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Mirror, Mirror on My Facebook Wall: Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self-Esteem

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Mirror, Mirror on My Facebook Wall: Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self-Esteem
CYBERPSYCHOLOGY, BEHAVIOR, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING Volume 14, Number 1-2, 2011 ª Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2009.0411

Mirror, Mirror on my Facebook Wall: Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self-Esteem
Amy L. Gonzales, M.A., and Jeffrey T. Hancock, Ph.D.

Abstract

Contrasting hypotheses were posed to test the effect of Facebook exposure on self-esteem. Objective SelfAwareness (OSA) from social psychology and the Hyperpersonal Model from computer-mediated communication were used to argue that Facebook would either diminish or enhance self-esteem respectively. The results revealed that, in contrast to previous work on OSA, becoming self-aware by viewing one’s own Facebook profile enhances self-esteem rather than diminishes it. Participants that updated their profiles and viewed their own profiles during the experiment also reported greater self-esteem, which lends additional support to the Hyperpersonal Model. These findings suggest that selective self-presentation in digital media, which leads to intensified relationship formation, also influences impressions of the self.

Introduction

O

ver a decade ago, Internet use was thought to promote negative psychosocial well-being, including depression and loneliness.1 Having attracted attention in and out of the research community, these findings prompted researchers to take a more nuanced look at the relationship between Internet use and psychosocial health,2,3 at times finding evidence that Internet use could be beneficial.3,4 The present study extends this research by examining the effects of the social-networking site Facebook (http://facebook.com), which represents a popular new form of Internet communication, on self-esteem. Previous work has addressed the role of Facebook and the ability to socialize, and the role that socializing online plays in supporting self-esteem and various forms of social capital.5,6 For example, one recent study found that Facebook can enhance ‘‘social self-esteem,’’



References: 1. Kraut R, Patterson M, Lundmark V, et al. Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being? American Psychologist 1998; 53: 1017–31. FACEBOOK EFFECTS ON SELF-ESTEEM ` 2. Bessiere K, Kiesler S, Kraut R, et al. Effects of Internet use and social resources on changes in depression. Information, Communication & Society 2008; 11:47–70. 3. McKenna KYA, Bargh JA. Plan 9 from cyberspace: The implications of the Internet for personality and social psychology. Personality & Social Psychology Review 2000; 4:57–75. 4. Shaw LH, Gant LM. In defense of the Internet: The relationship between Internet communication and depression, loneliness, self-esteem, and perceived social support. CyberPsychology & Behavior 2002; 5:157–71. 5. Valkenburg PM, Peter J, Schouten AP. Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents’ well-being and social self-esteem. CyberPsychology & Behavior 2006; 9: 484–590. 6. Ellison NB, Steinfield C, Lampe C. The benefits of Facebook ‘‘friends’’: Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 2007; 12: 1. jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ ellison.html (Accessed Jan. 27, 2009). 7. Heine SJ, Takemoto T, Moskalenko S, et al. Mirrors in the head: Cultural variation in objective self-awareness. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 2008; 34:879–87. 8. Walther JB. Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research 1996; 23:3–43. 9. Duval S, Wicklund RA. (1972) A theory of objective self awareness. New York: Academic Press. 10. Moskalenko S, Heine SJ. Watching your troubles away: Television viewing as a stimulus for a subjective self-awareness. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 2003; 29:76–85. 11. Duval S, Duval VH, Neely, R. Self-focus, felt responsibility, and helping behavior. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 1979; 37:1769–78. 12. Beaman AL, Klentz B, Diener E, et al. Self-awareness and transgression in children: Two field studies. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 1979; 37:1835–46. 13. Fejfar MC, Hoyle RH. Effect of private self-awareness on negative affect and self-referent attribution: A quantitative review. Personality & Social Psychology Review 2000; 4:132–42. 14. Storms MD. Videotape and the attribution process: Reversing actors’ and observers’ points of view. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 1973; 27:165–75. 15. Ickes WJ, Wicklund RA, Ferris CB. Objective self-awareness and self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1973; 9:202–19. 83 16. Duval T, Duval V, Mulilis J. Effects of self-focus, discrepancy between self and standard, and outcome expectancy favorability on the tendency to match self to standard and withdraw. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 1992; 62:340–8. 17. Hancock JT, Dunham PJ. Impression formation in computermediated communication. Communication Research 2001; 28:325–47. 18. Epley N, Kruger J. When what you type isn’t what they read: The perseverance of stereotypes and expectancies over e-mail. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2005; 41:414–22. 19. Duthler KW. The politeness of requests made via email and voicemail: Support for the hyperpersonal model. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 2006; 11. jcmc.indiana .edu/vol11/issue2/duthler.html (accessed Jan. 13, 2009). 20. Walther JB. Selective self-presentation in computer-mediated communication: Hyperpersonal dimensions of technology, language, and cognition. Computers in Human Behavior 2007; 23:2538–57. 21. Ellison N, Heino R, Gibbs J. Managing impressions online: Self-presentation processes in the online dating environment. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 2006; 11. //jcmc.indiana.edu/vol11/issue2/ellison.html (Accessed Sept. 12, 2007). 22. Toma CL, Hancock JT, Ellison NB. Separating fact from fiction: An examination of deceptive self-presentation in online dating profiles. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 2008; 4:1023–36. 23. Gonzales AL, Hancock JT. Identity shift in computermediated environments. Media Psychology 2008; 11:167–85. 24. Rosenberg M. (1965) Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 25. Josephs RA, Markus HR, Tafarodi RW. Gender and selfesteem. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology 1992; 63:391–402. Address correspondence to: Amy L. Gonzales 327 Kennedy Hall Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14850 E-mail: alg49@cornell.edu

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