Social Media Society: The Influence of Social Media Use and Expertise on Perceived Social Acceptance and Outspokenness
Although previous research has explored the relationship between social media use and well-being, many studies are contradictory of each other and conclude varying findings relating to social media use and outspokenness. This study explores the relationship between active and passive social media use, perceived social media expertise, and outspokenness using the potentially mediating variable of perceived social acceptance. 162 participants, recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and ASU’s SONA systems, completed a survey relating to their own use of social media, perceived social acceptance, and outspokenness. Contradictory to my first hypotheses, no significant correlations were found between social media use and social media expertise. However, correlation analyses revealed that active social media use is related to an increased amount of perceived social media expertise (r = 0.23, p < .004). Perceived social media expertise was significantly positively correlated with outspokenness (r = 0.19, p < 0.015); however, it was not correlated with perceived social acceptance. When examining these relationships separately by gender, a strong association was found for males between active social media use and outspokenness, whereas passive social media use and outspokenness were negatively correlated for females. The results of this study add to previous research in the field of social media and outspokenness and lend new ideas for future research on these topics, such as exploring the gender differences that are associated with these variables. Further research in the area is needed for a more complete understanding of how one’s social media use affects his/her outspokenness and how gender modifies these effects.