Information Acquisition

Do things you see on Facebook impact the way you interact with or think about other people? How so?

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Respondent 2

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J: So how does that influence though – you’re talking about how people get impressions of each other, so if you’re looking at another person’s profile and say they like Basketball or something, and say you really like Basketball too, would you ever go like hey we should get together and play Basketball or something, without ever having talked about it in person before?

I:Yeah, like, status and stuff like that, I read people’s status sometimes, I have this thing about knowing how they’re doing.  I’ll write on their wall and say that I’m really feeling their status, like I can connect with it. And people do that to me too – send me messages about my status and stuff, sympathize and relate.

J:Do you ever find something out and then not act on it?  Like some people might look up and see if someone’s single, but you wouldn’t want to actually ask them in person, that would be creepy. Is there anything like that going on?

I:Well I have this speculation with a couple of my friends, if a guy doesn’t have his relationship status on there, if he doesn’t say single and doesn’t say ‘in a relationship’ we always make the assumption that he’s in a relationship and he’s cheating on his girl friend.

J: So say that again for me, I know the recording got it but I want to hear it again.

I:Yeah if he doesn’t have relationship status on his page period, like he took it off, he doesn’t have single, married, engaged, and all that crap, yeah if he doesn’t have anything yet then that means he has a girl friend and he’s cheating on them.


I:Because he’s not saying in a relationship.

J:Have you confirmed this in person?

I:Yeah with my friends.


J: So when you’re looking at somebody else’s profile, where does your attention go?

I:Umb, to their religious view, that’s the first thing I looked at when I met my suitemate on Facebook, and she’s agnostic, she saw my page and said something like you must be rich because [garbled, sounds like “standin’ on ikea”], and I said no I’m just blessed, and she was like yeah I saw that on your Facebook page, we’re gonna have to talk about that. And I was like okay yeah I’m ready for you.

J: So what came out of that?

I:Well we talked and since I’ve been there and she knows not to try to put her religious views on me, because she doesn’t have any really, and I don’t try to put mine on her because that’s how war starts.  She’s open to listening, like she asks questions, I don’t know, I just…

J: So it was a random assignment then?

I:Yeah, she’s not my roommate.

Respondent 3

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J: Alright, so you were talking about browsing activity on profiles and such.  So when you look at another person’s profile, you might notice something about them, like say seeing that they like soccer, and then you might invite them to play soccer sometime.  How often do things you learn about people online, possibly without them knowing, end up coming up in person?

I:I think definitely.  I would just even mention some things in conversations, mention it [Facebook] in conversation and you can relate to that person more.

J:Is there ever a time you notice something that you might not talk about, like say you didn’t like their type of music or something?

I:Yeah maybe sometimes.  This one guy he’s my, uh, coach, and he wrote like stuff on his Facebook, about sexual stuff, and I was kinda really creeped out, and I don’t think I’ve talked to him that much since.

J: So it tipped you off, is he a coach for sports?



J: How then does Facebook come up in everyday conversation?  Say tomato lettuce night, the soccer thing, how else does Facebook come up in conversation?

I:First of all it’s about creating networks, as soon as you meet a person you ask, do you have Facebook?  It also brings up in conversations, like oh I saw on Facebook. For example I went to Jamaica, people were like oh how was Jamaica, it looked like a lot of fun.  I didn’t even have to tell people how I spent my Spring break, cause it was all out there already, so people would just talk about it first and that kind of thing.

Respondent 4

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J: This idea of Facebook confirming something or becoming official once it’s on Facebook does that, are they more than just relationships that it happens with? Would it be all relationships? Like say if a couple high schoolers were engaged or married, like how does that?

I:oh no, there are plenty of fake relationships on Facebook, so um I don’t know, sometimes its kinda hard to tell  cuz it used to be like just be made up if you’re in a relationship with someone, and less and less is it confirming, I guess you need to know people, I guess in like real life, and then match it up with your Facebook, but you can just assume that it says on Facebook then its true because it changes that much, often, I think its just so easy.

J:eh so but are there any other statuses that might be confirmed on Facebook?

I:uh, I’ve seen  a couple people’s sexual orientations be ya know like that’s the way they announce it to their friends or



J: Okay, say for instance you might see on Facebook that I like soccer and you like soccer and the way we met in person you don’t know that each of us loves soccer, but through Facebook you might have found that out. Does stuff on Facebook ever influence how you act with another person.

I:I guess so I can’t think of many I cant think of any concrete examples but I’m sure that it has, just learning things about people like oh they support this cause I mean really caring, er I don’t know just like...

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Respondent 6

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J: Okay, cool.  So you already mentioned this.  You might check out on a person’s profile to see if they’re single, right.  It might be a little easier than asking them in person, or if you were to it would send all of these connotations.  How often do you think you pick up information online on Facebook that informs behavior in your everyday face-to-face life?

I:I would think it’s not very common.  Maybe it’s more common than I think.  No I don’t really check Facebook enough, or consciously look at it.  If I just meet someone, it won’t be my gut reaction to look them up on Facebook or look on their Facbeook page.  But if they friend me friend me I might go look and see what kind of person they are.  I usually won’t friend people first, I usually don’t initiate.

J:Have you ever seen something there that makes you more drawn to a person or more adverse?

I:Yeah maybe, like, if I see their religious status is atheist, I might be able to connect to that and be like “oh, cool” I know that maybe doesn’t make sense. 

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Respondent 7

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J: Okay.  Sometimes you might be looking at a friend’s profile and notice something – like say they like soccer, and then later you might run into them later and you might invite them to play soccer, but you only invited them to it because you learned it online, but you don’t mention you learned it on Facebook.  Is that sort of thing a common thing on Facebook?

I:It’s a little bit common.  Like most of the time my friends and people I’m kind of new and getting to know, I start talking to them on Facebook—if I keep seeing them here and there and one of us adds the other, then it’s not a big deal.

J:What if it was someone you liked romantically – you might look them up to see if they’re single, but you’d never want to ask them in person, does that happen?

I:Yeah, stuff like that, I would just keep that to myself, I would just make that a mental note.  Now I would know how to approach them.  So it’s kind of like, I know what they’re whole status, now I don’t have to ask them, now I know how to approach them, rather than if Facebook didn’t exist I’d be too scared to ask them, I’d be kinda shy.

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Respondent 8

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J: Okay, so going back to the impression management thing, what you want people to see and everything.  So say you meet someone in Spanish class, say you want to study together and you go look at their Facebook profile and see they like something you do, would that ever influence how you’d act towards that person?

I:Umb, I think it could help create a friendship or something, but usually my intent is only if I’m going to do something like that I only talk to them and ask if they want to study Spanish or something, I don’t really look at all of the about-me type stuff.  Every now and then I’ll be like “Hey you like a movie that I like.” But I don’t really do anything about it.

J:Do you ever look up people who you might like to see if they’re single?  Would that influence how you might act?

I:I guess that might kind of affect it.  If you know someone is in a relationship you kind of back off and stuff, it’s what you do, it’s the right thing, but umb, I mean according to interests not so much, but I guess something like that it might affect the way I act around them.

J:Do you ever avoid talking about things based on what you learn? Like say religious or political issues?

I:I might actually avoid talking about religion or politics in general.  I don’t think I’d necessarily avoid something consciously, but subconsciously I might think in the back of my mind like “they don’t like Grey’s Anatomy, we just won’t talk about Grey’s Anatomy” but if it comes up in a conversation, like if one of my other friends brings it up, I’m not going to shy away from a subject just because they don’t like it, or whatever.

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Respondent 9

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J: How does what you learn inform the face-to-face world?  Like say you see on someone’s profile that they really like soccer and then later you could invite them to soccer but only because you knew that.  Do you think that sort of thing is common?

I:I don’t know… I don’t really read people’s activities or interests very often, but let’s say someone else likes soccer, I probably wouldn’t invite them, because I don’t know them.

J:Any time that it goes the other way, like say you see someone’s religious or political opinions are different than yours, would you ever avoid confrontation?

I:Maybe… once in a while… but I don’t know… I don’t really go around on Facebook enough for that.