Cross-Cultural Comparison of Adolescents' Online Self-Presentation Strategies: Turkey and the United States

Cross-Cultural Comparison of Adolescents' Online Self-Presentation Strategies: Turkey and the United States

Nevfel Boz (Children's Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles, Department of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, USA & Department of Media and Communication, Social Science University of Ankara, Ankara, Turkey), Yalda T. Uhls (Children's Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles, Common Sense Media & Department of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, USA) and Patricia M. Greenfield (Children's Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles & Department of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.2016070101
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Abstract

Studying how social network site (SNS) users from different countries present themselves is crucial for inquiring into the dynamics of culture and youth. This study of 100 adolescents age 14-18 (Mage= 15.90, SD = .1.48) was designed to determine whether cultural differences between adolescents in the U.S. and Turkey would manifest themselves in their online self-presentation strategies on Facebook. Snowball sampling was used to reach U.S. and Turkish adolescents (50 participants from each country) who were using Facebook. The study provides novel insights into how adolescents from each country, in relation to its specific cultural framework, display certain kinds of self-presentation strategies. By coding Facebook profiles of adolescents, the authors found that the sharpest cross-cultural contrast was found in the frequency of the self-promotion strategy, which was more frequent in the United States. There was also a significant difference in use of exemplification strategy between the two countries; it was more widely used in Turkey. The high level of the ingratiation strategy in both countries may reflect the importance of “likes” in the Internet culture. There was also a significant cross-national difference in the ingratiation strategy, which U.S. teens used more. Finally, the authors also found a low level of use of the intimidation and supplication strategies in both countries. The study highlights the importance of self-exploration in constructing identities that conform to desirable cultural roles.
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Theoretical Background

We turn to Goffman’s dramaturgy theory (1959) as the lens through which to examine online self-presentation. Self-presentation can be defined as a process through which individuals transmit their image to others (Jones & Pittman, 1982; Leary 1996; Leary & Kowalski, 1990). Goffman argues that the primary motivation in self-presentation is to present an idealized image of self that conforms to cultural expectations. Just as an actor’s desire for a standing ovation motivates him/her to perform according to the audience’s feedback, ordinary individuals too, are eager to present a certain identity and presentation based on the feedback they get from others in their society. This is why Goffman argues that an individual’s most important desire is to successfully present the ideal role they think is fit for them in their society (Goffman, 1959).

In order to create the desired impression for an audience, individuals need to strategically control the information that they disclose (Leary 1996; Leary & Kowalski, 1990). In other words, self-presentation provides a link between the self and others; it represents how they view themselves and how they want to be viewed by others (Baumeister, 1982; Leary & Kowalski, 1990). In general, people engage in self-presentation in order to obtain social and material benefits, such as identity validation, power, friendship, or financial benefits (Jones & Pittman, 1982; Leary 1996; Leary & Kowalski, 1990).

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