Why are Individuals Hooked on Social Media?

Dear Author,
Thank you for choosing our group to help you find resources for your book. We have compiled a list of sources that we believe you should look into more in order to better prepare for your soon-to-be bestseller. We hope you find these sources useful and informative as well as entertaining. We have provided you with keywords and definitions, the psychology behind why individuals look to social media for validation, the benefits of using social media as well as the negative effect of social media and how to overcome the negative effects. We've also found some videos and images that we believe illustrate the impact of social media, which could help you further with your research.
We thank you again and wish you the best of luck.
~ Amanda, Danielle, Anita, Paige, Natasha

HubSpot-Making-Friends.gif?t=1429025206965

This image by Shah shows the different types of social medias and the different ways in which individuals communicate with one another. Although the image is obviously an exaggeration of reality, that is what makes it efficient. It illustrates how individuals feel about different social media platforms, and that can be used in a way to capture the audience's attention.
Shah, D. (2009). Making Friends: LinkedIn vs. Facebook vs. Twitter [cartoon]. Retrieved from http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/53/file-23124728-gif/blog/images/HubSpot-Making-Friends.gif?t=1429025206965 .

Social Media is a new part of every day life; however, throughout the years, it has become very dominant, and even essential. Companies, as well as individuals use the different social networking sites to communicate with one another, promote events, and share information. No matter where we go, social media follows.

Key Words

  • Validate: to support or corroborate on a sound or authoritative basis; to recognize, establish or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of [1]
  • Computer Mediated Communications (CNC): interactions by individuals using two or more electronic devices [2]
  • Social networking sites (SNS): a web-based service that allows individuals to create a profile, connect with others who also have profiles, and have different types of interactions with those people, as well as see the history of the connection[3]
  • Self-esteem: A confidence and satisfaction in oneself; self-respect[4]
  • Social Comparison theory: states that we determine our own social and personal worth worth based on how we stack up against others. As a result, we are constantly making self and other evaluations across a variety of domains (ex. Attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success).[5]
  • Self Concept: general term used to refer to how someone thinks about, evaluates or perceives themselves. To be aware of oneself.[6]
  • Self-evaluation maintenance (SEM): model of behaviour is focused on how the performance of other people influences perception and evaluation of the self. It emphasizes how another’s performance can either influence self-evaluation in a positive or negative way.[7]

The Psychology Behind Validation

Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3(4), 206-222. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000047

Erin A. Vogel, Jason P. Rose, Lindsay R. Roberts, and Katheryn Eckles’ study looks at social comparisons and their relationship to self-esteem through social networking sites. Their study does an excellent job looking at the purposes of social comparisons and self-esteem. It is self-evaluation and self-enhancement that provide the foundation for social comparative functions. This drive humans have to compare themselves with others helps with decisions making, self-improvement, regulating emotions and overall wellbeing. The authors stress the importance of Social comparisons. Their study looks at upward and downward social comparisons. Upward comparisons are when individuals compare themselves to other that seem superior and have positive characteristics. Downward comparisons are the opposite where the individuals compare themselves to those that seem inferior. Upward social comparisons can cause feelings of inadequacy, leading to poorer self-evaluations and downward social comparisons lead more to improvements in self-evaluation. Through social networking sites, individuals lean more to the upward comparisons. These upward social comparisons can lead to lower self-esteem, a person’s worthwhile and competency.
The excellent background of self-esteem and social comparisons provides a great basis for looking into social networking sites and how they psychologically affect users. This helps provide a more basic understanding for their study in which they look into the comparisons made on social networking sites and the lower self-esteem this can create.

Akil II, B. (2009, Sep 13). The Theory of Social Validation. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-central/200909/the-theory-social-validation

Akil II (PhD), is a professor at Florida State College, and in this article, he talks briefly about why people look to others to validate the things they do. He references Robert Chialdini's ideas, that when a person is unsure about how they should react to a certain situation, they look to other members of the public who are around, in order to deduce how they should act in turn. This is similar to when people look at reviews of objects when shopping online. Based on what others have written about the product, the person may choose to buy the product or move on to a seller with better reviews. The person is craving something that is accepted by others and recognized as the best choice. This is the case in all aspects of life; individuals want to be recognized for being the best, for being exactly what it is needed in a certain situation. The article does not go into detail about the theory of social validation itself, although that is what the title and subtitle suggest will be the topic of discussion; however, Akil II does explain vaguely through examples what the theory is about.

Anderson, B., Fagan, P., Woodnutt, T., Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2012). Facebook Psychology: Popular Questions Answered by Research. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1(1), 23-37. doi: 10.1037/a0026452

Anderson et al analyzed several studies conducted on Facebook use and its effect on individuals. More specifically, they are looking for antecedents of Facebook use, how individuals and corporations use Facebook and psychological outcomes or effects of Facebook use. They concluded that there were many reasons for which individuals use Facebook. The most frequently identified reason individuals use social media – and Facebook in specific – is because it creates a diversion, the individual can improve their personal relationships, develop more of their personal identity and they can seek information. Facebook also has an “ersatz” sociality, which means that it creates the illusion of being social as one would be in real life as opposed to just virtually. More recently, internet use has been found to meet people’s interpersonal needs and their need to build and maintain relationships In virtual communities. It was found that people sign up to use Facebook in order to keep up with old and new friends, to organize social events, study and date. Some of the studies showed that the rich-get-richer hypothesis in virtual social interactions is false. Those with lower self-esteem and higher social anxiety in real-life may compensate by seeking connections and distractions online, but in reality have fewer friends. This view complements the real-world rather than compensate for offline inadequacy. Anderson et al also state that Facebook is used in two ways: passive browsing (e.g. looking through the newsfeed, as more of a ritualistic habit) and extractive social searching (e.g. looking on others’ profiles, as a way to seek information). They claim that individuals spend more time on the passive engagement, however, the active engagement is more gratifying.
The study has several limitations; one of which is not having clear information about the antecedent of Facebook, even though it was presented as one of the subheadings for their research. This can impact validity, and be a source of bias because their research could be conducted with presumptions about how Facebook worked and was used before. Those presumptions can prevent the researchers from looking at their data objectively.
The study by Anderson et al. concludes that Facebook and social media use have more benefits than drawbacks in society today. Their analyses of the different studies proves that having lots of friends in our society is an advantage because keeping up-to-date with them can present individuals with opportunities that they may not have access to otherwise. It also allows individuals to explore their identities, and connect with new friends, and get a sense of community and belonging.

Hess, P. (2014, Sep 12). The Power Social Media Has Over Teen Lives. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-hess/the-power-social-media-has-over-teen-lives_b_5582497.html

While the author of this article’s perspective heralds from a more mainstream source, his observations are no less relevant to the topic we’re investigating. As a former youth pastor, advisor, media journalist, and parent, Patrick Hess, of the Huffington Post, has privileged insight into the psyche of today’s youth and the unique challenges they face within social media circles.
His up-to-the-minute currency on the topic encapsulates teen angst in their quest for relief from emotional and mental pain on social media. According to Hess, “understanding the software engine that drives social media is one thing, but understanding the psychology behind the culture that is redefining traditional terms and practices” is a challenge. He adds, “teens I've observed online have a seemingly unquenchable need for acceptance among their peers and social media allows them the ability to extend their net of search beyond their classroom walls and neighborhood streets… it shrinks the world in which we live and makes it possible for them to share in life's journey with someone who better understands them and is less judgmental. It's intoxicating. It's very real to youth.”
In the search for identity, teens on social media seem to seek acceptance not only for who they are right now, but also for who they want to become. In the unspoken popularity contest of today’s youth, many teens use social media to gain recognition and acceptance amongst their peers, which is very addictive when attained to any measure. In this sense, social media becomes a highly influential teacher for youth. Their moral, ethical and intellectual values are being formed by what they read and experience online. Words are powerful. They can encourage or destroy the volatile confidence of a teen when read on social media. When we take time to understand what social media apps provide youth and perhaps why they are investing so much time in them, it becomes obvious how this new social culture exists.

Katz, E. B. (1998). Self-esteem: The past of an illusion. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 58(3), 303. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/1301643028?accountid=15182

This historical account of the evolution of pride and subsequently, self-esteem, heralds from as far back as biblical days to the dawn of Darwinism and up to the social constructs of human psychology today.
This overview, authored by E.B. Katz, follows the concepts of pride and self-esteem and examines the beginnings of both interrelated concepts, individually and as linked constructs. It is important to understand that self-esteem is rooted in pride and that pride itself is the keystone for selfhood. Katz goes on to say that it was an American, William James, medical doctor, philosopher, writer, and teacher, that was the creator and champion of self-esteem as we know it. Born to wealth, educated in Europe and the United States, James revolutionized the way we think and speak about the self. James equated self-esteem with selfhood and without esteem, there IS no selfhood. The rationale behind the concept – the Social Darwinian importance of competition and winning – caught on early in America and in the world. Pride was eschewed as being too morally perilous to be a portent of personal striving and was an affront to the social structure of the times. The solution became simplicity itself to James. ..”make what was formerly spiritually unpalatable now respectably and psychologically wise and valid”. The reconceptualization of pride as self-esteem took hold.
James went on to develop an evaluative method in the form of a precise mathematical equation to derive an accurate rating of self-esteem.
Self-Esteem = Success / Pretention
Although James is credited with the classic definition of the concept and is its major philosopher, other challengers included Watson (1926), who formulated the ‘no-self’ concept of behaviorism. That concept was refined by Skinner but William James still remained the starting point in self analysis.
In Katz’s analysis, self-esteem means a judgmental rating of the self – self-worth when one has high self-esteem and self-degrading or self-hate when one has low self-esteem. It is a ration – the James equation – success divided by pretensions – and is the accepted definition of self-esteem (Mruk, 1995, p. 11). It is remarkable how pride and self-esteem have so powerfully affected our lives. Mruk, in his ‘Self-Esteem: Research, Theory and Practice’, considers all aspects of self-esteem and tells us the following:

  1. The concept of self-esteem is complex, with often contradictory findings and assertions.
  2. Self-esteem appears to e related to positive mental health and the lack of it to mental illness, for example, low self-esteem characterizes depression, suicide, and personality disorder.
  3. Self-esteem has become a basic behavioral construct for explaining human conduct.
  4. It has social significance in understanding social problems, e.g. substance abuse.

In summary, Katz postulates that self-esteem has produced a world of somebodies and nobodies, not a world of unique selves and suggests that self-esteem is not a cure for the malady of the human condition; it is the malady itself.

Baumeister, R. F., & Twenge, J. M. (2003). The social self. Handbook of psychology: Personality and social psychology, vol. 5. (pp. 327-352) John Wiley & Sons Inc, Hoboken, NJ. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/620089340?accountid=15182
Alternate source: https://books.google.ca/books?id=lBXf1slZBDwC&pg=PA327&lpg=PA327&dq=the+social+self+-+baumeister&source=bl&ots=kXY-9rLpgq&sig=zWZZh-Uq9GL2BPPJ0mL-CILdesg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ShMsVeLgAtGAygTI2oDYBg&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=the%20social%20self%20-%20baumeister&f=false

Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, and his coauthor Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, write an enormously indepth synopsis of the concept of self with an emphasis on all corresponding subject matter including interpersonal relationships; self; belongingness; social exclusion; ostracism; self presentation; self views; emotions; culture; social self; and history. Their target audience includes professional and research psychologists under the classification Personality Traits & Processes and Group & Interpersonal Processes.
The authors’ opening paragraph states, “the very concept of self seems to denote individualism, however the self is nevertheless incomplete without acknowledging our interactions with others. Even personality traits are usually conceptualized in comparison to other people. Selves do not develop and flourish in isolation”. People learn who and what they are from other people, and by their interactions with them in social groups. This model is known as ‘reflected appraisals’. People find out what other people think of them and then internalize these opinions into their self-views. Much of the reflected appraisals theory stems from Mead (1934) and Cooley’s (1902) the ‘looking-glass self’ which suggests that close personal relationships are integral to the development of selfhood. We acknowledge that the need to belong is a fundamental human need that serves to shape the self in ways that lead to establishing and maintaining some important social bonds. Meaningful human relationships are a crucial part of the self. Leary et al. (1995) showed that social rejection leads to considerable decreases in feelings of self-esteem. Low self-esteem arises when people experience rejection or fear that they will end up alone in life. Although the article does not address the use of SNS specifically, the contextual implications of culture, in this case the culture embedded in social media, cannot be dismissed.
In summation, the authors state “the self cannot be fully understood without reference to culture, whether that culture differs with respect to region or with respect to time”. And our culture is very much a reflection of the times.

Farrugia, R. C. (2013). Facebook and Relationships: A Study of How Social Media Use is Affecting Long-Term Relationships(pp. 1-34). New York, NY: Rochester Institute of Technology. Retrieved From: http://scholarworks.rit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1033&context=theses

Facebook and Relationships: A study of How Social Media Use is Affecting Long Term Relationships is a thesis written by Rianne C. Farrugia, Masters of Science in Communication and Media Technology student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. This thesis was approved by the following members of committee at the Rochester Institute of Technology; Patrick Scanlon, Ph.D, Chairman and Professor at the Department of Communications, Tracy Worrell, Ph.D, Associate Professor and Thesis Advisor under the Department of Communications, John E. Edlund, Ph.D, Assistant Professor under the Department of Psychology and Thesis Advisor, and lastly, Rudy Pugliese, Ph.D, Professor at the Department of Communications and Director of the Communications and Media Technologies graduate program.
The purpose of Farrugia's study was to indicate the direct correlation between Facebook/Social Media usage and the effect it has on relationships, primarily the negative. She discusses the forms of communications from the primitive markings and scratchings on walls and objects to current day online Social Networking Sites (SNS) and Computer Mediated Communications (CMC). To write her thesis, she mainly focused on the social media site Facebook. In the year 2010, it was the 4th most visited website drawing nearly 800 million users (Elphinston and Noller, 2011; Marshall et al,. 2012). Users tend to use sites such as Facebook to attain some sort of self validation of where they stand in society through photos and/or posts they post online (Rao, Gao and Ding 2008). For example in 2010 there was approximately 300 million photos being uploaded per day on Facebook and over 57 percent of those pictures were of individuals in romantic situations (Bowe).
The reasoning behind the high volume of such uploads is said to be correlated to Altman and Taylor's theory of Social Penetration which describes the steps an individual goes through in every relationship from Orientation Phase, when individuals introduce one another by revealing basic information about themselves to Exploratory Affective Change when individuals begin to converse with one another as they have basic understanding of each other’s character/personality traits. The next phase is Effective Change and that is when people get more intimate with one another as they are more comfortable to the last phase, Stable Exchange, when individuals are open to discuss every aspect of their lives and are fully comfortable in each other's presence. This thesis connects the theory of Social Penetration change as social media has altered the way people interact with one another. This affects components of relationships such as respect, honesty, loyalty, etc. because there are now more parties involved and they have a say in how a relationship is functioning. For instance, if someone changed their relationship status an individual has the right to comment their input and validate that relationship. The more the positive comments and likes the higher the validation of the individual whom posted the relationship change status (Tosun 2012). Alongside the other parties being involved, an individual has the option to alter their personality by portraying a self image that is much different to attract a certain category of people which negatively affects the relationship as there is no actual bond and that does not validate that relationship. Lastly, because of how open social media has become people are now more nosey and have the ability to ambush information about certain individuals through mutual friends and posts which is also a negative trigger in a relationship making it dysfunctional and further triggers the validity of the relation.
To conclude, there was an online survey conducted during the summer of 2013 with 255 respondents all of whom were either students at the Rochester Institute of Technology or friends of the researcher. Certain measures that were intended to be disclosed through the survey were relationship satisfaction, interpersonal interaction, partner surveillance, individualized trust, jealousy, partner disclosure, revised self disclosure and social intimacy. Firstly they examined if there was a connection between a stage of the relationship and relation satisfaction when Facebook was being used. Secondly, they examined if different stages of a relationship had a negative correlation to individual members’ surveillance. The third question they proposed was the association with jealousy between couples who use Facebook occasionally. Lastly they examined the different levels of jealousy with different individuals with varying Facebook usage. Overall though, Facebook demonstrated the potential to hinder a relationship due to the amount of jealousy it can cause.

The upside to Social Media

Lenartz, A. J. (2012). All my rowdy 'friends': The use of social media in higher education (Order No. 3509820). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1019989172). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/1019989172?accountid=15182

Andrew Lenartz’s dissertation provides an in depth look at some of the pros and cons of Social networking sites. Unlike most sources though, he focuses on the benefits of social networking sites in particular through higher learning institutions. With the increasing popularity of SNSs higher learning institutions of joined in hopes of widening their demographic and becoming more accessible to their students. Lenartz’s states that SNSs can increase the overall experience of school, provide networking opportunities, and increase awareness of what is going on in the institution. His dissertation provides numerous studies and experiments of attempts to bring higher education to the digital age. He introduces the concept of “communities of practice” which is when groups of people come together with a shared interest under a shared domain. This creates learning opportunities and the chance to network in a desired field.
However Lenartz also presents a few cons to his ideal of higher learning institutions converting to social networking sites. These can include being misrepresented through photo sharing, cyber bullying, and privacy. It has also been found that students become distracted and feel a “communication overload”. Lenartz’s dissertation also raises a difficult question to answer. “Should social and academic uses of social media be kept separate?”
From gathering the pros and the cons in his dissertation Lenartz provides an excellent conversation that needs to be focused on in this digital and social media obsessed culture.

Walz, L. O. (2009). The relationship between college students' use of social networking sites and their sense of belonging (Order No. AAI3358179). Available from PsycINFO. (622090979; 2009-99220-251). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/622090979?accountid=15182

Like Andrew Lenartz, Laura Walz believes social networking sites provide more benefits to society. Her dissertation looks at the levels of self-esteem of individuals that use social networking sites. Specifically the sense of belonging young adults gets from social networking sites. The dissertation presents multiple studies including one Dutch study of 881 youth where positive feedback on the individuals’ online activity provided positive self-esteem to the individuals. With social networking sites youth can avoid negative interactions and focus on more positive ones than actual face to face interactions.
Like the title states, Walz brings up the importance of having a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging is modeled through the energy possessed for involvement, potential and desire for meaningful involvement, and a potential for shared characteristics. This is the individual’s sense of acceptance and being needed. Another study Walz presents is one of 286 university students and their activity on facebook where students with low self-esteem found to have higher and more intimate connections with their strong social ties.
Walz’s own study looked at the relationship between students’ use of social networking sites and their sense of belonging. She studied 141 undergraduates in Connecticut, USA. Her study found that the number of Facebook friends individuals had, the higher their sense of belonging. She also theorized that Social Networking sites are easier to interact through and could help students with social anxieties. This theory was not backed up with anything, however.
Walz’s study was biased in the way where she never presented any counter points to her argument. Nothing was presented to shed social networking sites in a bad light, and as seen from other resources, is something that needs to be looked into. Her study also does not really look into the self-esteem from those with lower fried counts. Her dissertation does shed a more positive light on a very controversial topic through the psychology of belonging.

Best, P., Manktelow, R., Taylor,B. (2014). Online communication, social media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review. Children and Youth Services Review, 41(complete), 27-36. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.03.001

Best et al analyzed different empirical research about the impact of online social technologies on the mental health of young people. Using a qualitative method of evaluation, Best et al. analyzed the different studies that have been done. Through this analysis, they found that the studies had many different views. Although some studies were contradicting, most had concluded that social media had a positive impact on the well-being of youth. A number of studies proved that online communication was linked positively with well-being, reduced social anxiety, increased self-esteem and reduced social isolation. Online friendships also increased social support, opportunity for emotional relief and identity experimentation, as well as community formation and an increased sense of belonging. The article mentions negative effects of social media technologies as well, however, most negative studies are followed by a positive study. This made finding consistency hard, and understanding the point of the article unclear.

Klopfer, E. (2009). Use The Technologies of Today in The Classrooms Today (pp. 10-20 ). Massachusetts, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved From: http://education.mit.edu/papers/GamesSimsSocNets_EdArcade.pdf

The Educational Article Paper: Use The Technologies of Today in The Classrooms Today was published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies, The Educational Arcade. The article was written by Eric Klopfer, Professor of Science Education and Engineering Systems and Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program as well as Scott Osterweil, Creative Director of the Education Arcade and Research Director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for Comparative Media Studies/Writing Program. To add on, notable contributions were also made by Jennifer Groff, Research Assistant and Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lastly, Jason Haas, also research assistant and Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Together, these four individuals have written about the positive effects of virtual learning through the form of online gaming and social networking. They have looked into the future of technology and how it will help classroom based learning as well as certain obstacles that may arise and how to overcome such obstacles. They believe that that incorporating social media/online gaming will be an evolution in learning rather than a revolution. Looking specifically into social networking, teens/tweens ages (9-17 year olds) were the most interactive social media users (National School Board Association 2007). Due to the heavy social networking users in that specific age group, many teachers incorporate social media in learning as more teens/tweens are becoming active. Such examples of sites that are being used by these teachers include Ning, Think.com, and Oracle Educations Foundation, all of which are safe and consist of interactive learning. It is also stated in the article that for those students who are rather shy and timid and do not feel comfortable speaking in a large group found it easier to connect their ideas and thoughts through such virtual learning aids which are also used as a form of social networking for peers and teachers as a whole.
All in all, various examples were given in the article discussing students as well as teachers and their positive feedback with social media and online gaming in the context of learning.

Barker, V. (2009). Older adolescents’ motivations for social network site use: The influence of gender, group identity, and collective self-esteem. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(2), 209-213. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2008.0228

This peer-reviewed journal article was authored by Valerie Barker, Ph.D., School of Journalism and Media Studies, San Diego State University, in June 2009 and is classified under the heading Cognitive and Perceptual Development. The methodology was an empirical, quantitative study that measured both the personal and social identity cues evident in social network site (SNS) use. The motives for SNS use, group belonging, collective self-esteem, and gender effects among older adolescents, were also considered.
Materials and methods included 803 freshman student participants enrolled in a mandatory communication class. Participants were recruited by graduate teaching assistants via an email outlining the study specifics and the Survey Monkey URL link for the questionnaire. The quantitative measure of the study was calculated using a closed-ended 7-point range scale. Five hypotheses were tested and two research questions were asked. The results concluded the following:

  1. Group identification / collective self-esteem and communication with peer group were motives for social network site (SNS) use.
  2. Group identification / collective self-esteem and social compensation by peer group were motives for SNS use.
  3. Group identification / collective self-esteem and social identity gratifications (SIG) were not supported in the study.
  4. Females were more likely to report high positive collective self-esteem and group-in-self motives.
  5. Males were more likely than females to report negative collective self-esteem and SNS use for social compensation and SIG.

In summary, it is generally accepted that Facebook use is related to psychological well-being. Multiple study findings report that its use “may be of particular benefit to users experiencing low self-esteem. This could also relate to collective self-esteem, which denotes the aspect of identity that has to do with the value placed on group membership”. Of particular interest in this study, however, is the finding that older adolescent males may be less equipped to make the transition from high school to college due to a lack of peer group belonging and/or support. The author suggests that SNS use indicates that adolescent males “may be looking to ‘move on’, and so these findings may not be signs of dysfunction but perhaps of maturing”.

The Negative Effects of Social Media

Facebook might be tough on users with low self-esteem. (2012, 02). U.S.News & World Report, , 1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/927902459?accountid=15182

Though this article by Healthday does not look at users with high self-esteem it gives insight to users with low self-esteem and the effects Facebook has to their well-being. The study had original believed that Facebook could create strong connections and relationships but does the total opposite. It states that users with low self-esteem are less likely to express themselves in the real world, but due to the anonymous nature of Facebook they are more likely to express themselves in a more negative way through Facebook. Other users don’t want to see that kind of negativity and are more likely to stray away from this negative connection they have. With this anonymity of posting personal disclosures, these individuals with low self-esteem aren’t seeing the reactions of those that are seeing the disclosure. Negative reactions from friends are usually kept private, this continues the negative spiral of the individual posting their personal disclosures.

Kross, E., Verduyn, P., Demiralp, E., Park, J., Lee, D.S., Lin, N., Shablack, H., Jonides, J., Ybarra, O. (2013). Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subject Well-Being in Young Adults. PLoS ONE 8(8):e69841. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

Kross et al have conducted an experiment in which individuals’ time spent on Facebook and how they feel after every visit is recorded through a survey to determine their wellbeing. Through their experiment, Kross et al discovered that Facebook use was not affected by mood, but those who used Facebook more often had lower life satisfaction levels over time. They suspect that a possible cause for this is harmful social comparisons, for example seeing friends or family having fun while they are stuck at home working would make the individual think their life is not as good as their family or friends’. This study was free of bias; the researchers evaluated their results objectively, and treated each person equally, which makes their results accurate.


This video posted by HigtonBros on June 2,2014 to Youtube illustrates clearly how social media can be deceiving. It also illustrates the negative effect that social media can have on individuals. This is consistent with the results discussed in this section of the research.

Daly, A. (2014, Jun 18). Generation Validation: Why Everyone Just Wants to be Liked. Elle. Retrieved from http://www.elle.com/life-love/a14618/generation-validation/

In this article, Daly discusses “Generation validation”, which is the idea that nowadays, all society wants is to get “likes” on the things they post. She says that since this is now the expectation, getting likes has become normalized and is no longer special. This means that when an individual posts something, if their peers don’t like it, then they feel down, and doubt their self-worth. Daly mentions a study conducted at the University of Michigan, which concluded that students who based their self-worth on external sources (for example, approval from others – whether it be through social media or in real life) had more problems such as stress, anger, academic problems. This phenomenon is called “contingent self-worth”, and it’s the idea that an individual is basing their self-worth on someone else’s ideals and values. They may not share those values, and in consequence, stray from their own ideals, which will make them unhappy and miserable. This article simplifies the negative aspects of social media use, and presents its shortcomings in a clear-cut manner.

Deitchman, A. (2013). Wait, What? On Social Network Use and Attention (p. 1). New York, NY: Department of Applied Psychology. Retrieved From: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/opus/issues/2010/fall/On_Social_Network_Use_and_Attention

Alyssa Deitchman, a doctoral candidate of Clinical Psychology at the New York University (NYU) had written an article in regards of the use of Social Media and its negative effects on attention span. The article was posted on the online publications of undergraduate studies under the department of Applied Psychology at the New York University.
The article discusses the increasing amount of researchers whom all believe that there is a direct correlation between short attention span and social media usage especially in young adults and adolescents (Greenfield 2009; Ophir, Nass, & Wagner, 2009; Wintour 2009). An example that was specifically mentioned in the article was the usage of Facebook and how it is designed in such a way where there are many things concurrently happening on the page from a live chat to news feed updates. The ability to multitask with social media and in this case Facebook is referred to as "media multitasking" (Ophir, Nass and Wagner 2009 p. 3). In a study that was conducted by Ophir, Nass and Wagner indicated that the adolescents and teens that were heavy media multitaskers were sought to be more liable from environmental stimulants but at the same those very same individuals did not perform well on task switching abilities (attention span). To add on John Grafman, the chief of Cognitive Neuroscience at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that there has been a decline in the depth of focus directed in task part taking and increase in finishing objectives without considering it in depthly. Furthermore, British neurologist Lady Greenfield looks at social networking signals the brain just as the use of drugs as when an individual does not get the type of attention they are looking for via social media they behave in certain ways just as those on drug/substance abuse would.
All in all, the article states that there is a certain degree to how much the brain can process concurrently and multimedia tasking on social media sites is slowing down the process and diminishing the existing attention span of young adults and adolescents.

Schwartz, M. (2010). The usage of facebook as it relates to narcissism, self-esteem and loneliness (Order No. 3415681). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (734599893). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/734599893?accountid=15182

The author, Madeline Schwartz, M.S.Ed, is a student within the Department of Psychology, Pace University, pursuing her Doctorate of Psychology under the direction of Megan Kozak, Ph.D. and Richard Velayo, Ph.D., both Graduate Professors of Psychology, Pace University. This excerpt is an inclusion in her doctoral project to meet the relevant requirements for a Psy.D. degree in School-Clinical Child Psychology.
The purpose of her study, entitled ‘The usage of Facebook as it relates to narcissism, self-esteem and loneliness’, was to determine the causal link between Facebook status update frequency and low self-esteem. Connected with that was the degree of narcissism reflected by the number of friends/followers one has on social media. The study was conducted using a sample of 218 Pace University undergraduate students self-reporting through direct distribution methods. Results indicated that self-esteem was negatively related to frequency of status updates, Facebook intensity and update intensity. Further, Facebook frequency is indicative of personal meaning attached to that particular social medium and is a reflection of lower levels of self-esteem if use is intensive. A correlation between narcissism and Facebook popularity has also been found in one study showing that those individuals “who are more narcissistic tend to accumulate more Facebook friends than those who are less narcissistic”.
Working from several hypotheses regarding the correlation between Facebook usage and the status update module as applied to the three constructs of self-esteem, degree of narcissism and ratings of loneliness, from a research and clinical perspective, Madeline’s study has shown the critical development task of identity formation during adolescence and the dependency of self development of feelings and personality traits as reflected through a social contextual lens.
In clinical circles, it is critical for researchers to study the implications of the influence of the Internet and social media in peoples’ lives. According to a Time Magazine article dated June 2010, 500 million active citizens, encompassing all age groups and demographics, use Facebook as an agent of socialization. To discount its influence in psychological development would be akin to dismissing cultural influences in human development.

Overcoming The Negative effects of Social Media

Huff, T. (2015, Mar 6). How to Avoid Social Media Burnout. [weblog]. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/2015-03-06/how-avoid-social-media-burnout

Travis Huff is the CEO and founder of a website called “Real-time outsource”, which is a service offering professional help on how to market and advertise optimally on different social media platforms. In this post he goes over the steps that companies and organizations can take in order to avoid social media burnout. Companies can spend ten (10) to twenty (20) hours weekly on marketing in order to reach their desired audience in addition to the normal tasks that the employees must perform, which can stress the individual out and cause social media burn out. Huff states that the company must do their research, plan and have a backup plan in order to manage their social media sites properly. If they cannot keep up with their audience’s demands, they should hire a professional to deal with that aspect of the company. This article is relevant because although it was directed to companies, individuals who spend an excessive amount of time online and manage several social media sites deal with the same types of problems, and this weblog post clarifies overcoming that difficulty. The post may have been biased, however, as the author is a professional social media marketer for different companies, and may have been holding back information in order to help his own company’s success. The post, however, explains the steps to avoid burnout clearly, in an easy-to-understand manner.

The Social and Psychological Impact of Online Social Networking (pp. 7). (2010). Melbourne, Australia : Australian Psychology Society.
Retrieved From: http://www.psychology.org.au/assets/files/social-and-psychological-impact-of-social-networking-sites.pdf

The Australian Psychological Society conducted research in 2010 during National Psychology Week with regards to social networking and the adult population in Australia. The purpose of the study was to investigate certain topics such as excessive social networking usage, negative experiences, social connectedness, sociably and virtual relationships. The Australian Psychological Society also posted 11 specific instructions on Positive Online Social Networking and for overcoming the negative effects of social media. The following are the recommendations that were posted: optimize the benefits, inform yourself about security options, use your profile in a positive way, be in control of your online interactions, protect yourself, meet your friends in person, avoid going online as much, have a screening process before accepting any new friends, be aware of the information you post, be respectful to others and don't be a bully.

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Deitchman, A. (2013). Wait, What? On Social Network Use and Attention (p. 1). New York, NY: Department of Applied Psychology. Retrieved From: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/opus/issues/2010/fall/On_Social_Network_Use_and_Attention

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Hess, P. (2014, Sep 12). The Power Social Media Has Over Teen Lives. The Huffington Post. Retrieved fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-hess/the-power-social-media-has-over-teen-lives_b_5582497.html

Huff, T. (2015, Mar 6). How to Avoid Social Media Burnout. [weblog]. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/2015-03-06/how-avoid-social-media-burnout

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Schwartz, M. (2010). The usage of facebook as it relates to narcissism, self-esteem and loneliness (Order No. 3415681). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (734599893). Retrieved fromhttp://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/734599893?accountid=15182

The Social and Psychological Impact of Online Social Networking (pp. 7). (2010). Melbourne, Australia : Australian Psychology Society.
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