Online Self-Presentation Strategies Among Social Networking Sites' Users in the United Arab Emirates

Online Self-Presentation Strategies Among Social Networking Sites' Users in the United Arab Emirates

Azza Abdel-Azim M. Ahmed (Zayed University, UAE & Cairo University, Egypt)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3355-0.ch010
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This study explored the strategies of self-presentation (ingratiation, supplication, and enhancement) among United Arab Emirates users (n=230) of popular social networking sites (SNS). The size of social networks, degree of network connectivity, and perceptions of self-presentation success were examined. The results indicated a significant positive correlation between the frequency of SNS use and ingratiation and enhancement strategies. Greater diversity of online friends among the respondents was positively associated with the perception of online self-presentation success. Males and females differed in the size of the online social network they interacted with, diversity of online friends, and preferred self-presentation strategies. However, no significant gender differences were found in the levels of network connectivity and perceptions of self-presentation success.
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Internet-based social networking platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter are often considered innovative. In contrast with traditional media such as radio, film, and television, they allow for information sharing and social interaction (Pempek, Yermolayeva & Calvert, 2009). Social networking sites (SNS) offer users a degree of connection with others, relational satisfaction, and a way to learn about the surrounding culture (Croucher, 2011). Unlike traditional media, they support many-to-many communication modes, where information presented by each participant reaches many recipients at a time. Rather than viewing mass-produced content, with social networking sites, users become the creators of their own content. They also become the “stars” of their own productions (Pempek et al., 2009). Moreover, social media offer the potential to promote those opportunities, communicate with youth, and eventually facilitate positive youth development (Lee & Horsley, 2017).

New opportunities for self-presentation and impression management offered by SNS allow users to create custom pages and report personal information strategically. Users can interact in a variety of communication modes using plain text, posting status updates, writing comments on friends’ pages, and sharing images (Rui & Stefanone, 2013). As noted by Boyd (2007), SNS are based around a “profile,” a form of individual (or, less frequently group) home page, which offers a description of each member. In addition to text, images, and video created by a member, a social network site profile contains comments from other members, and a public list of people that one identifies as “friends” within the network. Member profiles are usually identified by participants’ real names and often include photographs; thus, the network of connections is displayed as an integral piece of one’s online self-presentation (Donath & Boyd, 2004).

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