The Digital Quest for Love – The Role of Relationship Status in Self-Presentation on Social Networking Sites

Vol.5,No.2(2011)

Abstract
Social networking sites (SNS) offer various opportunities for communicating personal information, thus providing an ideal setting for getting in contact with other users. This study investigated whether a person’s relationship status presented on his/her online profile is related to virtual self-presentation on the German Web 2.0 site StudiVZ. Considering the social psychological concept of the “need to belong” (Baumeister & Leary, 1995), we assumed that users who are searching for a relationship make use of certain self-presentational strategies, for example by creating a more detailed profile and placing high priority on the display of a large network of social bonds. An analysis of 100 online profiles showed that singles disclosed more photographs of themselves on their profiles than people in relationships. The highest numbers of friends and wall postings were shown by people who did not reveal their relationship status. Singles displayed more groups on their profile and were more likely to join user groups dealing with parties, sexual statements as well as fun and nonsense. Results therefore indicate that – although SNS are not especially dedicated to dating behavior – self-presentation is nevertheless affected by the potential to form romantic relationships. Therefore, relationship status is suggested as a further factor which affects online impression management, besides, for example, socio-demographic aspects, personality traits and culture.

Keywords:
social networking sites; self-presentation; impression management; need to belong
Author biographies

Stephan Winter

Author photoStephan Winter is a researcher in the department of social psychology – media and communication at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. In 2007, he received his Masters degree in Applied Communication and Media Science. Currently, he writes his PhD thesis which focuses on processes of information selection and reception on online news sites. Besides this, he has worked as a journalist for German newspapers and radio stations. His research interests include computer-mediated communication, Web 2.0 and online journalism.

Nina Haferkamp

Author photoNina Haferkamp holds an endowed junior professorship for Emerging Communications & Media at Dresden University of Technology, Germany. She received her Diplom (eqv. to M.Sc.) in Media Science (specialization: media psychology) in 2006 from the University of Cologne, Germany, and finished her Ph.D in Psychology in 2009 at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. From 2008 to 2011, she worked as Research Assistant at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Münster and completed a post-doc project at the Department of Media & Communications at the LSE London. Her research work explores social psychological aspects of Social Media. She has published several papers on the usage and effects of social networking sites, blogs as well as social games.

Yvonne Stock

Author photoYvonne Stock received her Bachelor degree in Applied Communication and Media Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen and is currently studying Media Management (M.A.) at the Institute of Journalism and Communication Research (IJK) in Hannover, Germany. Her research interests are Social Media and Nonprofit Organizations.

Nicole C. Krämer

Author photoNicole Krämer is Professor for "Social Psychology - Media and Communication" at the University Duisburg-Essen since 2007. She finished her PhD in Psychology at the University of Cologne in 2001. In the academic year 2003/2004 she was visiting scholar and visiting lecturer at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. In 2006 she received the venia legendi for psychology with a habilitation thesis on "Social effects of embodied conversational agents" at the University of Cologne. Her research interests include human-computer-interaction, social psychological aspects of Web 2.0, nonverbal behaviour and computer supported instructional communication.
References

Banczyk, B., Krämer, N. C., & Senokozlieva, M. (2008). “the wurst” meets “fatless” in MySpace. The relationship between personality, nationality and self-presentation in an online community. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Montreal, Canada.

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497-529. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.117.3.497

boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 210-230. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x

Buffardi, L., & Campbell, K. (2008). Narcissism and Social Networking Web Sites. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1303-1314. doi:10.1177/0146167208320061

Cialdini, R. B., Borden, R. J., Thorne, A., Walker, M. R., Freeman, S., & Sloan, L. R. (1976). Basking in reflected glory: Three (football) field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 366-375. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.34.3.366

Debatin, B., Lovejoy, J. P., Horn, A-K., & Hughes, B. N. (2009). Facebook and Online Privacy: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Unintended Consequences. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15, 83-108. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01494.x

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268. doi:10.1207/S15327965PLI1104_01

Derlega, V. J., Metts, S., Petronio, S., & Margulis, S. T. (1993). Self-Disclosure. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Donath, J., & boyd, d. (2004). Public displays of connection. BT Technology Journal, 22, 71-82. doi:10.1023/B:BTTJ.0000047585.06264

Ellison, N., Heino, R., & Gibbs, J. (2006). Managing impressions online: Self-presentation processes in the online dating environment. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11, 415–441. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00020.x

Ellison, N. Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook 'friends': Exploring the relationship between college students' use of online social networks and social capital. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12, 1143-1168. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00367.x

Ellison, N., Steinfield, C. & Lampe, C. (2011). Connection Strategies: Social capital implications of Facebook-enabled communication practices. New Media & Society, 13, 873-892. doi:10.1177/1461444810385389

Gibbs, J. L., Ellison, N. B., & Heino, R. D. (2006). Self-Presentation in Online Personals: The Role of Anticipated Future Interaction, Self-Disclosure, and Perceived Success in Internet Dating. Communication Research, 33, 152-177. doi:10.1177/0093650205285368

Gibbs, J., Ellison, N. B., & Lai, C. (2011). First comes love, then comes Google: An investigation of uncertainty reduction strategies and self-disclosure in online dating. Communication Research, 38, 70-100. doi:10.1177/0093650210377091

Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, NY: Double Day.

Gosling, S. D., Gaddis, S., & Vazire, S. (2007). Personality Impressions based on Facebook Profiles. Paper presented at the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A. http://www.icwsm.org/papers/3--Gosling-Gaddis-Vazire.pdf

Jung, T., Youn, H., & McClung, S. (2007). Motivations and self-presentation strategies on Korean-based “Cyworld” weblog format personal homepages. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 10, 24–31. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9996

Haferkamp, N. & Krämer, N. C. (2010). Creating a digital self. Impression management and impression formation on social networking sites. In K. Drotner & K. C. Schrøder (Eds.), Digital Content Creation: Perceptions, Practices & Perspectives (pp. 129-146). New York: Peter Lang.

Haferkamp, N., & Krämer, N.C. (2009). “When I was your age, Pluto was a planet”: Impression Management and need to belong as motives for joining groups on social networking sites. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Chicago, Illinois.

Hall, J., Park, N., Song, H., & Cody, M. (2010). Strategic misrepresentation in online dating: The effects of gender, self-monitoring, and personality traits. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27, 117-135. doi:10.1177/0265407509349633

Hargittai, E., & Shafer, S. (2006). Differences in Actual and Perceived Online Skills: The Role of Gender. Social Science Quarterly, 87, 432-448. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00389.x

Kleck, C.A., Reese, C., Ziegerer-Behnken, D., & Sundar, S. (2007). The Company You Keep and the Image You Project: Putting Your Best Face Forward in Online Social Networks. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, San Francisco.

Krämer, N. C., & Winter, S. (2008). Impression management 2.0. Self-presentation on social networking sites and its relationship to personality. Journal of Media Psychology, 20, 106-116. doi:10.1027/1864-1105.20.3.106

Krämer, N.C., & Haferkamp, N. (2011). Online Self-Presentation: Balancing Privacy Concerns and Impression Construction on Social Networking Sites. In S. Trepte & L. Reinecke (Eds.), Privacy Online: Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the Social Web (pp. 127-141). Heidelberg and New York: Springer.

Leary, M. R., & Kowalski, R. M. (1990). Impression management: A literature review and two-component model. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 34-47. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.107.1.34

Leary, M. R. (1995). Self presentation: impression management and interpersonal behavior. Boulder: Westview.

Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2010). Social media and young adults. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Madden, M. (2006). Internet penetration and impact. Retrieved from Pew Internet and American Life Project report website: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2006/Internet-Penetration-and-Impact.aspx

McClelland, D. (1987). Human motivation. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Mehdizadeh, S. (2010). Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook. CyberPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 13, 357-364. doi:10.1089/cyber.2009.0257

Metts, S. (1989). An exploratory investigation of deception in close relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 6, 159-179. doi:10.1177/026540758900600202

Muise, A., Christofides, E., & Desmarais, S. (2009). More information than you ever wanted: does Facebook bring out the green-eyed monster of jealousy? CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12, 441-449. doi:10.1089/cpb.2008.0263

Mummendey, H. D. (2006). Selbstdarstellung [Self-presentation]. In H.-W. Bierhoff & D. Frey (Eds.), Handbuch der Sozialpsychologie und Kommunikationspsychologie (pp. 49-56). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Raacke, J., & Bonds-Raacke, J. (2008). MySpace and Facebook: Applying the uses and gratifications theory to exploring friend-networking sites. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 11, 169-174. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.0056

Schlenker, B. R. (2003). Self-presentation. In M. R. Leary and J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 492-518). New York: Guilford.

Shrout, P. E., & Fleiss, J. L. (1979). Intraclass correlations: Uses in assessing rater reliability. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 420-428. doi:10.1037//0033-2909.86.2.420

Subrahmanyam, K., Reich, S. M., Waechter, N., & Espinoza, G. (2008). Online and offline social networks: Use of social networking sites by emerging adults. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29, 420-433. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2008.07.003

Swann, W. B., Jr. (1990). To be adored or to be known: The interplay of self-enhancement and self-verification. In R. M. Sorrentino and E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Foundations of social behavior (pp. 408–448). New York: Guilford.

Taylor, D. A., & Altman, I. (1987). Communication in interpersonal relationships: Social penetration processes. In M. E. Roloff & G. R. Miller (Eds.), Interpersonal processes: New directions in communication research (pp. 257-277). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Toma, C. L., Hancock, J. T., & Ellison, N. B. (2008). Separating Fact from Fiction: An Examination of Deceptive Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1023-1036. doi:10.1177/0146167208318067

Toma, C. L., & Hancock, J. T. (2010). Looks and lies: Self-presentation in online dating profiles. Communication Research, 37, 335-351. doi:10.1177/0093650209356437

Tong, S. T., Van der Heide, B., Langwell, L., & Walther, J. B. (2008). Too Much of a Good Thing? The Relationship between Number of Friends and Interpersonal Impressions on Facebook. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 531–549. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.00409.x

Utz S. (2008). (Selbst)marketing auf Hyves [(Self)marketing on Hyves]. In P. Alpar & S. Blaschke (Eds.), Web2.0. Eine empirische Bestandsaufnahme [Web2.0 - an empirical inventory] (pp. 233-258). Wiesbaden, Germany: Vieweg & Teubner.

Utz, S., & Krämer, N. (2009). The privacy paradox on social network sites revisited: The role of individual characteristics and group norms. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research in Cyberspace, 3(2). Retrieved from http://cyberpsychology.eu/view.php?cisloclanku=2009111001&article=2

Utz, S., & Beukeboom, C.J. (2011). The role of social network sites in romantic relationships: Effects on jealousy and relationship happiness. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 16, 511-527. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2011.01552.x

Vittengl, J. R., & Holt, C. S. (2000). Getting acquainted: The relationship of self-disclosure and social attraction to positive affect. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 17, 53-66. doi:10.1177/0265407500171003

Walther, J. B. (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research, 23, 3-43. doi:10.1177/009365096023001001

Walther, J. B. (2007). Selective self-presentation in computer-mediated communication: Hyperpersonal dimensions of technology, language, and cognition. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 2538-2557. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2006.05.002

Walther, J. B., & Parks, M. R. (2002). Cues filtered out, cues filtered in: Computer-mediated communication and relationships. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), Handbook of interpersonal communication (3rd ed., pp. 529-563). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Walther, J., Van der Heide, B., Kim, S.Y., Westerman, D., & Tong, S.T. (2008). The Role of Friends’ Appearance and Behavior and Evaluations of Individuals on Facebook: Are we Known by the Company We Keep? Human Communication Research, 34, 28-49. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.2007.00312.x

Metrics

1975

Views

3741

HTML views