When more is more? The impact of breadth and depth of information disclosure on attributional confidence about and interpersonal attraction to a social network site profile owner



Social network sites (SNSs) provide users with ample opportunity to share information about themselves and to engage in social browsing to learn about others. This article reports results from two experiments (with participants from the U.S.) that investigate the impacts of breadth and depth of information disclosed in a profile on viewers’ attributional confidence about and interpersonal attraction to the profile owner. In the first experiment (n = 320), participants viewed a profile containing either low or high breadth of information. Analyses indicated that, higher breadth of information shared in the profile increased interpersonal attraction and that attributional confidence mediated this relationship. The second experiment (n = 537) tested the respective influences of breadth (low vs. high) and depth of disclosure (low vs. high) in a profile on perceivers’ attributional confidence and interpersonal attraction. Analyses indicated that, while increasing the breadth of information had a positive impact on interpersonal attraction to profile owners, increasing the depth of information reduced attraction. Additionally, there was a significant interaction between breadth and depth of information in predicting attributional confidence; increasing the depth of information shared in an SNS profile enhanced attributional confidence only when the breadth of information shared was low.

Social Network site profiles; impression formation; personal information; attributional confidence; self-disclosure breadth; self-disclosure depth

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