10/07 – Impression Management 2.0 – Falyn Goldstein

In Nicole Kramer and Stephan Winter’s Impression Management 2.0, they assess three personality traits that have been shown to influence how people present themself online.

This research study begins by discussing how people can appear in the media and how they may broadcast themselves to the world. Social networking sites allow users to have control over their self-presentation and individuals have the power to choose what information others can gather about them. The goal of this specific study was to analyze the relationship between offline personality and online self-description. Specifically, what information do people seem to reveal in their profiles vs. the information they choose to share in a face-to-face setting? The three main personality traits that are focused on in this study are self-esteem, extraversion, and self-efficacy. From these traits, three main research questions were raised: is the form of self-esteem presentation in a Web 2.0 platform related to the personality aspect of extraversion? Does the form of self-presentation differ between users with high and low self-esteem? And, is self-efficacy of self-presentation in social situations related to the specific form of online self-presentation?

To carry out this study, a German website platform called StudiVZ was used which was created to be a student community. The main elements of a profile include a photo of the user, date of birth, hometown, favorite film/music, books, and any job/career. 150 randomly selected members of this site were invited to participate in a survey to assess the three main traits mentioned above. Only 58 out of these 150 responded and their responses were recorded. For the first research question, it was found that there was a positive relationship between extraversion and a more “experimental” profile picture. For the majority of other features, there were no significant results. For the second research question, it was found that self-esteem was not related to the specific use of StudiVZ and the profile style. For the third question, there were significant effects of self-efficacy on the number of friends one had on the site. As self-efficacy increased, so did the number of friends. 

Conclusively, this study had a very limited sample representing a small number of people from a certain demographic. Though there were some positive correlations, a larger, more diverse sample could reflect better results for the future. This study was very interesting and I am curious to see what other traits may be affected by one’s online social presence.

2 thoughts on “10/07 – Impression Management 2.0 – Falyn Goldstein

  1. Falyn, I also read this article for class. Your summary of the main points from the piece were really concise and effective. I agree with you that a larger, more diverse sample probably would garner more reliable data. Furthermore, the use of the questionnaire in this study was questionable to me. I think that a questionnaire in regards to people’s social media habits could result in skewed answers due to self-reporting biases, so future studies should possibly come up with a different avenue for gathering data. Overall, I agree with your critique of this study and I appreciated your well-written summary!

  2. Hi Falyn. Although I did not read I can see many similarities between this study and the episode of Black Mirror that I watched. In the episode the main character becomes obsessive with the way she is seen on social media because she wants to improve her social status. She acts out of character and posts things that she normally would not post, just to please her followers. This perfectly coincides with the point you make about individuals having an offline personality and and an online self-description. Excited to talk more in class!

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