Critical Review: The Linkage of the Self-Concept to Social Media

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Technology plays a vital role in the present generation. Majority of tasks and activities people do today are aided by various forms of technology. Some of which include doing laundry by using a washing machine, accomplishing school or work responsibilities through the utilization of online applications, and interacting with other people by making use of handheld devices. The possible primary reason why people intertwine their lives with technology is the efficiency brought upon by this branch of science. Consequently, the deepening involvement of the self to the new technological environment, especially in the platform of social media, caused individuals to create or manipulate social selves. Since the social self is a component of the overall self, it can be inferred that whatever affects the social self also affects the overall self; which then can lead to self-concept and self presentation changes. Thus, acquiring linkage between the self and social media.


Mead’s (1934) theory regarding the social self is greatly evident to Jones’ (2015) study regarding self-concept changes due to social media practices. George Herbert Mead (1934) specified that the self is composed of two variables which are the “I” and “Me”. The “I” portion of the self focuses on the individuality or autonomy of the person itself. While the “Me” part of the self primarily circulates on the different social interactions a person experiences. These two components work hand in hand in developing the self. Therefore, any internal or external forces experienced by any of the two variables can also have an effect on the other; which later on can affect the overall self and self-concept. This phenomena can be directly related to Cooley’s (1902) looking glass self; a theory that suggests that social experiences and interactions take part in building up one’s self or self-concept. Since social media is a brand new platform wherein an individual can gather comments or reactions from other people, Jones studied whether these interactions cause effects on the self-concept development. Conclusively, she was able to determine that the social media environment can affect the “Me” or social part of the self; thus, confirming self or self-concept changes.

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Another research similar with Jones’ (2015) study is Hogan’s (2010) investigation on self presentation in social media. The discussion circulated on the process of forming one’s self presentation through performances and exhibitions. Performances and exhibitions were defined as execution of selected actions to the person’s environment (Goofman, 1959). Individuals choose to manipulate their actions in order to achieve the desired impression they want their peers to have. It can be inferred that this kind of utilization involves the self-concept since it is a redefinition of the self, may it be actions or attitudes. Therefore, self-concept is changed for improved self presentation in social media.

Bernie Hogan’s (2010) study was also able to present the idea why people want good self presentation in social media. Similar with Seidman’s (2012) research, both papers were able to deduce that people strive for better self presentation to achieve belongingness in their society. The eagerness to acquire belongingness in a group is a common feeling because humans are naturally social beings. Again, the self-concept is changed in order to achieve the desired self presentation in different social media groups and achieve that sense of belongingness. Furthermore, people strive for belongingness in order to gain various connections from different people (Hussain, 2012).


The social self is the one primarily concerned with the experiences and interactions with the society. Since the social self (“Me”) is a vital part of the overall self, changes acquired by the social self affects the overall self; and the branch directly affected by these changes is the self-concept. In the specific environment of social media, the self-concept is manipulated in order to achieve better self presentation. Self presentation assists in delivering and maintaining a good impression to the audience present in one’s community. Additionally, changes in self-concept and self presentation help in obtaining belongingness and connections with the person’s environment or society.

After critically reviewing various papers regarding the relationship of the self and social media, I was able to further understand how one’s environment and society can affect the self. Additionally, I was also able to comprehend that the different parts of the self interlink with each other in order to achieve the full identity of the self.


  1. Cooley, C.H. (1902). Human nature and the social order. New York, NY: Scribner’s Sons.
  2. Goofman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York, NY: Anchor Books.
  3. Hogan, B. (2010). The presentation of self in the age of social media: Distinguishing performances and exhibitions online. Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society, 30(6), 377-386. doi: 10.1177/0270467610385893.
  4. Hussain, I. (2012). A study to evaluate the social media trends among university students. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 64, 639-645. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.11.075.
  5. Jones, J. (2015). The looking glass lens: Self-concept changes due to social media practices. The Journal of Social Media in Society, 4(1), 100-125. Retrieved from
  6. Mead, G. (1934). Mind, self, and society. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
  7. Seidman, G. (2012). Self-presentation and belonging on Facebook: How personality influences social media use and motivations. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(3), 402-407. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.10.009.
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Critical Review: The Linkage of the Self-Concept to Social Media. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
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