In Impression Management 2.0, The Relationship of Self-Esteem, Extraversion, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Presentation Within Social Networking Sites, authors Kramer and Winter investigated “the relationship between self-reported (offline) personality traits and (online) self-presentation in social networking profiles. (p. 106). Overall, they conclude that “people who feel competent in presenting themselves will take the opportunity to do so in social networks.” (p. 114).
To get to this conclusion, Kramer and Winter had three research questions: 1) “Is the form of self-presentation in a Web 2.0 platform related to the personality aspect of extraversion?” (p. 107), 2) “Does the form of self-presentation differ between users with high and low self-esteem?” (p. 107), and 3) “Is self-efficacy of self-presentation in social situations related to the specific form of online self-presentation?” (p. 108). To assess these questions, they sent users of StudiVZ, a German social media site, a survey on personality traits, extraversion, self-esteem, efficacy of self-presentation, and then analyzed the content of their user profiles, including “number of virtual friends in the personal contact list, number of groups, number of photos, number of completed fields, and number of words… whether the user reveals his or her (potentially) real name, whether the user reveals his or her political orientation, and whether the user reveals his or her relationship status.” (p. 108 – 109). They interpreted their data to indicate 1) “a positive relationship between extraversion and a more “experimental” profile picture,” (p. 113), 2) that self-esteem is “not related to the specific use of StudiVZ and the style of the profile,” (p. 113), and 3) “self-efficacy influences the level of profile detail, the extent of the contact list, and the style of the profile picture” in that those with higher expectations of being able to create a positive impression via the site had more friends, more complete profiles, and less serious profile photos and posts. (p. 113).
It would be interesting to add onto this research by examining conscious reasons for why people structure their profiles the way that they do. This study investigated attitudes from a more implicit standpoint in that it did not ask participants to state their views of or explanations for the content on their sites. Are people aware of the connection between extraversion or self-efficacy and content, or is this connection unconscious?