Interpersonal Competition in the Digital World

Church and Thambusamy’s paper is an analysis of their theory that what causes the practice of Person Information Deception (PID) is a desire for interpersonal competition. The paper focuses on how people is manipulating information online either by not giving them or giving entirely false information in order to compete with other users. Authors acknowledge previous studies that focused on privacy concerns and hence this paper is contributing to such research by focusing on the concept of interpersonal competition, a factor they claim has not had research done on before: “little work has considered factors that motivate individuals to put forth these kinds of intentionally deceptive personal presentations” (274).

Goals of the study is stated in form of hypothesis and research questions, several times in the introduction.

Authors draw their theory from characteristics that are, like they stated in the paper, likely to inspire competitiveness amongst individuals, evident in the statement that social media offers a platform for individual users to observe others lives across any type of background, this gives the paper credibility because the logic flows. Examples like Fifty Cent’s bankruptcy is relatable because it is a real life example that fits into the paper’s framework of hypothesizing interpersonal competition to be the factor behind the practice of PID.

Although the readings we have done so far each focuses on a different aspect of competition, this paper shares several commonalities. For instance, the Garcia reading talks about social comparison and how situational factors like stress increases competitive desires. The concept of social comparison is evident in both papers, as Church and Thambusamy conducted an experiment with 499 university students and investigated their social media usage patterns. They find that users often omit information due to the fact that people hold their privacy sacred. Quoting Yoseif’s reading response, who put it really concisely, people are “fixated on showing the positives of their lives to the point where they will try anything to conceal the harsh realities they might be facing. All of this is creating in order for the individual to reap status benefits, hedonic benefits, and competitive norms within our society” (Yoseif).

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