Social media and Self-esteem
In this day and age, social media has become an integral part of our lives. It has created a platform for people to share information instantly and communicate with people all around the world. Facebook is the most outstanding example of successful social media network. According to the first quarter 2015 earnings announcement by Facebook, the site has achieved 1.44 billion active users per month, and 65% of which are daily active users. Other social networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are also a powerful means of communication. With such a large audience, social networking sites provide ample opportunities to acquire ...view middle of the document...
Regardless of whether people are aware of this or not, the habit of using social media can influence their level of self-esteem.
In order to understand the effect that social media has on self-esteem, we need to understand the construct of self-esteem. According to Coopersmith’s definition, self-esteem is “the evaluation which the individual makes and customarily maintains with regard to himself: it expresses an attitude of approval and indicates the extent to which an individual believes himself to be capable, significant, successful and worthy. In short, self-esteem is a personal judgment of the worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes the individual holds towards himself.” (p. 4–5) To put it more simply, self-esteem is the attitude that people have toward their own values.
There are two possible ways that the use of social networking sites can affect a person’s self esteem. According to a study conducted by Amy L. Gonzales and Jeffrey T. Hancock, Facebook helps amplify students’ level of self-esteem. They explained in their study that when people post something on their profile, they have the opportunity to filter the negative information that they would not like to be exposed, and only publicize the information that they consider as positive. By doing this, people can build an ideal image of themselves online, which consequently increase the level of their self-esteem (Gonzales and Hancock, 2011). On the other hand, the study conducted by The University of Gothenburg in Sweden, which surveyed 335 men and 676 women, came to a different conclusion. The study found that there was a negative relationship between the use of Facebook and self-esteem. One possible explanation was that since social media has made it easier for people to get a glimpse of others’ personal lives, it is unavoidable that its users will compare themselves to their connections on the Internet. This comparison often draws people’s attention to their own limitations, thus lowers the confidence in themselves (Angie Zuo, 2014).
When I looked at these two studies, I was really puzzled by how social media can have such reverse influences on its users. One question that immediately crossed my mind was “Which factor determines how social networking sites affect a person’s level of self-esteem?” In this paper, I will focus on answering this central question. I will first present and analyze previous scholarly researches on the use of social media and self-esteem. From my own assessment combined with the conclusion of researches that I have studied, I will propose my hypothesis: the use of social networking sites helps boost the self-esteem of people who engage in self-focused activities, and lower the self-esteem of people who focus the attention on other people. I will demonstrate my method to test the hypothesis, which includes conducting a survey for people using social networking sites to collect necessary data, and running regression to find if there is any...