Katharina Knop, Julian S. Öncü, Jana Penzel, Theresa S. Abele, Tobias Brunner, Peter Vorderer, Hartmut Wessler
Offline time is quality time: Comparing within-group self-disclosure in mobile messaging applications and face-to-face interactions

Computer in Human Behavior, 2016: 55, Heft B, S. 1076-1084
ISSN: 0747-5632

In contrast to the prominent individualistic view on self-disclosure, this study focuses on self-disclosure in groups of prior acquaintances that both meet offline and communicate online. It compares within-group self-disclosure between offline face-to-face (FtF) interactions and online communication via mobile messaging applications (MMAs). An online-survey (N = 357) was conducted to test for differences between within-group self-disclosure online and offline across four dimensions (amount, depth, breadth, valence). The results show that there is more amount, more breadth and more depth for offline within-group self-disclosure, but it is less positively valenced than online within-group self-disclosure. Interestingly, the mere frequency of communication is higher in an MMA environment. In spite of the permanent availability of the online communication sphere, group members do not permanently disclose personal information to each other online. Thus, for within-group self-disclosure, offline time seems quality time.