Cultural Similarities and Differences of Social Comparison on Instagram
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Communication Undergraduate Research Theses; 2017
Instagram is a photo-sharing application that has gained great popularity among young adults. Its affordances of visibility and connectivity can simulate social comparison behaviors and thus influence its users. Using in-depth interviews and qualitative analysis, the current study sought to investigate cultural similarities and differences of social comparison on Instagram and identify possible factors that shape people’s comparison behaviors. Responses showed that during social comparison, (a) American participants were mainly motivated by the needs of strengthening connections and enhancing self-images while Chinese participants were motivated by the desires of self-evaluation and following popular trends. (b) American participants tended to engage in similar comparison with close friends and downward comparison with acquaintances. Chinese participants were likely to do similar comparison with close friends but upward comparison with acquaintances and Instagram influencers. (c) After comparing with others, American participants experienced self-adjustment and self-enhancement. Chinese participants engaged in self-adjustment but self-improvement.
Academic Major: Communication
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