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Abstract

This essay examines the transition of the grieving process into the online realm of social network sites—specifically Facebook—through two prominent communication theories: social penetration theory and communication privacy management theory. The desire for both openness and human connection through the disclosure of personal information and the maintaining of privacy boundaries is made evident by analyzing this social phenomenon through these two theories. Disclosing grief on Facebook can be advantageous by developing relational closeness among mourners, but it can also create discomfort when acquaintances, or people with less intimate relationships with the discloser, view the personal feelings of loss. Additionally, disclosing such private information on Facebook calls into question matters of privacy ownership, boundary creation, and boundary turbulence. This social phenomenon broadens the scopes of these theories by transitioning them from simply traditional face-to-face communication to computer-mediated communication.

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