10/7 “Impression Management 2.0: The Relationship of Self-Esteem, Extraversion, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Presentation Within Social Networking Sites” – Deirdre Kelshaw

In “Impression Management 2.0: The Relationship of Self-Esteem, Extraversion, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Presentation Within Social Networking Sites,” Stephan Winter and Nicole C. Kramer explore self-presentation on websites, arguing that self-efficacy with regard to impression management is strongly related to the number of virtual friends, the level of profile detail and the style of the personal photos that individuals present on their social media accounts. 

To prove this, Winter and Kramer sent out a survey to 58 users of StudiVZ.net (the most popular German Web 2.0 site). Their goal was to study the relationship between (offline) personality and the patterns of (online) self-description. In their survey, they explore what kind of information people reveal about themselves online, the relationship between personality traits and the ways in which people present themselves, which user groups people join and how many friends they have online.

Based on their study, the results show a positive relationship between extraversion and a more “experimental” profile picture (a black and white photo or a photo with altered colors). They also found that self-esteem is not related to the use of StudiVZ and the style of the profile. Lastly, they determined that self-efficacy influences the level of profile detail, the extent of the contact list, and the style of the profile picture a user posts online.

Overall, this research was very interesting and, honestly, quite relatable. As described in the paper, “one of the most important motives for hosting homepages is impression management and self-expression.” Users of social media have much greater control over how they present themselves compared to when they are in face-to-face situations with others. In creating a personal social media profile, we get the chance to present ourselves how we want others to perceive us, even if it may not be completely true. In doing this, users can be picky about which aspects of their lives they share and which photos present the best visual of themselves. To some, social media is very strategic. I find it funny reading this article today, as just last night I was changing my profile bio to present a new version of myself to those viewing my account. In doing this, my motivation was to convey a likeable version of myself. I even changed my profile picture to a black and white image. I don’t know if I would define myself as a complete extrovert, but I definitely changed it in order to present a fun version of myself. 

Overall, I think this data yields really interesting and believable results. A lot of the time, I believe people are motivated to use social media in order to present themselves in their own desired way. You can create a perception of yourself before others have the chance to perceive you on their own. In this way, I think an interesting question is, what are the most popular types of information people choose to exclude from their profiles? Do people decide against sharing certain things online based on their own choosing, or based on how their friends may react? Does the social media platform itself provide the user with enjoyment, or does the enjoyment come from the positive perceptions others have of us online? It seems that most enjoy the positive affirmations they receive online from others, but at what cost?

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