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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Manago, Adriana

Second Advisor

Hyman, Ira E.

Third Advisor

Purgason, Lucy Lewis


Emerging adults are coming of age in social worlds permeated by social media. Communication with others on social media can provide access to bridging social capital, defined as social resources embedded in relationships with acquaintances which promote access to new information. Grooming ties through self-expression and masspersonal communication in networked publics is important for acquiring bridging social capital, behaviors complicated by context collapse. When engaging in masspersonal communication, social media users must balance their desire to express themselves with their desire to maintain positive impressions to multiple audiences. Recent research suggests an important strategy for navigating context collapse is the use of privacy controls. However, using privacy controls could inhibit relational maintenance with acquaintances who offer novel information. The current study investigates how college students are adapting to masspersonal communication on Facebook by examining their bridging social capital, privacy control behaviors, values for self-expression, and network diversity. Confirming previous research, bridging social capital was associated with frequency of Facebook use and relationship maintenance behaviors, however, it was not associated with privacy control behaviors or network diversity. Value for self-expression, relationship maintenance behaviors, Facebook use, and network size each uniquely predicted bridging social capital. Further, strength of self-expression endorsements differed across masspersonal communication topics. Qualitative analysis of college students’ reasoning about the appropriateness of various masspersonal communication topics provides insights into the values and priorities young people are bringing into their social constructions of online norms in response to new tensions created by context collapse. Implications of findings are discussed.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

College students--Social networks--Psychological aspects; Social media--Psychological aspects; Expression (Philosophy); Privacy




masters theses




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