Ambient intimacy on Twitter

Ruoyun Lin, Ana Levordashka, Sonja Utz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


Ambient intimacy refers to a feeling of closeness toward certain others developed mainly by following their status updates on social media. Previous researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to develop ambient awareness, that is, knowledge of others, after browsing social media, but it is still unclear whether and to what extent Twitter users also experience ambient intimacy, i.e., emotional closeness to others stemming from merely following them on Twitter. This paper is the first to theoretically distinguish the concept of ambient intimacy from ambient awareness. The paper investigates the degree to which Twitter users experience ambient awareness and intimacy. Moreover, we also examine the role of interaction history and message characteristics in this process. The results showed that Twitter users had experienced ambient intimacy but to a lesser degree than ambient awareness; the majority felt close to only a limited number of people in their Twitter network. Visibility of tweets and one-sided interaction with the target person predicted ambient intimacy. In addition, users were more likely to experience ambient intimacy toward a person when his or her tweets were perceived as more intimate, entertaining, and informative.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalCyberpsychology : Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Ambient intimacy
  • Parasocial relationship
  • Perceived closeness
  • Self-disclosure
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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