ASIS&T 2013 Annual Meeting 
Montréal, Québec, Canada | November 1-5, 2013

The Show Must Go On: The Presentation of Self during Interpersonal Conflict on Facebook

Jinyoung Kim, University of Maryland
June Ahn, University of Maryland

Tuesday, 3:30pm


This study examines the presentation of self on Facebook by looking at user perceptions and behavior in times of conflict. Through semi-structured interviews with Facebook members, we examined users’ perceptions of Facebook as a front stage for social performance as well as the context of conflicts that they experience on Facebook. The findings show that interviewees experience conflicts when they encounter unexpected behaviors from peers that disturb their “performances” on Facebook. Violated norms activate different coping mechanisms, and interviewees often considered the goal of self-presentation when adopting coping mechanisms during online conflicts. We also found that transitions in life situations were related to the heightened concerns of self-presentation. Our study sheds light on the nature of conflicts occurring on Facebook and contributes to our understanding of a user’s decision-making process in pursuing the dual goals of impression management and interpersonal relationship maintenance.