In Impression Management 2.0: The Relationship of Self-Esteem, Extraversion, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Presentation Within Social Networking Sites, Nicole C. Kramer and Stephan Winter show how self-efficacy plays a significant role in the online impression management of one’s self.
Kramer and Winter argue that the motivations of online behavior is linked to how individuals want to present themselves. The authors were interested in looking at why individuals present themselves in the way they do on social media. To conduct their study on this topic, the authors analyzed users on StudiVZ. StudiVZ is a German social media platform with almost three million active users in which people can make personal profiles and join group lists. While they did not find a strong link between self presentation and self-esteem, it was found that self-effiacy was strongly related to online impression management (114). The definition of self-efficacy is an “optimistic belief about one’s own abilities and a feeling of competence and effectiveness with regard to completing a certain task,” (114). Therefore, those that feel confident in presenting themselves in-person will also do that in social media settings. Specifically, the authors noted that people with high levels of self-efficacy may present themselves in a more informal or elaborate way (114). Overall, users are aware of their communications on social media and how they present themselves, especially because they have more time to consciously control their behavior (in comparison to in-person communications).
The arguments presented by Kramer and Winter are interesting, but the results and methods are slightly flawed. The random sample of 150 StudiVZ users (with ultimately 58 users responding to the questionnaire) made the results of this study seem reliable, but a larger sample size would have been beneficial. It was surprising that the authors found little to no link between self-esteem and self presentation. Future research should focus more on self-esteem to see if the results remain true, especially in relation to popular apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. Furthermore, I think that the form of a questionnaire could be subjective and people could have reporting biases in relation to what types of pictures they post and how they perceive themselves. Overall, the topic is interesting and applicable as these platforms are so embedded into our social lives and behaviors, but the methods of the study could be modified.