Social Media and Self-Esteem

By | June 24, 2017

social media and self-esteem essay sample

Past studies in the field of media and social identity provided sound evidence to the impact produced by mass media on societies worldwide. Television became the first media communication channel that manipulated people’s attention to distract them from considering important things. Television appeared an efficient instrument is raising people’s tolerance for materialism and violence. Like traditional media, social media produce short- and long-term effect on individuals, communities, and societies. However, while media creates a one-way direct effect promoting certain attitudes and actions in the audience, social media is characterized by a two-way direct effect, which implies that sources of social media affect user minds, who create content for social media (Acar, 2014).

It has been empirically proved that expose to social media influences individual attitudes, behavior, and cognition, which constitutes the overall decision-making process. Non-arguably, individual’s sensitivity to social media effects depend individual differences, demographic differences, and personality traits. Self-esteem is one of the core traits regarded as drivers of individual behavior, including variation in media adoption and exposure-related effects acquired. While the adequate use of social media contributes to individual self-esteem, excessive use produces the contrary outcomes of lower self- and body-esteem (Acar, 2014). The impact of social networking on self-esteem is different across cultures. Although North American people are the most obsessive user of social media, their self-esteem rates are higher than those of Japanese users are. Scholars explain this fact by a direct relationship between self-esteem and self-efficacy, which, in its turn, depends on the ease-of-use concept. Thus, a handy and user-friendly social media environment of North America contributes to user’s self-efficacy and correspondingly self-esteem (Amoroso, Mukahi, and Ogawa, 2014).

However, these promising outcomes of social media use in North America lose their value within a single socio-cultural environment of North America. According to the recent findings, young people and adolescents spend a disproportionate amount of time on social network sites, which reduces their in-person communication and interaction with peers, boosts self-obsession, and impairs self-esteem. Public surveys report dramatic outcomes of the extensive use of social media, namely greater levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, envy, and narcissism. Besides, empirical research provided evidence to a substantial reduction in social skills caused by the prevalence of online communication practices. As a result, social media users ignore their real-world life with its opportunities and issues for the sake of observing lives of others or presenting one’s life in the most favorable way. In the effort to create an impressive profile on a social network site, individuals lose their uniqueness by coping interests, pastimes, and lives of others (Silva, 2017).

Generally, social media are an excellent alternative channel of communication that enables regular interactions between people regardless of spatial and geographical barriers. Social media allow uniting people into groups and networks by common interests and needs to stay abreast of the latest trends. They are also beneficial for developing intercultural skills and competence learning cultures and traditions of users living abroad. Besides, positive feedback of social network users on individual profile increases self-esteem and confidence of a person (Valkenburg, Peter, and Schoutten, 2006). Unfortunately, positive feedbacks are not that popular and widespread within social media, where people try to use any opportunity for self-assertion. Thus, negative reactions to individual profile, post, or blog are more widespread within social media. While positive feedback contributes to self-esteem, negative feedback produces damage on self-esteem, life satisfaction, and well-being (Valkenburg, Peter, and Schoutten, 2006). In line with the above-stated arguments, public surveys provide negative statistics on the impact produced by social media on self-esteem. Most people associated the use of social network sites with lower self-esteem, poorer relationships, and higher insecurity to being deceived (Silva, 2017). In addition, most social media users report their mental and emotional problems experienced in the absence of Internet or Wi-Fi zone, as they feel dissatisfied when deprived of their online life.


Acar, A., 2014. Culture and social media: An elementary textbook. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Amoroso, D. L., Mukahi, T., and Ogawa, M., 2014. Impact of general social media experience on usefulness for businesses in the workplace. In I. Lee, ed. 2014. Integrating social media into business practice, applications, management, and models. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. Ch. 2.

Silva, C., 2017. Social media’s impact on self-esteem. Huffpost, [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 June 2017].

Valkenburg, P. M., Peter, J., and Schouten, A. P., 2006. Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents’ well-being and social self-esteem. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 9(5), pp. 584-590.

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