In normal every day life with face to face contact the physical characteristics and knowledge about social background form the identity of your contact. It’s stable and three dimensional. You know that person, it’s therefor very difficult for the other to claim another identity or create impressions inconsistent with how you know him or her. Online identity is a different topic. You can create ideal identities not necessarily overlapping your real identity. It’s a controlled setting in which you can create different identities from the person you really are. Moreover, from research it has been shown that people act differently in social networking environments when compared to those interacting in anonymous settings. Online self representation can vary according to the nature of the setting.
What is the relationship between offline personality and online self representation on facebook?
A recent study looked at the effects of narcissism and self esteem on online social activity and self promotion. The researchers included 50 male and 50 female facebook owners, they were randomly recruited at York university, their age ranged from 18 to 25 years. The facebook pages were rated and the participants took 4 questionnaires about demographic information, facebook activity, self esteem (the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale) and narcissism (the Narcissism Personality Inventory).
Five features of the Facebook page were coded for the extent to which they were self-promoting: (a) the About Me section, (b) the Main Photo, (c) the first 20 pictures on the View Photos of Me section, (d) the Notes section, and (e) the Status Updates section.
Self promotion was distinguished as any descriptive or visual informationthat appeared to attempt to persuade others about one’s own positive qualities. For instance posting ‘‘My Celebrity Look-alikes”. Use of picture enhancement etc.
They found a strong relationship between narcissism and lower self esteem with greater facebook activity as well as more promotional self content. Gender did not influence these relationships.
This is another study implying that narcissism can be detected in facebook, the previous study is also discussed on this blog: The Dangers of Facebook. Gender differences were found in another study but on risk taking attitudes. Men with profiles on social networking sites are higher in risk taking behavior and less worried about privacy issues compared to women.
In research looking at other personality factors, the Big Five was used amongst facebook users. As discussed in a previous post on this blog: personality factors are not as influential as expected on using Facebook. The Big Five is probably not a very good instrument to investigate personality traits and facebook use.
Mehdizadeh, S. (2010). Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13 (4), 357-364 DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2009.0257
An excellent medlib round at Highlight Health. This edition is all about how social media is being used to promote health information online.
Besides links to posts on blogs about twitter, facebook, and other social media in Health and Medicine the autor also proposes to tweet and share posts using the Twitter hashtags #medinfo and #medlibs.
If you like a particular post, share it with your friends and be sure to add both hashtags.
Does Facebook and other social networking services damage the profession of physicians or the public trust in this profession? So far no systematic research into this topic has been published. However several cases were presented in the media resulting in disciplinary measures. On social networking sites patients may learn information about their doctors that compromises the professional relationship. Threats to patient confidentiality is another danger of facebook and other social networking sites.
How to deal with this issue?
Well recently discovered the best solution to this problem. Don’t forbid the use of these sites or pose heavy restrictions on it’s use but instead educate medical students about the dangers. Teach them how to be professional on these sites, teach them professionalism. To my opinion the most mature way of dealing with it as well as an opportunity to use social networking sites to teach medical students one of the many competences: professionalism.
Medical educators can support students as they explore their developing sense of professionalism by designing courses or educational experiences that create communities of reflective practice on social networks such as Facebook. Such programmes could challenge
students to think critically about their online personae and the potential repercussions of online activity for themselves and for the profession.
Since data on facebook use by medical graduates are lacking a New Zealand group did a study with a cross sectional survey. They studied the extent of facebook use by junior doctors, the use of the privacy options and the nature of the material readily available to the public.
A total of 220 (65%) graduates had Facebook accounts; 138 (63%) of these had activated their privacy options, restricting their
information to ‘Friends’. Of the remaining 82 accounts that were more publicly available, 30 (37%) revealed users’ sexual orientation, 13 (16%) revealed their religious views, 35 (43%) indicated their relationship status, 38 (46%) showed photographs of the users drinking alcohol, eight (10%) showed images of the users intoxicated and 37 (45%) showed photographs of the users engaged in healthy behaviours.
So only a quarter of all graduates did not use the privacy options and the information revealed could bring the profession in disrepute, breech the professional boundary between doctor and patient. Teaching medical students professionalism with the use of social networking sites is an unique opportunity for their education as well as for the profession. What do you think?
MacDonald, J., Sohn, S., & Ellis, P. (2010). Privacy, professionalism and Facebook: a dilemma for young doctors Medical Education, 44 (8), 805-813 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03720.x
Brown, A. (2010). Social media: a new frontier in reflective practice Medical Education, 44 (8), 744-745 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03729.x
This study was really about the question whether facebook and myspace replaced face to face interaction. Apparently conflicting results were reported. This study used a survey to examine the use of facebook and myspace among 183 college students an it confirmed that the use of these social media acted as an extension instead of a replacement of face to face interaction. Nevertheless some users relied on facebook and mysoace as the most important form of social interaction more than on face to face interaction.
But what was more interesting were the results on how these college students used facebook and myspace. Most of all, the result that 40% reported having no friends on facebook and myspace that they have never met in person and those who did have friends on faceboook whom they never had met reported having an average of 7.2 such friends. Amazing. I’ve a lot of friends I’ve never met. College students that much different from adults?
A total of 8% (n¼14) of the respondents reported having frequently used Facebook and/ or MySpace to meet new people that they have never met before, while 75% (n¼132) reported frequently using it to keep in touch with people whom they already knew
More interesting results
- 52% used both facebook and myspace
- the students used facebook on average 1.2 times per day, spending on average 31.5 minutes each time they use it
- for myspace an average usage of 1.6 times per day, spending an avergae of 38.8 minutes for each use
These were either very well behaved college students or they were lying or the media are lying about youngsters waisting their precious time on the Internet. What do you think?
Carlyne L. Kujath, B.S. (2010). Facebook and MySpace: Complement or Substitute for Face-to-Face Interaction? CYBERPSYCHOLOGY, BEHAVIOR, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING : 10.1089/cyber.2009.0311
Today children are often described as follows
They live in social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and Second Life gathering friends; they text more than they talk on the phone; and they Twitter the night away often sleeping with their cell phones vibrating by their sides.
A recent study challenges the believes that children have multitasking skills and that these skills negatively affects the processing of information. This is about children doing their homework while twittering, texting, watching YouTube, using facebook and surfing the web. This explorative study examined whether differences exists in the academic performance of college student facebook users and nonusers.
Data were collected from 102 undergraduate and 117 graduate students from a Midwestern university in the United States. The majority were female students (60,3% and 39,7 male participants). The survey consisted of open and closed response in five sections: demographic information, academic information, computer and Internet use, facebook use and information about how facebook has impact on their own academic career. The survey took about 20 to 25 minutes to complete.
Facebook users scored lower on grade point average than non users and the Facebook users spent fewer hours studying (1-5 hours per week compared to 11-15 hours a week), the total amount of time spent on the Internet did not differ between groups. The highest category spent 1 to 2 hours per day on Internet (42,6% for both groups). Graduate students reported a higher grade point average than undergraduate students.
Nonusers spent more time with paid work than facebook users, facebook users are more involved with in extracurricular activities suggesting more social extraversion. Most facebook users claimed no negative influence of the use of facebook on their academic performance, some facebook users admitted having time management problems and using facebook as procrastination behavior.
The results of this study don’t proof that the use of facebook by a student jeopardizes his or hers academic career, merely that it’s presence can make it easier to engage in multiple activities while trying to study. I used to go out and play some soccer, modern students apparently go online with e.g. facebook.
Selection of just one university, results may not be generalizable to students at other institutions or with other demographics. The results are only correlations this shouldn’t be confused with causation.
The younger generation especially students use social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace a lot. The use of these sites also has their dangers and problems as mostly described in newspapers and magazines.
Newspapers and magazines related to higher education are replete with cases of college students who experienced negative repercussions from questionable activities that were made public online
Questionable activities such as racially insensitive remarks, alcohol and dug violations, illegally storming a football field. Repercussions such as expelled from class, called before the dean of students.
But how do we help students to find the balance between free speech and responsibility, how can we educate them about this, prevent the possible negative effect of social networking on their future career?
- Schools should take appropriate steps to educate students about these matters.
- Research is needed on professional students’ usage and attitudes toward online social networking sites.
- Monitoring and usage of these sites by institutions venture into legal grey areas
- Should material found on student social networking sites should be used in colleges admissions decisions and/or matters of a disciplinary nature?
What do you think?
Cain J (2008). Online social networking issues within academia and pharmacy education. American journal of pharmaceutical education, 72 (1) PMID: 18322572
A recent meta-analysis examined the relationship between various Internet uses and well being. The studies published until know is mostly about the discussion whether using Internet for communication with e-mail replaces other forms of communication such as using the phone, chat or face to face contact. Contact through e-mail, facebook, twitter and such replaces real life contact and this is believed to be a bad thing. It reduces the quality of contact, make it more unpersonalized with lack of feelings and commitment. The other hypothesis is that use of Internet with e-mail, facebook, and twitter facilitates the use of the phone, and face to face contact. This can increase well-being through social interaction. These two hypotheses are called the displacement and augmentation hypotheses for well being through the Internet.
Results from previous studies supported both hypotheses. Moreover, the relationship between Internet use and well-being is complicated. The relationships also depends on the type of Internet use and the conditions under which Internet is used. Do you use Internet for social, instrumental or leisure activities? You’ll probably use Internet different when depressed compared to it’s use when not depressed. Internet use and well being might also be influenced by gender and age.
The meta analysis was done on articles found with the key words: Internet, depression, loneliness, self-esteem, self-concept, life-satisfaction, and well-being. the authors also looked at the various confounding factors of the relationship between Internet use and well-being such as type of internet use, indicators of well-being, type of measures used to measure quality of Internet use, age and gender.
They used 40 studies involving 21258 participants. Statistical analysis suggested heterogeneity of the included studies. If any detrimental effect of Internet use on well-being was present it was very small. Moreover, non of the confounders or moderators could explain the variation in the relationship between Internet use and well-being. The heterogeneity indicates that caution is required when generalizing these results.
The authors do have valuable suggestions for future studies:
cross-sectional and longitudinal studies assessing the relationship between Internet use and psychological well-being at different life stages may reveal interesting differences in the consequences of Internet use
Until than, Internet use is part of life with advantages and disadvantages depending on several circumstances that probably have nothing to do with the Internet as such.
Huang, C. (2009). Internet Use and Psychological Well-being: A Meta-Analysis CyberPsychology & Behavior DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0217
The threats of the popular social network Facebook are:
- Identity theft
- Threats to personal safety such as stalking or threatening either online or in real life
- Social risks through participating in minority groups or stigmatized groups
How do people differ in self-disclosure and what kind or how much of information has a high risk for these treats?
In a recent study the researchers developed a tool to score the information disclosed on Facebook. This instrument can determine in Facebook profiles what personal information is disclosed and what is not. Next this scoring tool for personal information was used to explore means for examining identity threat.
For this they divided the personal information on Facebook in 3 categories: personal identity information (gender, birth day, birth year, email, and picture), sensitive personal information (email, employer, job position, status, mini-feed, regular wall, picture, photo albums, self-selected photos, tagged photos, message, poke, send a gift, and friends viewable) and potentially stigmatizing information (religious view, politival views, birth year, sexual orientation, photos, friends viewable, interests, activities, favorite music, favorite movies, favorite TV shows, favorite books, favorite quotes, about me).
They used a sample of 400 randomly selected, accessible, personal profiles from 8 Canadian Facebook networks.
Overall in all three categories those revealing their relationship status were also those to reveal more personal information.
Those seeking a relationship were at greatest risk of threat, and disclosed the greatest amount of highly sensitive and potentially stigmatizing information
For all three categories as age increases less personal information is disclosed. Older people are more cautious when disclosing personal information. Facebook users who disclosed information about age, gender, relationship status disclosed more information in all three disclosure categories than people who did not disclose this information. Moreover, those who were single also revealed more stigmatizing items. Gender had no influence on these findings. Although women usually disclose more personal information, this difference from men is not present online.
Results from analyzing these data in another complex way also found
that voluntarily providing personal information related to gender, and relationship status was related to greater disclosure of certain topics
Using facebook for finding a new relationship is probably accompanied by a high threat of identity theft and other social risks, so take care.
Nosko, A., Wood, E., & Molema, S. (2009). All about me: Disclosure in online social networking profiles: The case of FACEBOOK Computers in Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2009.11.012
Adolescents need to be a part of their social group. The need to be part of a group and the need for popularity are key elements in their lives. Facebook is a way for a lot of young adults to connect to a social network. Being visible within a social network is perceived to be an important aspect of popularity.
A part of building a social network is disclosing information, mostly self-disclosure. Disclosing information on such social network sites as facebook increases
the impression of trustworthiness and results in reciprocal personal disclosure on the part of the conversation partner. Using facebook fo social networking is not a sign of low self-esteem.
self-esteem may have an impact on the benefit people gain from using Facebook; those who have higher self-esteem have been shown to use Facebook more frequently in order to increase closeness in relationships
It is generally believed that disclosure of private information is mainly influenced by being able to control or wanting to control disclosure of information. Those low in control over their information are assumed to disclose often and much private details. Recent research however could not find a correlation between disclosure and information control on Facebook.
Contrary to expectations, information disclosure and information control were not significantly negatively correlated, and multiple regression analyzes revealed that while disclosure was significantly predicted by the need for popularity, levels of trust and self esteem predicted information control. Therefore, disclosure and control on Facebook are not as closely related as expected but rather are different processes that are affected by different aspects of personality.
It seems that people act different when interacting with facebook. The ways in which people act while interacting in Facebook is different from their acting with other means of communication.
What is it that results in higher disclosure in Facebook?
Probably the visibility of their social network together with qualities that improves popularity such as posting pictures, have discussions with friends and the sharing of personal interests result in higher disclosure. Popularity and disclosure are intensively linked in Facebook. Also identity on facebook is constructed by sharing information
identity is not an individual characteristic but a social product created not only by what you share, but also by what others share and say about you.
Limiting personal information in that sense also limits identity construction and this reduces popularity. Young adults high in self esteem predicted higher likelihood of controlling information. This interesting finding could be explained by the fact that those with higher self-esteem may have less need for the input of others into their self-construction. Those with higher self esteem are protected from many other difficulties of their age such as peer pressure and alcohol misuse because they are less concerned with identity co-construction.
Why is this important?
Concerns about the amount of information that young adults share on online network sites make this an important area of research. However, young adults may not see these issues from the same perspective as more mature adults. Attempts to help them protect their personal information may require a different approach than would be used if the target audience were composed of even slightly older adults.
Christofides, E., Muise, A., & Desmarais, S. (2009). Information Disclosure and Control on Facebook: Are They Two Sides of the Same Coin or Two Different Processes? CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2147483647-5 DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2008.0226
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