Investigating Facebook Friendships through Five Similarity Dimensions

VĂTĂMĂNESCU Elena–Mădălina


The unprecedented evolution of social media has led to the exploitation of the new technologies with the purpose of encouraging closer social relationships at the individual and group levels. One of the most prolific cooperation forms was objectified through the online social networks, a catalytic form of interaction that allows individuals to stay constantly connected and to exploit the complex nature of the communication devices and services. Starting from this point, the paper discusses the main forms of similarity which stand for the basis of interaction and communication among the members of Facebook social networks. The proposed approaches to similarity address the mechanisms which encourage the formation and the development of strong online social networks: the similarity as a condition, the similarity as a context, the similarity as a catalyzer, the similarity as a consequence and the similarity as a connection. The configuration of these dimensions in the context of the online social networks was tested by analyzing the case of Facebook online social networks. Each of the five dimensions was marked out from the perspective of a sociological interview-based inquiry conducted with fourteen students from a communication college. With a view to better illustrate certain findings, an online social network analysis was performed. As the preliminary results showed, Facebook, as an online social network, is used by the respondents especially for social searching and bonding social capital rather than social browsing which concerns the initiation of new contacts with unknown individuals in the direct interaction. In fact, the most important function of these communities is to allow members to discover other sources of similarity and to potentiate the similarity discovered in the offline environment through consistent communication and interaction.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n22p252

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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