The problem of conflicting social spheres occurs when communications are simultaneously visible to multiple audiences within a social network, as commonly occurs on social network sites (SNS). In this environment users may suffer from social anxiety as they worry that communications seen as negative by certain audiences may be shared with those same groups. This issue rests on four assumptions: (1) that a social network encompasses a variety of social spheres, (2) that users believe they are being watched by these spheres, (3) that the social spheres differ in the norms, standards and expectations they hold about an individual and (4) that users largely do not employ measures to separate communications to different spheres. The present research aims to provide evidence for these assumptions. Self-discrepancy theory (SDT)  is used as a lens to view social norms, and as a novel way of understanding social spheres. Moreover, the research investigates any link between the magnitude of ought self-discrepancies and the social anxiety felt between relational dyads. An online survey with 313 participants offers strong support for these assumptions and provides evidence of a significant association between the magnitude of negative oughtother discrepancies and anxiety within dyads. This evidence strengthens the argument that SNS can cause anxiety and tension in social relations.
Marder, B., Joinson, A., & Shankar, A. (2012). Every post you make, every pic you take, I'll be watching you: Behind social spheres on facebook. In 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS), 2012 (pp. 859-868). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.2012.12