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Due to their pervasiveness and unique affordances, social media play a distinct role in the development of modern romantic relationships. This study examines how a social networking site is used for information seeking about a potential or current romantic partner. In a survey, Facebook users (N= 517) were presented with Facebook behaviors categorized as passive (e.g., reading a partner’s profile), active (e.g., ‘‘friending’’ a common third party), or interactive (e.g., commenting on the partner’s wall) uncertainty reduction strategies. Participants reported how normative they perceived these behaviors to be during four possible stages of relationship development (before meeting face-to-face, after meeting face-to-face, casual dating, and exclusive dating). Results indicated that as relationships progress, perceived norms for these behaviors change. Sex differences were also observed, as women perceived passive and interactive strategies as more normative than men during certain relationship stages.


Originally published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Vol. 17, No. 11, 2014.