70 — The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications • Vol. 1, No. 2 • Fall 2010
The Effect of Personality Styles (Level of Introversion- Extroversion) on Social Media Use Erin Ryan Harbaugh* Strategic Communications & Psychology : Double Major Elon University
This research paper details a study of social network users personality style and their consequent social media use on the popular social networking site (SNS), Facebook. The self-reported level of extroversion amongst other personality traits served as the central delineation of personality style. The amount of social media usage was determined based on basic behaviors and motivations for using the site (e.g., time spent, purpose, etc.). The objective of this study was to determine if and how a relationship existed between Facebook use and personality type in that one personality type would use Facebook more often and for different reasons than the other, unrepresented personality type. The results indicated that heavy Facebook users, who spend more than two hours daily on the site, are seen by themselves and others as more outgoing and extroverted.
The conceptualization of the Internet has been undeniable, affecting the way millions of people today communicate, interact and gather information.1 People use the Internet to “send e-mail, check news, research, play games, download music or movies, keep in touch with family and friends, seek similar others, buy products, and engage in numerous other activities.”2 Additionally, the Internet is used to conduct business, keep in touch with family and friends, seek emotional support, and search for romantic partners.3 The Internet we know today has come about not in the form of a replacement for the real world, but rather as a part of it in our present society, and this is just the beginning. The ability of the Internet to touch almost every aspect of our life is likely to increase over the next few years.4 This gives the Internet a great influence over the ability it has to shape our lives, now and for generations to come. * Keywords: Social Networking Sites, Social Media Use, Personality style: introversion/ extroversion, Behaviors/ motivations for Social Networking Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com 1 Tel Amiel and Stephanie Lee Sargent, “Individual Differences in Internet Usage Motives,” Computers in Human Behavior 20 (2004): 712. 2 Vikanda Pornsakulvanich and Paul M. Haridakis, “The Influence of Dispositions and Internet-use Motivation on Online Communication Satisfaction and Relationship Closeness,” (Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NCA 93rd Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, January 24, 2010), 2. 3 Ibid. 4 Hamburger, “Internet and Personality,” 2.
Personality Styles Effect on Social Media Use by Erin Harbaugh — 71 With the advent of a new form of communication comes both positive and negative feedback. The Internet has been said to have created a new, different approach towards interpersonal interaction improving individuals’ lives, while it has also been said to have eroded psychological well-being (by increasing loneliness and depression), weaken real-world ties and reduce any sense of community involvement.5 No matter how important the advantages or disadvantages of this new form of communication, it is still a fact that 80 percent of U.S. adults go online, whether at home, work or elsewhere.6 There are different types of Internet use, including non-interpersonal communication use (e.g., entertainment) and interpersonal communication use (e.g., email and social media use). Of those Internet users, the average user spends 13 hours per week online.7 Of these 13 hours, the average user around the world spent more than five and a half hours on social networks in December 2009, up 200 percent from the same month in 2008.8 Social networks are defined as “web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public...
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