How are We Really Getting to Know One Another? Effect of Viewing Facebook Profile Information on Initial Conversational Behaviors Between Strangers

Aditi Paul


Previous studies have conjectured the positive effects of social network websites (SNSs) on relationship initiation and the development of the acquaintanceship process. The present study provides empirical evidence to support these touted benefits of SNSs by examining the impact of viewing partners’ SNS profile information on initial interactions between strangers, specifically focusing on three conversational behaviors, viś-a-viś, question-asking, self-disclosures, and topics of conversation. 82 unacquainted individuals were paired to form 41 dyads that were randomly assigned to one of two conditions. In the first condition, 22 dyads viewed their conversational partners’ Facebook profiles before having a text-based online conversation with them, while in the other condition, 19 dyads had a conversation without viewing each others’ Facebook profiles. Results showed that viewing each others’ Facebook profiles led individuals to ask fewer questions but voluntarily share more intimate and personal information on a broader range of topics with each other during initial conversations compared to individuals who did not view each others’ Facebook profiles. Implications of these conversational behaviors on changing the dynamics of the acquaintanceship process and the overall trajectory of relationship development in the novel setting of SNSs are discussed.


social media; social network sites; Facebook; relationship initiation; acquaintanceship process.

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