the way college students use the site to maintain relationships.
College students are part of the 70 million tech-savvy people making up Generation Y (Kane, 2011). With Generation Y’s deep interest in technology, it makes sense to study the way they use the most visited website on the Internet. College students are only part of Generation Y. At its widest definition, Generation Y includes those born from 1976-2002. There are so many other members of this tech-savvy generation, yet there is no documented research on the way the remaining members of Generation Y use Facebook to maintain relationships. This study aimed to bridge that research gap.
D. Scope and Delimitations of the Study
The idea for this study emerged from two directions. First, the researcher’s personal experience maintaining relationships through the use of technology, including personal, professional, and academic relationships, sparked the initial and vested interest in the topic. Upon deeper reflection, given Facebook’s continued growth and popularity, it became the apparent choice of study. Second, after reviewing current research in the field of relationship maintenance and Facebook use, the only relevant studies were conducted with college students as the subjects.
The principle in using a pilot study test allowed for replicating the measure of other researchers (Neuman, 2006). In this case, some questions were duplicated verbatim from Steinfield and Lampe (2009), Pennington (2009), and Bryant and Marmo (2009), while other questions in their studies were revised making them open ended and more appropriate for the surveyed participants. The studies conducted by Steinfield and Lampe (2009), Pennington (2009), and Bryant and Marmo (2009) all examined relationship maintenance and Facebook use by college students. The intended accomplishments of this study suggested duplicating and building on this previous research mainly focused on online survey members.
Review of Related Literature
Overview. This study is based on the theoretical foundations of Social Information Processing Theory (SIP)...