Boundaries to the articulation of possible selves through social networking sites: The case of Facebook profilers' social connectedness


This study aims to contribute to an emerging literature that seeks to understand how identity markers on social networking sites (SNSs) shape interpersonal impressions, and particularly the boundaries that SNSs present for articulating unconstrained ‘hoped-for possible selves.’ An experiment employing mock-up Facebook profiles was conducted, showing that appearing with friends on a Facebook profile picture as well as increasingly higher number of Facebook friends strengthened perceptions of a profiler’s hoped-for level of social connectedness. Excessive numbers of friends, however, weakened perceptions of a profiler’s real-level social connectedness, particularly among participants with smaller social networks on Facebook themselves. The discussion focuses on when people come to find that reasonable boundaries of self-generated information on an SNS have been exceeded.

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking