Broadcasting for help: A typology of support-seeking strategies on Facebook

Emily M. Buehler, Jenny L. Crowley, Ashley M. Peterson, Andrew C. High

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Social network sites are desirable media through which to seek supportive communication, and users can signal a need for assistance to large, diverse pools of potential support providers with a single message. According to social information processing theory, support seekers adapt to the lack of nonverbal cues online by leveraging the verbal elements of messages. This study classifies the variety of verbal strategies that Facebook users employ to seek support to better understand how people publicly initiate supportive exchanges online. A community sample of participants (N = 291) completed an online questionnaire in which they provided their most recent Facebook post that was intended to garner supportive communication. A thematic analysis revealed seven themes that describe the verbal strategies of support-seeking that social network site users enacted to request support. Implications for initiating supportive exchanges and revealing personal information online are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2566-2588
Number of pages23
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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