Introduction Social media has become a relatively new method of communication since the 1990’s and most of the general public is not sure what impacts this style of communication has on our adolescents and young adults growing up in this era. This researcher believes it has influence both positively and negatively. Personality type and narcissism are a factor to be considered, as well as level of self-esteem. “Individuals higher in narcissism and lower in self-esteem are involved in greater amounts of online activity.” (Mehdizadeh, 2010, p.1).
There are conflicting findings among researchers and may provide for a healthy debate as to whether the use of social media positively impacts the social experiences and well-being, or is a detriment to the future mental health of this generation as they become young adults. For those who are unable to meet the human need for social interaction, inclusion, and affection in person, there is a potential for them to try to fulfill the need artificially through social media. The quality of interactions and depth of personal relationship is shallow using this media at best. In past generations, teens and college students gathered in central locations such as the mall, sporting events, or friend’s homes. This generation may have been over-scheduled with extra-curricular activities, the rigorous demands of academic performance, and may resort to social interaction that is one-dimensional with minimal interactivity. This study seeks to understand who is using social media to help fulfill the social need that human’s possess, whether it be extraverts or introverts, and of high or low self-esteem.
Research Questions & Hypothesis RQ 1: Are personality types and level of self-esteem indicators of the likelihood for participation of social media? HO1: Persons with a lower level of self-esteem, regardless of personality type will communicate using social media venues more than persons of higher levels of self-esteem. Because social media is a one-dimensional type of communication venue, people can post or comment without fear of the awkward, uncomfortable response that is felt when communication in person. This media offers a sort of comfort by this person that isn’t often perceived otherwise. Those with higher levels of self-esteem, both introverts and extraverts, have accepted their shortcomings, and may not give credit to other’s ill-perception of them. They are not as likely to use social media as frequently because they are socially interacting via other venues.
Sample Participants and Delimitations
The participants of this study will include teens and college students from Collin County, Texas, which is considered to be mid-to-upper income families. This area has a large population of this age group and abundance of schools in which the study can be conducted. This age group has had widely known adaption rate to social networking sites. “73% of wired American teens now use social networking websites.” (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith & Zickuhr, 2010, p.1)
The criteria selected by this researcher for the sample population include:
1. Subjects will be between the ages of 14-24.
2. Subject must be willing to designate one gender type.
3. Subject must attend school full time (minimum of 12-hour course load for college students).
4. Subject must participate in social media activity at least once per week on average of the course of a year.
5. Subject must be willing to complete a 10-minute anonymous survey.
The questionnaire requires information about gender, age, frequency of social media activity, and type of social media used. The description of the participant’s personality, self-esteem, and reaction to participant’s posts by social media followers will also be asked in the material. The survey will be composed of closed-ended questions to identify the