Existing sociological research and literature concerning the role social networking sites (SNS) play in relationships focuses primarily on Facebook and committed relationships. My study aims to address gaps left by past research by extending the target SNSs to include Instagram and Snapchat, and by examining a wider variety of relationship stages (from “hook ups” to romantic relationships). In doing so, my goal is to gain a better understanding of the ways in which college students use SNS to define and maintain their intimate relationships. To collect data for this study, I conducted 13 in depth-interviews with Hamilton College students. Eight of these interviews were with couples in committed, romantic relationships (done separately, not together), and the other five with individuals who indicated that they participate in the hookup culture. These interviews concentrated on the ways these students use SNSs in their relationships with past or present intimate partners. Broadly, this study seeks to contribute to our understanding of how social networking sites change and/or expand how college students interact with each other that were not available prior to the existence of these online platforms.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Stephen Ellingson


Access to this thesis is limited to Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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