Competition In Social media

Let’s take a selfie

The article written by Stafanone et al. on a social cognitive approach to traditional media content and social media use; Selfie-related behaviour as competitive strategy is unique and different to all the other articles read throughout this course. The article is more interactive and directly intrusive into our lives in a way that is positive and bringing us back to the realities of life outside social media. The authors conducted a study to explore the link between traditional mass media such as reality television shows, contingencies of self-worth and social media use on selfie related behaviours. While all the assumptions made and questions formulated are completely valid, I think the decision to use RTV as a starting point in studying selfie related behaviours on social media is somehow not adding up and not really valid . This idea is also reflected by the authors in the limitations part of the article where it says that overall, respondents indicated relatively low RTV consumption. Surprisingly, about 57% of participants indicated they did not watch RTV. This overall lack of variance limits the interpretability of the data. Limited heavy RTV viewers (only 3% in the current sample) made it difficult to detect differences in subsequent CSW characteristics and the full range of selfie-related behavior.

Furthermore, there is a claim in the article that sharing selfies is a way for competing for attention on social media platforms, I agree with this claim and think it is a best thing to draw audience to reality, as Hanan Dudin points out, self-worth based competition leads to sharing images of one’s self that are “exactly what you want people to see, but not necessarily the whole truth”. Individuals, especially reality TV stars and celebrities as pointed out in the article, start to retouch and alter the pictures they share on social media in order to prevail in this type of competition. In my opinion, this is a deception that leads to unrealistic expectations and it can seriously the followers and make them feel worthless hence devoting a lot of time in trying to look like an instagram model or any other popular person.

However, one of the major things I find interesting in this article is the referencing to the experience conducted by Albert Bandura on observation Learning Theory which posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. The theory has often been called a bridge between behaviourist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. This is the same case with social media where people learn by observing what their models are doing online.

In order to understand how that reality TV show utilizes the relation between reality TV and self-presentation on social media, one has to examine the dynamics. According to Stefanone, competition includes two competitors vying for the same scarce resource with the audience judging and assigning social capital. The scarce resource is not only the ultimate goal of the show (e.g. Winning prize money for being the best singer, baker,) but also attention. The attention-seeking competitors are all the people shown on screen, so obviously the contestants but also the jurors and guest stars. The third part of Stefanone et. al concept, the audience, however, is no longer passive, but rather slowly becomes reactive. They still do not have direct power over the show unless they are allowed to vote, but they can also engage with the contestants over social media. The article has recognized the change social media as an intermediate can bring to competition, this study implored that further. 

The argument of the article share a little to no similarities with other articles read in this course. There is a denotation of competition being bad which comparers to the Bateson paper and the papers read so far.


  1. This seems like a very interesting read and I’m curious as to why you don’t feel that this shares any similarities with other articles.

    Additionally, I don’t know how much I agree with the idea that people take selfies in order to compete for attention. Although this may partly be the case, I feel that people take selfies and post them because they want a confidence boost and want to feel better about themselves. Of course this also consists of attention but I don’t feel it is solely competitive, but more of feeling better about oneself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Mason, thank you for commenting on my post. Firstly, I think this article does not relate much to other articles we read in this course becuase unlike the other articles this is more interactive and directly intrusive into our lives in a way that is positive and bringing us back to the realities of life outside social media while the other articles were not as direct. I believe people take and post selfies for various motives but according to the research conducted in the article, with regards to the Bandura’s observation learning experiment their findings point out to competition for attention and that is why we tend to edit our pictures more before posting them.


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