Self-Comparison: The Self in Digital World

Self-Comparison: The Self in Digital World

Clara Moningka (Gunadarma University, Indonesia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1856-3.ch002
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In this chapter, the author is interested in studying more about self-comparison through social media; especially in Jakarta, Indonesia. In Indonesia, social media are commonly used and widely used by various groups. As many as 93% of Internet users in Indonesia are accessing Facebook. Jakarta is even referred as the capital of a text-based social media. The use of social media can be influenced by the collective culture in Indonesia. In this case social media is not just a tool but also the social environment, in which social interaction occurs. This is also influences how individuals view themselves. The topic of the psychological effects of social media has been much discussed. A lot of research conducted on the effect of social on development of self-concept and including self-esteem. Social media becoming a place for comparing oneself to others and it turn out it has a great effect.
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Mashall McLuhan, communication theorist, coined the phrase, “the medium is the message” (Steers, Wickham, & Acitelli, 2014). Steers and colleagues stated that McLuhan did not mean to imply that individuals should ignore messages communicated through a certain medium, but that people should not only be aware of a medium’s obvious properties but also be aware of how it subtly influences culture. He argued that important technological advances have the potential to become extensions of the people using them and, in turn, may redefine human interactions.

The use of social media is growing rapidly worldwide. Brenner and Smith (2014) found that Facebook and Twitters were the most popular social media websites among Indonesian emerging adults. Facebook is the most popular social media all over the world (Steers et al., 2014). Social media is used by various age groups. Kimbrough, Guadagno, Muscannel, and Dill (2013) argue that social media users usually are young people, especially women. Statistics showed that the biggest users groups of Facebook are teens and emerging adults; young emerging adults over the age of 18 years occupy 42% of total users, followed by the older emerging adults aged 25-34 years at 21% (Sandra 2012). Kemp (2011) suggested that Indonesian internet users are some of the most social people on earth and Indonesian youth see social media as an everyday necessity. These youths will readily sacrifice other ‘luxuries’ to ensure their phones have sufficient credit to access mobile data. Indonesian youths between the ages of 13 and 24 years old have the highest level of interactions through the internet when compared to other cohorts. Comparing these youths, Indonesian emerging adults are the highest users of social media. Arnett (2006) defines emerging adulthood as a specific phase around the ages of 18 to 25. Emerging adulthood is characterized by instability and the search for stability and transition. The transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood is a crucial period in the formation of self-concept.

Self is an important part of human. The self relates to how we see ourselves and it also helps us to adapt to the environment. It is formed from the interaction between the potential that exists within us and within the environment. The environment might include parenting style, schools, neighborhoods, and the peer group. The digital world is becoming part of our environment. This aim of this chapter is to examine how the effects of social media on the self. The use of social media is massively increasing. This phenomenon can affect the formation of self. Social media allows people to easily view, access, and know information about other people's lives. It can also lead to upward or downward self-comparison. This comparison can affect how we see ourselves. This is the concern of this chapter, particularly in relation to social media use.

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