Taking the Good with the Bad

Effects of Facebook Self-Presentation on Emotional Well-Being

Authored by: Catalina L. Toma

The Routledge Handbook of Media Use and Well-Being

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138886582
eBook ISBN: 9781315714752
Adobe ISBN: 9781317501954


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Self-presentation is the act of strategically revealing, concealing, and editing the self, sometimes deceptively, in order to convey a desired impression to an audience (Leary & Kowalski, 1990). For instance, people routinely attempt to come across as competent to bosses, witty or entertaining to friends, or physically attractive to romantic interests. As these examples show, self-presentation has an explicit social function, in that people attempt to exert interpersonal influence by convincing audiences of their qualities. Additionally, self-presentation has a less obvious but essential identity construction function, in that people figure out who they are and how they feel about themselves by crafting public images and observing their audience’s responses (Schlenker, Dlugolecki, & Doherty, 1994; see also the chapter by Slater and Cohen in this volume for a discussion of the effects of fictional media content on media users’ self-concept). Indeed, attempting to impress an audience has been shown to induce changes in people’s self-concepts and self-esteem (e.g., Kelly & Rodriguez, 2006; Tice, 1992).

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