Facebook friends don’t necessarily indicate popularity

Over 80 students and community members gathered Thursday to hear Dr. Daniel DeNeui lecture about how the rise of social networking and other technology has affected the way we communicate.

“We’ve added in the last 20 years at least six ubiquitous forms of communication,” said DeNeui before the lecture, “Almost half of all Americans 12 and up have a social networking profile. It’s a fundamental difference in the way we interact with people.”

DeNeui’s lecture is the third in the university’s “On Being Human” series, and focused mainly on the impact of Facebook on human interaction. He conducted two studies, the first explored how personality traits affect Facebook use and the second studied how Facebook facilitates self-presentation.

DeNeui’s first study of 176 participants studied if Facebook use affected loneliness or life satisfaction, and if personality traits affected Facebook usage. The study didn’t find any strong correlations, and was somewhat inconclusive.

The study did find however that the more friends you have, the more popular you are and the less likely you are to be lonely. Popularity peaks, however, at 302 friends, and decreases steadily from there. According to Facebook, the average user has 120 friends.

DeNeui’s second study of 222 participants studied how Facebook facilitates self-presentation. DeNeui refers to this as “impression management”, or the tendency to promote what puts us in a favorable light.

“The way you set up your profile, the pictures you post, the pictures you don’t post, ” said DeNeui, “Social networking allows us to do impression management much more efficiently than in the past.”

DeNeui talked about how traditional impression management strategies such as self-disclosure, ingratiation, mimicking, self-handicapping, and sandbagging all existed on Facebook.

“If we’re always connected we’re more likely to spend time in that ‘objective me’ state,” DeNeui concluded, “Some argue that this is what sets us apart from other species. We’ve added this whole extra layer of self presenting that wasn’t there before.”

The next lecture in SOU’s “On Being Human” series is being given by Dr. Todd Carney and is called “Homo Homini Lupus: War In The Modern World”.

The lecture will be held Feb. 10 in the Meese Auditorium at 7 p.m. and will focus on the impact of war in modern society.



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