Why do we compete online?

Spongebob flexing his fake muscles. Source: Viacom Media Networks

Church and Thambusamy’s paper is extremely relevant to for this age of social media; they analyze the incentives for lying on the internet for appraisal and hedonistic purposes. Well, to be more specific, they are examining the roles of competition in determining intentions towards personal information deception. (Church, Thambusamy 274). The authors surveyed 499 participants, with 25% of them being male and 75% female; over 70% of respondents have used Facebook (the biggest website that collects data) for 2 years or more. Personally, I believe this is a fantastic sample; since the majority of users have used social media for a while, they are immersed in the social media mentality and are the best possible respondents for this survey.

The paper proved 4 out of 5 hypothesis originally presented; this was what interested me the most, the fact that they could not competitive social norms are positively related to the desire for online competition. This means that just because some apps and websites, such as PokemonGo, are successful in capitalizing on competition, it does not mean that people inherently want to compete with each other online.

We discussed this in class a couple of times and a certain example popped into my mind; in the Nelson and Dawson paper that we read on week 5 talks about how Socrates did not have a competitive classroom and did not explicitly grade and rank his students. However, anyone who reads Plato can notice that the students do informally compete with each other; they are always talking on top of each other to try to impress Socrates. So even when we don’t need to compete we do.

The question persists in my mind; is competition inherent? foroughpassyar4396 points out that “biological determinism and what constitutes the natural are fuzzy along with his arguments from developmental psychology”.

Well, this study could not prove that societal norms encourage us to be more competitive. So I’m not convinced that we’re not instinctively competitive animals fighting for limited goods. The authors that we analyzed all throughout the semester seem to have different answers for this question. What do you think?


  1. I liked that you used evidence from this paper to try to answer a question that has been weaving through our discussions all semester: Is competition inherent? I think that’s a really hard question to answer and I think maybe the answer is not so simple as yes or no because it brings us to an issue of if it is inherent, is it due to our genes or our environment? Nevertheless, I liked that you included your own opinion on the matter and I thought this was an interesting read.


  2. Hello, this was a great read. I also liked how you applied evidence from the study to answer your own question regarding competition. I also found it interesting that social norms were not much of an influence in online competition. I initially thought that social norms would play a role in competition, as some individuals may feel the pressure to conform to the norm due to the fear of being ostracized for being different.
    I also feel that the question of whether competition is inherent or not is kind of iffy. I’m not sure whether we really are intrinsically competitive or not, but I do feel like competition and cooperation are a bit of a push and pull kind of thing, in that the two are interconnected and cannot exist without each other.


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