Regretting that time I posted to Doritos’ Facebook page

By Guest Author AJ Schock, adrianne.schock found on

I am certain that everyone has posted something online that they regret. Statistics have shown that 11-46% of adolescents have reported experiencing online regret after sharing content on the Internet.

In the article about online regret, Dhir et al. focused on two main research topics. First, they examined the relationship between Social Networking Sites’ (SNS) brand participation, technology accessibility, and the regret experience and problematic use of Facebook. The second involved the relative influence of SNS’ brand participation, technology accessibility, and the problematic use of Facebook in predicting regrettable online experiences.

In four different cities in Northern India, 804 adolescent (aged 13 to 14 years old) Facebook users were given a pencil-and-paper survey in class on four separate concepts:

  1. Online regret: Did the student feel sad after spending an immense amount of time on Facebook? Was their schoolwork affected by their time spent on Facebook? The students’ answers were measured on a 5-point scale with ‘1’ being strongly disagree and ‘5’ being strongly agree
  2. SNS brand participation: Did the student feel that by participating in discussions on Facebook, brand pages gave them a sense of belonging to said brands? The students’ answers were measured on a 5-point scale with ‘1’ being strongly disagree and ‘5’ being strongly agree.
  3. Technology accessibility: Students reported how they accessed Facebook by answering whether or not they owned a cell phone, had a mobile Internet connection and an Internet connection at home. This measure also dealt with the frequency and excessive use of Facebook.
  4. Problematic Facebook use: Students reported their self-reflections of their own problematic Facebook use, their teachers, parents, and friends’ thoughts about the student’s problematic Facebook use, and conflicts with their parents and friends due to their problematic Facebook use. The students’ answers were measured as unproblematic, low problem level, medium problem level, and high problem level.

Dhir and colleagues found that students with and without home and mobile Internet had the same amount of regrettable online experiences while students with cell phones experienced higher online regret than those without. They determined adolescent brand participation results in online regret. The authors suggested that a possible reason for this is that adolescents are currently captivated with popular brands.  An internal need exists for adolescents to connect with these brands by following the brands on Facebook or participating in a discussion on these pages.

Why would research on brands and regrettable online experiences be important? Branded pages on Facebook face two major problems: retaining existing members and initiating the active participation of community members. Regrettable online experiences lead to brand switching and the termination of services. Managers and administrators of these branded pages should explore different ideas to provide their community members with ways to actively participate without experiencing online regret. Active participation would lead to better ways to retrieve feedback and opinions from users while minimizing the regrettable experience.

Dhir, A., Kaur, P., Chen, S., & Lonka, K. (2016). Understanding online regret experience in Facebook use – Effects of brand participation, accessibility & problematic use. Computers in Human Behavior, 59, 420-430. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.040

Social Media as a Tool for Outreach Activities and Inclusion

By Guest Author Alyssa Korinke

Libraries have long been a space for learning and growth. In fact, social inclusion and outreach activities are considered to be the primary goal of public library services around the world. Technological advancements and Social Networking Services/Sites (SNSs) are offering new opportunities to meet these goals. While relationship building and communication opportunities through SNSs can offer promise, they can also present a dilemma. How do libraries harness these methods to further outreach and inclusion practices?


3856030497_a2d2764f7c_zAbdullah, Chu, Rajagopal, Tung, and Kwong-Man sent 110 surveys to libraries around the world that indicated ongoing use of social media tools on their websites. 28 responses (25%) were received and analyzed. Of those 28 responses, 68% were academic libraries and the remaining 32% were public. Respondents were primarily categorized as Chinese speaking (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan) or non-Chinese speaking (Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK, USA). One member of each library was asked to answer a series of research questions to discover current social media practices, as well as to learn more about how these tools were working in outreach and inclusion activities.


Through the surveys and additional research, Abdullah and colleagues learned that the majority of responding libraries (22 of 28) were using two or more social media tools for a period of four years or more. The primary use for these social tools was simply to reach a broader audience for existing programs and services rather than building new programs around evolving SNSs. Current library staff often felt ill equipped to roll out new social media tactics or platforms, and just one respondent had implemented a social media plan.


One of the biggest barriers to more in-depth use of social tools was staffing. Many of the respondent libraries cited low staffing and lack of training as reasons they were not better utilizing the tools. SNSs and social media evolves at a rapid rate and as our world becomes more dependent on virtual communication, engaging digital natives becomes critical to outreach activities. These tools would be best deployed alongside continuing training and mentorship, where there is an adequate staff to maintain feeds and posting schedules. This article had a small sample size, which limits generalization.In summary, social media programs remain a need for libraries, and should be implemented with policies in place, and training scheduled for library staff.


Abdullah, N., Chu, S., Rajagopal, S., Tung, A., & Yeung, K. (2015). Exploring Libraries’ Efforts in Inclusion and Outreach Activities Using Social Media. International Journal Of Libraries & Information Services, 65(1), 34-47. doi:10.1515/libri-2014-0055


Deception in online dating

By Guest Writer Christina Arnold

Manti Te'o on sideline
Manti Te’o

On the internet, it’s easy to create an online persona that radically differs from your offline self.  When it comes to online dating, it seems even more likely that people will be deceptive about their true selves in an effort to get a date.  But are there certain attributes that make it likely that someone will exaggerate about themselves?  And how much will someone lie to score a date?

In the article “Strategic misrepresentation in online dating: The effects of gender, self-monitoring, and personality traits”, researchers examined what factors make it more likely that a person will misrepresent themselves to a potential online date.

The user of an online dating service is able to customize their profile to exactly how they want it, which may make it more likely that they  will misrepresent themselves to appear better to a potential suitor—especially because of the high amount of competition that can be found on these sites.  However, since online dating sites usually encourage face-to-face meetings early on, most users are discouraged from any blatant deception about themselves.  The anticipation of a face-to-face meeting, along with the knowledge that your profile can be saved or printed out and looked at later, helps to stop any obvious misrepresentation since it would easily (and quickly) be found out.  Because of this, any misrepresentation is usually small, and is usually explained away by the user as their desirable (and potential) ‘future self’ (for example, their ‘future self’ may be thinner or more fit than their current self).

The authors looked to evidence in Evolutionary Psychology to create hypotheses that could help predict what could lead to deception in online dating.  Evolutionary Psychology suggests that women are more likely to look for men that have more resources and are committed for the long-term.  Both of these traits show that the man is willing and able to take care of any future offspring in the long-term.  Men, on the other hand, look for women who show signs of fertility (e.g., whether they’re young and healthy).

From the surveys, the authors found that men were more inclined to lie about their personal assets (i.e., resources), personal interests, and personal attributes than women were.  Women, on average, misrepresented their weight to a higher degree while men were more likely to lie about their age (it’s safe to say that the older a man is, the more likely he is to be more financially stable and have more resources).  However, older women  tended to misrepresent their age more—which goes back, again, to the Evolutionary Psychology theory that men look for signs of fertility (like youth).  Men were also more likely to lie about characteristics that signaled they were interested in long-term relationships.

The authors also discussed the “Big 5 personality traits” that might help predict deception—neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness.  They found that extroverts lied about past relationships more (because they were more likely to have a variety of sexual encounters), but misrepresented their personal interests less.  People low in conscientiousness misrepresented more because they didn’t have a strong concern for future consequences, and those who were less open to new experiences were more likely to misrepresent themselves to look like they were more interesting.

So while, yes, there is a likelihood that a person will lie about themselves to some degree on a site, I don’t think it should turn anyone away from online dating.  Any lies that you’re told can usually be discovered upon your first face-to-face meeting with this person.

Hall, Jeffrey A., Namkee Park, Hayeon Song, and Michael J. Cody (2010). “Strategic Misrepresentation in Online Dating: The Effects of Gender, Self-monitoring, and Personality Traits.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27,: 117-35.

Ruling the Twitterverse

By Guest Author Heather Martin

Twitter is more complex than expressing love for a sandwich in 140 characters or less. Instead, the platform has evolved into a beast of influence and a tool to look at trends. The more expert users of Twitter have become Social Media Influencers (SMI). What are the traits of the people?

Four prominent social media practitioners were investigated to explore public perceptions. These selected individuals, Brian Solis, Deirdre Breakenridge, Charlene Li and Jeremiah Owyang, work in the public relations field or deal with the social interactions of corporations and consumers. Their backgrounds and photos were presented, alongside YouTube videos of their work. Utilizing the California Q-sort (CAQ), 32 college undergraduates were surveyed to analyze and quantify audience perceptions of SMIs.

The students responded to questions regarding 100 different attributes sorted into nine categories of each individual. The answers were then averaged to determine correlation. The results yielded a prototype of the SMIs and found the individuals to be “verbal, smart, ambitious, productive, and poised.” What were they not seen as? “Self-pitying, self-defeating, and lacking meaning in life.”

These SMIs profiles coincided with those of CEOs. Both are seen as obviously being leader types. But contrasts did emerge. A CEO was seen as someone who is “difficult to impress.” However, a SMI was “more likely to be sought out for advice.” This is the important piece, having the approachable characteristic and two-way interaction.

The results show that Twitter and social media matter, but their success hinges on the audience and what the interactions entail. In this study, the judges were younger and in college. Perhaps they are more likely to be receptive to perceived experts. It does present a stepping stone in a new direction for companies seeking to build ties with consumers. Twitter long ago shifted from a playful dalliance into a powerful branding tool.

Companies like Zappos are very active on Twitter when it comes to assisting their customers. I once joked that they needed a section called “Stripper Shoes” and a company representative quickly replied and suggested brands for me to check out. And I didn’t even tweet them specifically– they have a search running to track people who aren’t even addressing Zappos directly. Zappos has a good grasp and sense of fun when it comes to servicing their customers and it certainly isn’t hurting their business to suggest I check out the shoes by Promiscuous.

To stand out, CEOs and companies need to balance being approachable and having personality and not just existing as a monolith in social media.

Freberg, Karen,  Graham, Kristin, McGaughey, Karen, & Freberg, Laura A. (2011) Who are the social media influencers? A study of public perceptions of personality. Public Relations Review, 37, 90-92.

What we use social media for

Research by NM Incite reveals some notable but not terribly shocking data regarding why people engage with social media.

From the highlights:

Not surprisingly, the top drivers of social media use among social networkers are keeping in touch with family and friends (89% and 88%, respectively) and finding new friends (70%).  Another driver of use is the desire to view and contribute to reviews of products and services as 68 percent of social media users go to social networking sites to read product reviews and over half use these sites to provide product feedback, both positive and negative.  Other top reasons social media users engage in social networking include entertainment (67%), as a creative outlet (64%), to learn about products (58%), and to get coupons or promotions (54%).

I am surprised people use it more to praise a product than to bury one, given  often I see people airing out their grievances about products on Twitter. On the other hand, people do not generally like the Facebook pages of a company that they dislike.

Are Teens Hiding Behind The Screen?

By Guest Author Jonathan Nielsen

picture of doll sitting in empty stadium“R U 4 real?” The use of phrases like this demonstrate how technology has managed to merge itself with the social life of teenagers in the form of instant messaging, text messaging and social networking sites such as Facebook. A little observation will tell anyone that a large percentage of a teen’s time is spent texting on his or her phone or chatting online. With so much time devoted to these activities, researchers want to know if there are any side effects.

Pierce set out to examine the effects that teen usage of these technologies might have on their social life. She conducted a study that sought to determine if there was a relationship between recent social technologies and shyness among teenagers. In the study, 280 teenagers answered survey questions regarding how much time they spend on socially interactive technologies such as text messaging, instant messaging, and social networking sites. In addition to finding out how much time teenagers spent on these technologies, the survey also asked questions regarding each teen’s feelings toward face-to-face communication.

The results revealed a clear connection between social introversion and the socially interactive technologies. Those who disliked personal communication were more likely to use socially interactive technologies. This suggests that these new technologies are providing shy individuals with a comfortable means of communication, while replacing any opportunities that these individuals may have had to get over their timidity by practicing face-to-face communication. Lastly, the author concludes that since these technologies are relatively new, society has yet to discover all of the possible consequences.

With the results of this study in mind, it is crucial for teens to evaluate their personal use of these technologies. Do they substitute personal time with friends for time on Facebook? Do they text their friends more than they call them? Are they using these technologies as a way to avoid their social anxieties? As foreign as these problems may be to parents and teachers, the answers to these questions are important to a teen’s future success in life. Face-to-face communication is vital in the workplace, and many teenagers may not be properly developing the necessary interpersonal skills; therefore, these questions must not be avoided. All of this is to say that teenagers must come to realize that they are an experimental generation– No other generation has grown up using these social technologies, and the consequences of these technologies are poorly known.

Pierce, T. (2009). Social anxiety and technology: Face-to-face communication versus technological communication among teens. Computers in Human Behavior, 25, 1367-1372.

Reading Between the Lines: What Our E-mails Say About Our Near and Far Relationships

By Guest Author Elizabeth Worlein

As a busy woman, a girlfriend in a long-distance relationship, and friend that is hard to reach by phone, I have wondered how my use of technology impacts my relationships. What does my use of e-mail say about my relationships with my friends, my romantic partner, and my family?

Johnson, Haigh, Becker, Craig, and Wigley attempt to answer this question in a recent study. Two hundred and twenty-six college students submitted their personal e-mail messages that they received in one week. The researchers examined how the e-mails maintained the students’ relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. The researchers also examined how relationships were maintained between people that were geographically close, and those that were long-distance. Researchers observed five main behaviors people exhibited to maintain their relationships in the three types of relationships:


  • Openness (sharing your experience, feelings, etc.)
  • Social Networks (references to events, school, or other relationships)
  • Positivity (e.g. “Have a great day!”)
  • Assurances (e.g. “I love you.”)
  • Joint Activities (e.g. “See you Monday!”)


  • Openness
  • Social Networks
  • Positivity
  • Joint Activities
  • Miscellaneous (Sign-offs, emoticons, etc.)

Romantic Partners:

  • Assurances
  • Openness
  • Positivity
  • Social Networks
  • Referring to cards, letters, or calls

This study illustrates that through the use of e-mail, we can continue to maintain our relationships when we are not face-to-face. What we communicate over e-mail, such as assurances or positivity, is similar to what we use to maintain our relationships when we are face-to-face with the person. The results indicate that our interactions over e-mail are not very different if we are near to or far away from the person.

What does this study’s finding say about our relationships?  Perhaps what we are communicating illustrates what we value in that relationship. For example, we may maintain friendships and family relationships to talk about our everyday experiences. For our romantic partners, we seek to communicate the importance of our relationship through assurances and openness. From all of these relationships, we are seeking positivity and openness, among many other values. Nothing radical happening on e-mail compared to any other venue–just another venue upon which to share the human condition.

Johnson, A., Haigh, M., Becker, J., Craig, E., & Wigley, S. (2008). College Students’ Use of Relational Management Strategies in Email in Long-Distance and Geographically Close Relationships. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 381-404.

Recent Presentations

<div style=”width:425px” id=”__ss_5316765″><strong style=”display:block;margin:12px 0 4px”><a href=”” title=”SEO presentation 2010 share”>SEO presentation 2010 share</a></strong><object id=”__sse5316765″ width=”425″ height=”355″><param name=”movie” value=”″ /><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”/><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”/><embed name=”__sse5316765″ src=”″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”355″></embed></object><div style=”padding:5px 0 12px”>View more <a href=””>presentations</a> from <a href=”″>Michael Rabby</a>.</div></div>

I recently gave two presentations for the DTC program, housed in the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University-Vancouver. It was part of their Technology 101 series, the details of which can be found here:

Below is the slideshow for the presentation I made this afternoon at Washington State University-Vancouver. It covered search engine optimization (SEO) for the beginner.

I also gave a talk entitled Social Media 101, which covered the basics of social media.

How reality television is making you spill your guts online

By Guest Author Hannah Schultz

Reality TVSomewhere, someone desperately aspires to be a cast member on “The Real Housewives of Orange County”. Another alters his/her hair and tan like the stars of “Jersey Shore” in hopes of earning a spot on the next season. Oh, to be the next quasi-famous reality star! Reality television has indisputably opened the doors for regular folk who want to attain celebrity-type fame.

But what do you do if you want the fame, but can’t get cast on the big screen? The Internet is the next best source, as many “YouTubers” have discovered. American consumers support these relatively new forms of entertainment simply by watching them. Recent research has shown a strong correlation between behaviors displayed on reality television and the way people interact on Internet sites. Yes, your weekly viewing of “The Bachelor” may cause your daily “status updates” on Facebook.

With a total of 452 online surveys of undergraduate communications students, researchers concluded that a direct correlation exists between reality television consumption and Internet behaviors. Specifically, reality television has normalized blurring the lines between privacy and public visibility. A greater acceptance of what some might call intrusiveness and/or openness has prevailed in the mind’s of many people, particularly those in Generation Y. Reality television as a whole exhibits a value system that associates visibility with success. Internet users mimic this behavior by sharing their lives on sites like Facebook and YouTube.

YouTube reconfirms the idea that non-celebrities can become famous if enough people view their video. This study offers evidence that those who are heavy consumers of reality television disclose more of their personal thoughts and feelings on their online forums. This doesn’t mean that because you watch “The Bad Girls Club” you will become a raging drama fiend. Instead, the evidence here indicates that you will probably partake in more Internet sites that allow you to either achieve fame or share your feelings with a broad audience.

There was a time when reality television was a fleeting phase, and Internet sites such as YouTube were just getting started. Reality television, whether it has a trashy reputation or not, has taught us that sharing your personal life with the world will get you attention, and that it is the normal thing to do. With over 95% of college students maintaining online site profiles, it seems America is awfully attention hungry.

Stefanone, M., & Lackaff, D. (2009). Reality television as a model for online behavior: Blogging, photo, and video sharing. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14, p.964-987.