Saving Face on Facebook: Managing Impressions in the Presence of Multiple Audiences on Social Network Sites

  • Ben Marder

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Social network sites are now ubiquitous and self-presentation on these sites is, for many people, a major part of everyday life. The sites provide a novel context for impression management in which presentations can be viewed simultaneously, 24 hours a day, by multiple audiences with heterogeneous expectations. The argument outlined here is that this situation can increase the chances of social anxiety and regulatory behaviour when these expectations are not met. Through four studies including two experiments, a survey and acollection of semi-structured interviews, this thesis examines the process by which users regulate their actions both on- and offline with respect to multiple audiences online. A model is created out of intrapsychic theories grounded on Carver and Scheier’s (2001) selfregulatory process, in order to explain impression management in this context. Research is split into two phases and addressing young users aged predominately aged from 18-24; the first aiming to provide support for different components within the model and the second, to test the process as a whole. Phase 1 finds strong support for the model by providing evidence, first for the assumptions underlying the multiple audience problem and second, that public self-focus increases when engaged with the technology. A third contribution of Phase 1 is its categorisation of preventive and reactive regulatory behaviours. Phase 2 supports the process in the model, showing that self-focus leads to comparison between what is presented and the standards of multiple audiences, resulting in self-regulation mediated by anxiety.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAdam Joinson (Supervisor) & Avi Shankar (Supervisor)


  • facebook
  • audience
  • social media
  • anxiety

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