Extending social penetration theory to Facebook


  • Natalie Pennington University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Facebook, Friendship, Lapsed Ties, Self-Disclosure, Social Penetration Theory


With the multimodal nature of relationships today it is important to assess the extension of core interpersonal theories within online contexts. This research considers Social Penetration Theory’s (SPT) applicability in a digital age through the use of self-reported survey and content analyzed data on friendships maintained through Facebook (N = 103). The results suggest communication through Facebook, as illustrated on the Friendship Page, can be used to identify relationship stages consistent with SPT. Also discussed are the maintenance of lapsed ties as contradictory to SPT’s depenetration process. Implications of results both in terms of theory and practice are discussed. 


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