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Understanding Chinese Student Social Networking: Interpersonal Communication at Renren.com
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

With the development of technology, the Chinese Internet enters into a socialization phase- Web 2.0 ages. In this phase, the Internet realizes socialization and individuation, and makes the individuals become the main role in the Internet. Now, Social Networking Service (SNS) is a new Internet service mode in Web 2.0 times, and it bridges the virtual network and real individuals, and also becomes a new popular vehicle to interpersonal communication. Social media is extending the communication scope of human beings and SNS connects people in different places together and it realizes the real interpersonal communication in the Internet to some degree. People can establish certain relationship with others in social network platform.


In China, SNS sites are divided into many types and focus on different social groups. Among them, the development of student SNS is most fast. Now, numerous Chinese students use student SNS to communicate with others, and this thesis aims to explore the characteristics of the interpersonal communication at student SNS site. The thesis takes Renren.com as the study objective to explore. The study is mainly based on quantitative method and the primary data is collected by online questionnaire. Based on the data and the perspective of Peng (2001), I conclude five characteristics of the interpersonal communication in this SNS. They are, (1) the trust is establishing, (2) the development of communication scope is not evident, (3) the role of the communication objectives is relative single, (4) the weak instrumentality, (5) the high frequency of interaction.


Besides analyzing the characteristics of the interpersonal communication in this site, I also discuss the general impact of student SNS on the interpersonal communication among Chinese students. In addition, I also come up with my personal view about the student SNS. Specifically, the traditional online community only shortens the information distance among individuals, but the effect on shortening the mental distance is less. The student SNS transforms the communication among individuals to a real and sincere condition, and it not only shortens the information distance among individuals, but also shortens the mind gap among individuals. Second, in student SNS, because individuals use real names, and most of the followers are acquaintances, individuals can get more self-consciousness through true feedback. Third, student SNS may be a new platform of public sphere and it enables the users to go there and back between the personal space and public sphere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Internet, Chinese Website, SNS
National Category
Media Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-231582OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-231582DiVA: diva2:744971
Subject / course
Digital Media
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
2014-06-03, A331, Uppsala, 14:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-09-09 Created: 2014-09-09 Last updated: 2014-09-09Bibliographically approved

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