Face to Face(book): Users' Traits and Motivations and Effects of Facebook Use on Well-Being

Face to Face(book): Users' Traits and Motivations and Effects of Facebook Use on Well-Being

Daniela Crisan (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7401-1.ch003
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This chapter discusses personality traits of Facebook users, how personality traits and motivations explain Facebook use, and the potential beneficial and detrimental effects of Internet usage, in general, and online social networking sites usage, in particular, on social and psychological well-being. First, the author provides short definitions of concepts such as social media and Social Network Sites (SNS). Next, the author describes Nadkarni and Hofmann's (2012) two-factor model of motives associated with Facebook use, including the need to belong and the need for self-presentation. Afterwards, a literature review of the most cited studies on the association between Facebook use and personality traits, as conceptualized by the Big Five Model (Costa & McCrae, 1992), is provided, followed by research on the relationships between Facebook use and psychological dimensions, such as self-esteem, loneliness, narcissism, self-worth, and depression and suicide. Finally, conclusions are drawn and final remarks are made.
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From its humble beginning in 2004 to over 1 billion active users world-wide, Facebook has become a unique social phenomenon at the global level. Facebook’s unique characteristics, the rapid growth of its use as a distribution medium and as a form of communication, the power and potential it has to change social behavior, and the impact it has on its users at a psychological level, are topics of constant debate amongst specialists. Given the complexity of Facebook phenomenon and its rapid growth, we, as individuals who aim at understanding it, seem to always find ourselves a few steps behind it, regardless of the position we stand on or our expertise in the field.

The Facebook phenomenon needs to be approached scientifically, like any other phenomenon that influences human behavior. Scholars from a wide variety of disciplines (ranging from psychology, sociology and economics, to management, marketing and computer-mediated communication) have recognized the impact of Facebook on human behavior (Wilson, Gosling, & Graham, 2012).

This chapter aims to discuss the findings of the past eight years’ literature on personality characteristics of Facebook users, findings that might ease our understanding of the reasons why so many people are incorporating Facebook in their everyday activities.

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