What do they think of me? A comparison of US and Thai students’ beliefs about others’ perception of their Facebook life

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Chalisa Magpanthong Drew McDaniel


     Facebook provides users a platform to present themselves to the world, a presentation that can be quite different from reality. An important unanswered question concerns the beliefs that users have about what others think of their Facebook online self—do they believe others have specific perceptions, perhaps positive or negative, of them as a result of observing their profile and postings? Four hundreds and ten students from two universities in the U.S. and Thailand participated in the survey. Using a 15-item semantic differential scale on self-presentation, we found that on every item, US students reported a greater discrepancy than Thai students between their real self and their online self, that is, US students always presenting themselves more positively on Facebook than their real self. Also, it was found that when students offered online presentations more favorable than their actual self, they tended to exhibit higher well-being. And finally, it was found that as the discrepancy between the way students presented themselves online and the way they were seen by others grew larger, they tended to report lower well-being scores.


Article Details

Research Articles
Author Biography

Drew McDaniel, Ohio University

Professor, Dr. Drew McDaniel received his doctoral degree in Mass Communication from the School of Radio Television, Ohio University. He received his Master’s degree in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Denver and his bachelor’s degree in Radio and Television from the University of Idaho. He has served as Director of the Southeast Asian Studies Program, Ohio University, and as Director, Center for International Studies, Ohio University. For many years he also served as consultant to the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development, Kuala Lumpur. Among his book publications are Fundamentals of Communication Electronics; Electronic Tigers of Southeast Asia: The Politics of Media, Technology and National Development; Broadcasting in the Malay World: Culture, Conflict, and Accommodation. At present, he is Director of the School of Media Arts & Studies, Ohio University.


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