alexa Thefaces of facebookers: investigating social enhancement and social compensation hypotheses; predicting facebook™ and offline popularity from sociability and self-esteem, and mapping the meanings of popularity with semantic networks.
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Jolene Zywica, James Danowski

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This research investigates two competing hypotheses from the literature: 1) the Social Enhancement (“Rich Get Richer”) hypothesis that those more popular offline augment their popularity by increasing it on Facebook™, and 2) the “Social Compensation” (“Poor Get Richer”) hypothesis that users attempt to increase their Facebook™ popularity to compensate for inadequate offline popularity. Participants (n= 614) at a large, urban university in the Midwestern United States completed an online survey. Results are that a subset of users, those more extroverted and with higher self-esteem, support the Social Enhancement hypothesis, being more popular both offline and on Facebook™. Another subset of users, those less popular offline, support the Social Compensation hypotheses because they are more introverted, have lower self-esteem and strive more to look popular on Facebook™. Semantic network analysis of open-ended responses reveals that these two user subsets also have different meanings for offline and online popularity. Furthermore, regression explains nearly twice the variance in offline popularity as in Facebook™ popularity, indicating the latter is not as socially grounded or defined as offline popularity.

This article was published in J ComputMediatCommun and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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