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In their study “Social networking online and personality of self worth: a meta-analysis,” Dong Liu and Roy F. Baumeister analyze the effects social media and social networking has on certain aspects of human behavior, as shown by several studies. The first aspect described in this meta -analysis discusses the effects of social networking systems on communication between people (Liu, Baumeister). They discuss the presentation of personal information online and how that is what the majority of SNS, social networking site, is used for (Liu, Baumeister). That entire idea relates to the fact that people can obtain information about one another via the internet instantaneously, which eliminates the need for conversation. This, as Kross found, would be extremely appealing to more introverted and potentially lonelier people.
To continue, this idea relates to the other research, Schlenker and Leary’s research, that Liu and Baumeister talk about because Schlenker and Leary explain that people who are held back by fear and anxiety might spend more time online because they are behind a screen, rather than with people (Liu, Baumeister). They express that, in regards to those dealing with social anxiety, “SNS solve this problem to some extent for them,” because they are able to interact with others through anonymity (Liu, Baumeister). Furthermore, the Liu and Baumeister analyze the different behaviors on SNS and the different forms of usage that were measured in the different research studies that led to their meta-analysis. There are five ways in which people interact with SNS that they discuss, which are the total amount of activity one uses on SNS, the status updates, or “verbal disclosures about oneself,” one on one interactions between people via SNS, the posting of pictures on social media, and dinally, the declaration of being friends on platforms, such as facebook (Liu, Baumeister).
Additionally, Liu and Baumeister discuss narcissism and utilize several studies to see how SNS and narcissism are related. They describe narcissism as “a pervasive pattern of grandiose self-view, need for admiration, and an excessive preoccupation with oneself,” a definition created by Campbell, Rudich, and Sidelkis (Liu, Baumeister). They also use Raskin, Novacek, and Hogan’s idea that narcissism is connected to “superiority over others” (Liu Baumeister). It was predicted that the use of SNS would correspond positively with narcissism and that many aspects of SNS would appeal to narcissists, specifically the fact that it would allow them to gain the attention that they seed from a large number of people (Bergman, Fearrington, Davenport, and Bergman, 2011; Buffardi & Campbell).
Liu and Baumeister deduced in this meta-analysis that SNS is likely to entice many narcissists because it would allow them to display themselves in any manner they choose and it garners attention from a large number of people. Similarly, Liu and baumeister summarize the relationship between SNS and self esteem and loneliness. There were conflicting ideas as far as self esteem goes. On one hand, Liu and Baumeister learned from Crozier and Leary that many people with lower self esteem and potential anxiety disorders may use SNS as a way to meet people “without many of the threatening aspects of social interaction” (Liu, Baumeister). And so, those with low self-esteem would be more likely to be drawn to using SNS to achieve social interactions. On the other hand, however, Liu and Baumeister stated that people with lower self esteem may use SNS in ways other than for social interaction. Those with low self-esteem may also possibly utilize SNS in order to gain information about others, but not interact with them (Liu, Baumeister). Similarly, this meta-analysis discussed the relationship between loneliness and SNS.
Overall, it was discovered that “loneliness motivates SNS use,” which ties into the idea that shier or less socially activated people may be more prompted to use it (Liu, Baumeister). Engaging in SNS would seemingly fulfill the social needs for people despite never actually taking part in human relation. Moreover, in order to create this meta-analysis and discuss the aforementioned findings about SNS and human behavior, Liu and Baumeister studied extensive research and had several methods for processing such. The two went throughout articles of several studies and read through literature of the topic, then weeded out any irrelevant topics and kept only what adhered to the criteria (Liu and Baumeister).
Additionally, from the studies that they used, there were several parts of the results that they had to further explore when forming their conclusions. This includes biases that they had to factor in, specifically gender differences and cultural differences (Liu and Baumeister). For example, “the findings showed that the studies with a greater proportion of women had marginally significant smaller effect sizes of general SNS use with narcissism,” and “the studies conducted under Western culture had smaller effect sizes of general SNS use with self esteem” (Liu and Baumeister). These ideas would have effects on the results of each of the studies, and so, would have to be taken into account within their discussions and conclusion. Therefore, after discussing the many moving parts of the research they studied, Liu and Baumeister were able to gain a better understanding of the psychology and behavior behind social networking.
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