Online Behaviors, Impression Management, and Friendship Performance on Social Media

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Online Behaviors, Impression Management, and Friendship Performance on Social Media

Shih Chin Chueh

University of Southern California Language Academy

December 2012

With the rapid development of technology, the Internet has become an effective mechanism for social networking. People can not deny the fact that a successful social networking is more possible to lead a successful life. A personal impression serves as an important role in establishing new networks and managing old ones. It was proved that people have more opportunities presenting themselves in the computer-coordinated communication settings than face-to-face environments. Therefore, regardless of generations, the ways how people interact with one another have been greatly changed by online social sites. The purpose of this study is to understand how people utilize online social sites to manage their personal impression and how they behave on social media; also, people utilize social media in order to gratify their social needs such as their friendship maintenance. The thesis of this paper is that social media influences personal behaviors as well as their impression management and it also has positive impacts on people friendships performance. Personal Behavior on Social Media

Individual behaviors may be restrained because of their awareness that their behaviors might possibly be seen by other people, and the fact that people tempt to look more appealing in any social occasions is obvious (Jeong, 2011). Since social media is served as a platform which is opened to public, people tend to pay more attention to how they appear and behave online. An experiment from Denton (2012) indicates that participants within heterogeneous networks such as Facebook have more desire to shift their impressions to others. A heterogeneous network is a network which is established for people without same interests, religions or common interests; in other words, people are able to speak or act freely on those websites. This experiment explains further that people manage or even shift their image based on others views and attitudes. According to Cummings (2012), the setting of profiles provides an opportunity for ones’ social life; people put effort into presenting a better image which aims at influencing others within the network. Jeong (2012) also declares that the process in which individuals attempt to control their impression with others is called “impression management”. Impression management can be used interchangeably with the term “self-presentation”, and its goal is to elevate people’s public image by performing behaviors based on how others evaluate them. Jeong also states that impression management usually occurs together with social desirability. Social desirability is defined as an individual’s tendency to describe themselves and behave in a manner in which they believe they will be viewed favorably in a situation. Moreover, Jeong also points out three main characteristics of self-presentation in online media platforms. They are asynchronous, malleable and selective. Asynchronous means that people can edit and update self-presentational cues deliberately over time. Malleable means people can simply manipulate those cues. Denton (2012) explains further by stating that people behave differently in different situations or interact with different people with whom they have specific relationships. For example, a lazy and incompetent employee may spend his evening as a passionate and assiduous worker volunteer or he behaves as a hard-working worker only under supervision; in this case, employers might misunderstand that he is truly a diligent worker. Thirdly, selective means people can improve their impression by choosing specific cues. Jeong explains this term by giving an example that individuals are more likely to donate or show their supports for charity campaigns as long as they realize that their participation would be...
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