Transcendence of Trends Within Competition

Church and Thambusamy’s “Competition and Information Deception in Online Social Networks” by E. Mitchell Church and Ravi Thambusamy focuses on how online competition is correlated to users on OSN’s misrepresenting their personal information which they term Personal Information Deception (PID). The factors of appraisal from OSN users that precide and cause the desire for online competition Church and Thambusamy hypothesize in their research are the status benefits, competitive norms, and hedonistic benefits (274). All three sources for online competition that Church and Thambusamy outline relate to Bateson, Nelson and Dawson, and Hutcheon’s work where they individually discuss what encourages or is related to competition that they have observed within their own discourse communities.

This status benefit that is evaluated by OSN users that prerequisites their want of competition is the status given within a community for performing certain actions (Church and Thambusamy 275). Competition is spreading from the business world into academic institutions adopting the idea of a “pecking order” evaluating methods into academic institutions’ status hierarchy as Hutcheon has observed. Often in academia she has found that colleagues try to upstage one in another in a combative way called critique scholarship (Hutcheon 43). This upstaging and scholarly combat that Hutcheon observes is what I would I identify as strategy to better one’s own status in comparison to peers. Much like how on OSN’s the desire for competition occurs when user identifies a status benefit for themselves.

Online competition is dependent on hedonistic benefit as Church and Thambusamy define is the user’s assessment of the actual enjoyment derived from using the OSN (279). I found that relating previous papers to the actual enjoyment of a construct leading to competitive desires difficult because they usually do not connect genuine pleasure from an action or object to lead towards competition. When Nelson and Dawson speak of tennis as an example they say that the very nature of the game is based in a competitive sporting culture, and reflects “competition as an end in itself, rather than a means to ‘better sportsmanship [sic] and friendlier feelings” (307).

One of few other causes for online competition that Church and Thambusamy initially identify is competitive norms which is how competition is regarded within a community, if it is normalized and even praised (275). A consensus that writers Bateson, Nelson and Dawson, and Hutcheon have come to is that society currently normalizes and celebrates the idea of competition. In an individualistic society like America, Bateson states that they often use individualism as justification for competition instead of cooperation (675). Nelson and Dawson outright state that “globalised culture is saturated in motifs of competition” (306) which idealizes struggle as social hygiene. Even with competition being so common place within society, Church and Thambusamy found that the appraisal factor of competitive norms did not affect online competitive desire as much as status benefit and hedonistic benefit.

Although Bateson, Nelson and Dawson, Hutcheon, and Church and Thambusamy come from different discourse communities they could still collectively identify similar trends within the topic of competition. Even if some of the things they identify are not necessarily agreed on like in the case of competitive desire being dependent on hedonistic benefits.


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