Exploring the effects of self-esteem on self-presentation and consumption on Instagram
Self-esteem is one contributing factor to a person’s self-presentation in accordance to their perceived contextual expectations. The theory of self-presentation compares life to a stage on which people perform and engage in impression management to display their best selves. The introduction of social media has created an online world in which social networking sites (SNS) possess sub-cultures that promote self-expression that reflect how people present themselves on, and use, social media. Instagram is among the most popular social media apps in the world and provides users with a public platform on which to perform for their audience. While the literature has indicated that Instagram consumption both positively and negatively affects users’ self-esteem, the role self-esteem plays in online use and self-presentation remains unclear and is the focus of this research study. Through a mixed methodology including interviews, a questionnaire, and Instagram profile reviews, 127 participants responded to an online survey or participated in interviews specifically created for this study with the purpose of gaining insight into their self-esteem level and Instagram consumption and self-presentation behaviours. The findings suggest that there is a weak correlation between users’ self-esteem and Instagram self-presentation. However, it provided insight into other influential factors of self-presentation on user profiles and Instagram consumption, which could serve for future research into how everyone’s unique social media profiles can be utilized and studied to support their mental health.