Facebook and The Use of Uncertainty Reduction Theory

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About this sample


Words: 948 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Words: 948|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Uncertainty Reduction Theory (URT) suggests that uncertainty is a negative an unpleasant condition. This negativity motivates individuals, companies and organizations to gather information in an effort to reduce uncertainty (Berger 1975). Facebook is a social network phenomenon that has permeated all over the world. Facebook allows users to gather information. The concept of Facebook as intended by its creators embodies the URT. Because it encourages its users to reveal large amounts of personal information, this social media site is an excellent source of information that can be used to reduce uncertainty (Antheunis 2009). Organizations can employ the URT to Facebook to cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This practice can be supported by several public relations theories.

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The deployment of a strategy that uses URT and Facebook inherently adopts a form of two-way symmetrical public relations through the strategies for gathering information. URT suggests three basic ways to gather information; passive strategies, active strategies, and interactive strategies (Berger 1975). As people gather information in an effort to decrease uncertainty, the interactive strategies lead to direct communication. As James Grunig noted in his 2006 article, Furnishing the Edifice: Ongoing Research on Public Relations as a Strategic Management Function, “public relations adds to this value when it uses symmetrical communication to develop and cultivate relationships with strategic publics,” (Grunig 2006). URT and Facebook are the tools that public relations practitioners utilize when engaging in symmetrical communication. The results are the relationships that develop.

Technology advances at an alarming rate. Organizations that do not utilize multiple forms of media to communicate with their publics will fall behind. “The use of technology is important in organization-public relationships because organizations must rely on a variety of different communications media to maintain relationships effectively and efficiently,” (Hansen-Horn 2007 p52). Facebook is a social network on track to reach a billion users. Organizations that employ the URT has a vehicle manage relationships as well as to be represented in a form of new media.

The use of URT and Facebook would by definition be Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). “IMC companies continuously evaluate how they can make customers feel that they are openly initiating the communicative exchange, while at the same time receiving from them the information needed to build equity and presence in their brand,” (Malcom 2008). The information provided on Facebook is done so with the customer at its center. The message is tailored for the purpose of relationship management. Direct communication is one of the stages of information gathering in URT. The message provided by the organization as well as the direct communication make this exchange a IMC.

The use of URT in conjunction with Facebook implies a level of storytelling and branding. In Stephen Herskovitz’s The Essential Brand Persona: Storytelling and Branding he mentions, “storytelling is essential to successful branding, since your brand is the sum of all your corporate behaviors and communications that inform your customer’s experiences with your product or company,” (Herskovitz 2010). As people gather information in an effort to decrease uncertainty, the passive strategies lead to indirect communication in which they can self-monitor. This is the organizations opportunity to create the image they want portrayed. The story that is told on Facebook can add to the organizations branding efforts.

The exercise of a strategy that uses URT and Facebook supports the postmodern movement of public relations because it can be used with multiple theoretical approaches. As Derina Holtzhausen points out in Towards a Postmodern Research Agenda for Public Relations, “postmodernists revel in multiplicity and diversity,” (Holtzhausen 2002). Any communication strategy that allows Facebook users to gather information passively, actively, and interactively can be utilized in conjunction with URT. Many disciplines study social media as a means to management stakeholder relationships. The theories and practices of these disciplines can also be in conjunction with URT.

Facebook is a powerful social media tool. “Part of the process of gathering and using power depends on individuals ability to create a reputation and set of operating principles that are empowering to relevant parties,” (Hansen-Horn 2007 p4). Facebook is a tool for relationship management. The essence of Facebook is to make connections with others. By utilizing the URT organizations can leverage their current connections to reach other users. The power of Facebook is in its ability to create and management relationships. It has an added value of providing a quick means to communicate with a large amount of people, on the same scope as mass media. It is so powerful that now effects the way organizations communicate, especially during times of crisis.

Facebook is a vehicle of global communications. As Paul Elmer points out in his article, Unmanaging Public Relations: Reclaiming Complex Practice in Pursuit of Global Consent, [t]he costs of communicating have plummeted, while the ease and speed of transmitting information rocketed [and] have turned media consumers into media producers,” (Elmer 2007). Facebook has provided users a cheat and quick means of distributing information. This information can be accessed globally, and at anytime of day.

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The use of URT allows users to manage relationships through Facebook and can be supported by several public relations theories. Through the use of direct communication URT and Facebook promote a symmetrical form of communication. When creating a Facebook profile the user is adding to their brand by storytelling. Coupling the direct communication with the storytelling is the simplistic form of IMC. Facebook and IMC can be used with many cross discipline theories. This powerful tool of cyberspace has a far-reaching arm that allows users to reach a global audience. Combining the communications theory of URT and the social media site of Facebook can be an invaluable tool for public relations practitioners.

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Facebook and the Use of Uncertainty Reduction Theory. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from
“Facebook and the Use of Uncertainty Reduction Theory.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
Facebook and the Use of Uncertainty Reduction Theory. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Feb. 2024].
Facebook and the Use of Uncertainty Reduction Theory [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 03 [cited 2024 Feb 24]. Available from:
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