Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Jessica Troilo

Committee Co-Chair

Suzanne Hartman

Committee Member

Amy Root


Social media, notably Facebook, has become ubiquitous in American life. There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that a primary use of this technology is the maintenance of relationships with friends and family. The extent to which relationships can be maintained, and the type of relationships that can be maintained, in America, by using social media is an unresolved question. Using the reciprocity expectations inherent in Social Exchange Theory, the behavior of young adults was examined. Students were asked to rate their Facebook usage across the five maintenance strategies of positivity, openness, assurances, social networks, and shared tasks with both close and casual friends who lived both on and off campus. This study was conducted via an internet survey and consisted of 232 graduate and undergraduate level students. Four relationship types were identified; on-campus/close, on-campus/casual, off-campus/close, off-campus casual. The survey results suggested (1) That all of these strategies were being used on Facebook to maintain casual relationships both on and off-campus; (2) Only shared tasks and openness were used to maintain close relationships off-campus, while openness was used with close friends who lived off campus. These findings suggest that while Facebook plays a major role in college student's lives, their use of relationship maintenance strategies on it differ by relationship type.