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Opting Into Information Flows: Partial Information Control on Facebook
Unformatted Document Text:  may prevent me from ending it. Thus social media falls somewhere in between the realm of total control from forms like iGoogle or RSS feeds, and the realm of absent control from forms like classic 1950’s television. It is unknown exactly how this partial control information environment functions - whether like total control environments in which selective exposure creates reinforcement, whether like absent control environments in which incidental exposure creates attitude change, or somewhere in between. Thus, this study seeks to determine the effects of exposure to infor- mation flows in partial control media environments. Research Questions and Hypotheses Who Uses Facebook to Obtain Information? A large part of the story when it comes to the effects of partial control information environments is simply having the opportunity to encounter the information in question in the first place. Thus, since the venue in which that information is encountered for the purposes of this study is Facebook, we would expect greater general exposure to Facebook to increase the likelihood of exposure to information within that arena, leading to my first hypothesis: H1: Greater time spent on Facebook will lead to greater levels of exposure to information on Facebook. Additionally, any factor that might increase the trust or value users put in the information they do encounter on Facebook is likely to increase their self-reports of using Facebook as an information source. Trust in people leads to trust in information, and trusted information is more likely to be relied upon than information considered to be untrustworthy. For this reason, we might expect users who are more engaged in their Facebook community, feel closer to their friend networks, and perceive those networks to agree with them (politically or ideologically) to rely on Facebook as a source of information more than those who feel Opting into Information Flows 8

Authors: Bode, Leticia.
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may prevent me from ending it.
Thus social media falls somewhere in between the realm of total control from forms like
iGoogle or RSS feeds, and the realm of absent control from forms like classic 1950’s television.
It is unknown exactly how this partial control information environment functions - whether
like total control environments in which selective exposure creates reinforcement, whether
like absent control environments in which incidental exposure creates attitude change, or
somewhere in between. Thus, this study seeks to determine the effects of exposure to infor-
mation flows in partial control media environments.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Who Uses Facebook to Obtain Information?
A large part of the story when it comes to the effects of partial control information
environments is simply having the opportunity to encounter the information in question
in the first place. Thus, since the venue in which that information is encountered for the
purposes of this study is Facebook, we would expect greater general exposure to Facebook
to increase the likelihood of exposure to information within that arena, leading to my first
hypothesis:
H1: Greater time spent on Facebook will lead to greater levels of exposure to information
on Facebook.
Additionally, any factor that might increase the trust or value users put in the information
they do encounter on Facebook is likely to increase their self-reports of using Facebook as an
information source. Trust in people leads to trust in information, and trusted information
is more likely to be relied upon than information considered to be untrustworthy. For this
reason, we might expect users who are more engaged in their Facebook community, feel
closer to their friend networks, and perceive those networks to agree with them (politically
or ideologically) to rely on Facebook as a source of information more than those who feel
Opting into Information Flows 8


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