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'Friending': London-based undergraduates' experience of Facebook

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Facebook offers the possibility of increased social contact via a process known as 'friending', whereby users create personal profiles and accumulate 'friends' on a reciprocal basis. The making and maintaining of friendships has been shown to be particularly important to young adults, but there is a strong debate in the literature on computer-mediated communication about the value of the often weak ties that are created. Relatively little is known about the kind of contact that is made on Facebook in the UK context. This study interviewed 16 second- and third-year undergraduates who all joined Facebook soon after it was launched in UK universities in October 2005. This article explores the extent to which the nature of the Facebook site fosters particular kinds of social interaction, and how students seek to manage their Facebook 'friendships'. It finds that Facebook promotes mainly weak, low-commitment ties.

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