Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
The Faces of Facebookers: Investigating Social Enhancement and Social Compensation Hypotheses; Predicting FacebookTM and Ofﬂine Popularity from Sociability and Self-Esteem, and Mapping the Meanings of Popularity with Semantic Networks
Jolene Zywica James Danowski
University of Illinois, Chicago
This research investigates two competing hypotheses from the literature: 1) the Social Enhancement (‘‘Rich Get Richer’’) hypothesis that those more popular ofﬂine augment their popularity by increasing it on Facebookä, and 2) the ‘‘Social Compensation’’ (‘‘Poor Get Richer’’) hypothesis that users attempt to increase their Facebookä popularity to compensate for inadequate ofﬂine popularity. Participants (n= 614) at a large, urban university in the Midwestern United States completed an online survey. Results are that a subset of users, those more extroverted and with higher self-esteem, support the Social Enhancement hypothesis, being more popular both ofﬂine and on Facebookä. Another subset of users, those less popular ofﬂine, support the Social Compensation hypotheses because they are more introverted, have lower self-esteem and strive more to look popular on Facebookä. Semantic network analysis of open-ended responses reveals that these two user subsets also have different meanings for ofﬂine and online popularity. Furthermore, regression explains nearly twice the variance in ofﬂine popularity as in Facebookä popularity, indicating the latter is not as socially grounded or deﬁned as ofﬂine popularity. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.01429.x
The importance of online behaviors to individual users, and the implications at various levels of analysis through the societal, has drawn much attention from social researchers since the development of the Internet (Jones, 1994, 1997, 1998; Turkle, 1995, 2007). Recently, research on social networking sites (SNSs), such as...