Natalie Pennington

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
Expertise: Online Relationships, Communication Technology, Grief, Social Support, Interpersonal Communication


Natalie Pennington is an expert in interpersonal communication within the context of communication technology. An assistant professor of communication studies, she examines how private topics become public on social networking platforms and the resulting impact on relationships. Her research looks at how users of social media build and maintain relationships, the potential benefits and harms associated with technology use, and social support and grieving online. 

Pennington’s work has been published in several academic publications, including New Media & Society, Social Media + Society, Computers in Human Behavior, and the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.


  • Ph.D., University of Kansas, Communication Studies
  • M.A., Kansas State University, Communication Studies
  • B.S., Missouri State University, Communication Studies

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Natalie Pennington In The News

Las Vegas Review Journal
November 17, 2019
Today is National Unfriend Day.
November 17, 2019
There's a holiday for practically everything -- even pruning your collection of friends on social media. Sunday is National Unfriend Day, which was started in 2010 by late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel. Shrinking your social circle has a number of benefits, according to Natalie Pennington, a communications professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whose dissertation, cited in a university release, focuses on the effects of unfriending and unfollowing through social media.
KLAS-TV: 8 News Now
November 16, 2019
The holiday encourages users of Facebook and other social networking platforms to examine how close or superficial their online relationships are, and unfriend those who ignore a status update pleading for volunteers to help move.
November 15, 2019
Former Las Vegas resident and comedian Jimmy Kimmel has created a holiday to help you end superficial relationships online. National Unfriend Day is Nov. 17 and a UNLV professor agrees with Kimmel.

Articles Featuring Natalie Pennington

computer screen showing Facebook friend requests
ResearchNovember 4, 2019
UNLV communication studies professor and social media researcher Natalie Pennington unveils the biggest online dealbreakers, cling makers, and tips for culling your contact list.
cell phone with social apps
PeopleMarch 4, 2019
To unfriend, to unfollow, or to keep in touch? Communication studies professor Natalie Pennington helps answer questions about the human connection to social media.