Month: March 2010

New Study: Youth disclosure of online/offline identity information

The debate on privacy in the information age is going on and on… personally I think that is important to bring this two quotations to increase our awareness that commercial interests are interested in changing social norms, to create a “business” environment that allows to them to increase their revenues based on our privacy.

“Privacy is dead, deal with it,” Sun MicroSystems CEO Scott McNealy is widely reported to have declared some time ago.

In a recent interview with CNBC Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

A conceptual debate following the expansion of computer mediated (CMC) communication is on the question of whether CMC has generative  effects on our behavior. In a new  study, Guy Becker and I,  linked these two questions: disclosure of personal information and CMC effects in a recent study and  investigated whether norms of self-disclosure of online and offline identity are linked to online disclosure of personal and intimate information.

Various perspectives suggest that CMC exercises generative or dishinbitive effect that encourage disclosure of personal information. A number of CMC characteristics have been suggested as conducive to this norm generation. The medium’s relative anonymity has been associated with flexible norms of online disclosure t.  The perceived anonymity offered by CMC lowers the danger of future isolation and thus enables a higher level of self disclosure. Joinson (2003) studied patterns of youths’ romantic confessions (a behavior with many intense affective future outcomes) and found a higher willingness to confess romantic intentions by email than face-to-face (FTF).

Anonymity seems to support a disinhibition effect, i.e.,  the loss of constraints that a person experiences when behavior is no longer controlled by concerns about self-presentation or judgments by others (Joinson, 2003). In CMC research, disinhibition is often considered a precursor of online self-disclosure.

Thus, we expected that

H1: Norms of online information disclosure will be positively associated with actual online information disclosure.

H2: According to the CMC generative perspective, norms of disclosure of face-to-face information will be associated with norms of online  information disclosure.

The generative approach implicitly implies that intensity of exposure to the Internet is associated with the dissociation between norms of online and offline disclosure of information. Individuals need to become immersed in the online communication task, in order to perceived the other according to internal consciousness factors including biased impressions of the other that generate a perception of trust that leads to different norms of disclosure of online information. Thus, we expected that

H3: online information disclosure is associated with intensity of Internet usage, so the higher the use of the Internet, the higher the disclosure of information online.

Given that self-disclosure to peers increases in adolescence (Buhrmester & Prager, 1995) and that blogs provide adolescents with a means for peer communication, we expected.

H4: Disclosure of personal information to be associated with age, so the younger the user, the less he/she will disclose online information.

Findings:

* Having a public online personal profile is positively correlated with been alright to provide email address, IM screen name, and link to a personal blog.

*Having a personal photograph on the web in a space accessible to all is positively and statistically significantly correlated with alright to provide e-mail address, IM screen name, and link to a personal blog.

*The same results were found for posting a clip on the web in a space accessible to all.

Accordingly, these findings support the hypothesis that norms of online behavior are correlated with actual behavior online.

H2 predicted that norms of face-to-face information disclosure will not be associated with online information disclosure norms.

* The correlations of norms supporting disclosure of personal and online identity information were low or non-significant. For example, the correlation between alright to provide last name and email address was .10, and that between alright to provide school name and email address was .09. At the same time, the correlation between alright to provide last name and IM screen name, and that between alright to provide last name and link to the personal blog, were non-significant.

No indication appears here as to any association between norms of disclosure of offline personal identity and of online identity. The findings award some merit to CMC theories of generative effects of the media and the use of specific norms of online behavior. Further support for this argument requires finding no correlation between norms of disclosure of offline information and online behavior, and a correlation between norms of disclosure of online identity information and online behavior.

The following correlations do support this possibility.

1. there are only three small, negative and significant correlations between norms of offline identity disclosure and online behavior. Alright to disclose last name is negatively correlated with having an online profile (-.07), and alright to provide home phone number is also negatively correlated to having a profile online (-.07). While statistically significant, these correlations are very low, and the others are non-significant indicating hardly any association between norms of disclosure of personal information and norms of disclosure of online identity information.

2. positive and statistically significant correlations exist between norms of disclosure of online identity and online behavior.

According to H3 online information disclosure is associated with intensity of Internet usage, so the higher the use of the Internet, the higher will be the disclosure of information online. The results support the hypothesis and positive and statistically significant correlations were found between frequency of Internet usage and the three measures of norms of disclosure of online identity information. Positive statistically significant correlations were found between frequency of internet usage and online behavior.

H4 predicted that age will be positively associated with disclosure of online information and H5 predicted that girls will disclose more online information than boys.

The analysis showed a link between gender and frequency of social norms supporting private information disclosure. According to the correlation matrix, norms of personal information disclosure are age-dependent as well. Positive correlations were found between age and alright to disclose last name and school’s name. Also, a positive association was found between age and alright to disclose online information such as email account, IM screen name and personal blog.. Yet, no gender differences were found in supporting norms of online identity disclosure and girls were more likely to disclose online information. Thus, H5 was supported.

Some conclusions:

The results provide an indication that disclosure of online identity information is associated with a media generative effect.

Norms of offline-identity information disclosure were not related to norms of online-identity disclosure, indicating that they are not associated with online behavior.

Our findings indicate that youth hold two different sets of norms that are not related: one that indicates when, and under what circumstances, personal identification information may be disclosed to others, and the other regarding what details of online identity to disclose. Furthermore, the most important and significant result of this study is that norms of online-identity disclosure are associated with online behavior but not with norms of disclosure of personal information (like last name, address, phone number and school name).

The study hypotheses were tested by a secondary analysis of the 2006 Pew and American life survey of parents and teens. This data set is particularly appropriate for this study as it was drawn from a representative sample of the US youth population and is probably the only known data set that included in the survey measures of privacy norms and online behavior.

The Parents & Teens 2006 Survey was sponsored by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a non-partisan and non profit organization that collects data and provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Project produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

Guy Becker and I thank to the Pew Internet and American Life Project for providing access to the data.

The paper will be published in Human Communication Research. An earlier version is available at http://soc.haifa.ac.il/~gustavo/norms%20of%20disclosure%20mesch&becker.pdf

CfP: Special Issue Sociological Focus on Social Networks

Call for Papers
Network Models of Economic Embeddedness
A Special Issue of Sociological Focus
Sociological Focus invites papers that directly contribute to the
understanding of social networks and their role in the economy.
 Papers are particularly encouraged in the following topical areas:
•	Network analysis of economic policy and regulation,
•	Social networks and financial markets,
•	Dynamic analysis of economic and business networks
•	Co-evolution of business actors and relational patterns
•	Social networks and venture capital investments,
•	Social networks and corporate governance,
•	Social networks and tacit knowledge creation, maintenance, and transfer,
•	Economic and sociological accounts of the network economy,
•	Interlocking directors and business elite networks,
•	Social capital and economic performance,
•	Network models of industrial and competitive analysis
•	Virtual and online organizations
For further information about this special issue, please contact the guest
editor,
Ilan Talmud, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer
Department of Sociology and Anthropology,
University of Haifa
talmud@soc.haifa.ac.il

All manuscripts will be peer reviewed and in accordance to the journal
style.
 Submit complete manuscripts to Sociological Focus,
www.sociologicalfocus.net
The deadline for submission of completed papers is June 31, 2010.

Israel Supreme Court: Talkbackers needn’t be exposed in libel cases – Haaretz – Israel News

In an important ruling the Supreme Court of Israel denies the right of disclosure of the names of talkbakers. While there is no doubt that talkbackers in Israel are uneducated, rude and nasty, the Supreme Court defends the fundamental online  right to freedom of speech and privacy, even of opinions that the majority do not accept and that can be harmful to the public reputation of the one’s being under talkbackers attack.

The entire article from the English edition of the Haaretz is below

Israel Supreme Court: Talkbackers needn’t be exposed in libel cases – Haaretz – Israel News.

Communities and ICT New readings

American Behavioral Scientist

April 2010, Volume 53, No. 8

Caroline Haythornthwaite and Lori Kendall
Internet and Community
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1083-1094. [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]
Gustavo S. Mesch and Ilan Talmud
Internet Connectivity, Community Participation, and Place Attachment: A Longitudinal Study
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1095-1110. [Abstract] [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]
Keith N. Hampton
Internet Use and the Concentration of Disadvantage: Glocalization and the Urban Underclass
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1111-1132. [Abstract] [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]
Rich Ling and Gitte Stald
Mobile Communities: Are We Talking About a Village, a Clan, or a Small Group?
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1133-1147. [Abstract] [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]
Hua Wang and Barry Wellman
Social Connectivity in America: Changes in Adult Friendship Network Size From 2002 to 2007
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1148-1169. [Abstract] [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]
Uwe Matzat
Reducing Problems of Sociability in Online Communities: Integrating Online Communication With Offline Interaction
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1170-1193. [Abstract] [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]
Ingrid Erickson
Geography and Community: New Forms of Interaction Among People and Places
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1194-1207. [Abstract] [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]
Azi Lev-On
Engaging the Disengaged: Collective Action, Media Uses, and Sense of (Virtual) Community by Evacuees From Gush Katif
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1208-1227. [Abstract] [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]
Irina Shklovski, Moira Burke, Sara Kiesler, and Robert Kraut
Technology Adoption and Use in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans
American Behavioral Scientist 2010 53: 1228-1246. [Abstract] [PDF] [References] [Request Permission]

Social Support-Loneliness and the Use of Social Networking Sites

Results from Adults use of Social Networking Sites

(Gustavo S. Mesch, University of Haifa,

Principal Investigator gustavo@soc.haifa.ac.il)

Almost 10 years ago, when Robert Kraut et al. revised their data on the social impact of the Internet [1] they argued for a “rich get richer” hypothesis of Internet effects on society. The “rich get richer” hypothesis argues that using the Internet predicts better outcomes for those with more social support and worse outcomes for those with less support.

Following this reasoning I ask if social support predicts the frequency of use of social networking sites and the types of use. It make sense that individuals use social media according to their existing levels of involvement in social ties. The effect of social support on social media use can be expected to have different forms.

  1. The “no-effects” hypothesis will argue that loneliness and social support will not affect the use. Individuals use social media for different motives (entertainment, keeping up to date) but do not attempt to change their existing levels of social support. In other words, the effect of social support on frequency and type of use will be statistically non-significant.
  2. The “detrimental effects” hypothesis argues that loneliness and social support are a stable individual personality characteristic that does not lead to a change in our use of social media. The lonely do not attempt to make friends face-to-face and do not attempt to this through social media. The ones having a high level of social support will keep up with their friends as this is a characteristic of their personality. Thus, social support is expected to have a positive effect on the use of social media, the more lonely a person feels the less the use and the higher the social support the more frequent the use.
  3. The “compensation” hypothesis suggest that individuals attempt to compensate for their lack of social support face-to-face attempting to connect with others through social media. Thus, in this framework social support is negatively associated with the frequency of use of social networking sites. The higher the social support the less the use. Conversely, the lower the perceived social support (the more lonely) the higher the frequency of use of SNS.

Data for this study Data for this study was collected on September 2009. The study included a sample of Internet users that were approached by a company that has expertise in the use of a panel of Internet users for conducting web based surveys.  In the study participated 1264 Internet users from Israel that answered a web based survey of 45 questions that took about 30 minutes to complete. The average age of the sample was 29.16 years old (S.d. 6.77), 44.1 percent were married and 55.9 percent single, 46 percent were males and 54 percent females. In terms of education 5.5 percent of the sample had less than high school education, 28.2.8 % had high school education, 58.1 partial or completed college education and 8.3 percent a graduate degree. Overall 62.7 percent reported using SNS on a daily or weekly basis.

The first table shows the results of a multivariate analysis predicting frequency of SNS use.

Document2

* Age and gender are not associated with the frequency of SNS use.

*The higher the education the lower the use of SNS.

*The single are more frequent uses of SNS than the single.

*Social support is positively associated with frequency of SNS use.  This finding supports the “detrimental hypothesis” lonely are less frequent users and the ones with high social support are higher users.

Yet, from recent research on college students, it is known that SNS are differentially used by different individuals. Some use the sites for maintaining social ties with family and close friends and others for the expansion of social ties.

How social support is associated with type of use, for social tie expansion and social tie maintenance? I conducted a multivariate analysis predicting different types of use.

Document1

The results are different according to the type of Internet use.

Using the Internet to maintain existing social ties is associated with

* Gender: Women use the Internet to maintain existing social ties more than men.

*Marital Status: the married use the Internet to maintain social ties.

*Social support is positively associated with using the Internet for the maintenance of existing social ties.
Using the Internet to expand  social ties is associated with

* Age and gender. Older individuals use more the Internet to expand social ties than younger and males use the Internet to expand their social ties more than women.

*Social support. The higher the perception of social support the lower the use of social networking sites to expand social ties. Conversely, the lonely are more likely to use SNS to expand social ties.

Some conclusions:

The results indicate that the association between perceived social support and the use of social networking sites provides support both for the detrimental and compensation hypothesis. The “detrimental” hypothesis is only supported for using the Internet for maintaining social ties. Individuals with high levels of social support use the Internet for maintaining ties with the existing friends and family. The “compensation” effect is supported for individuals with low social support that use the social media to expand their social ties.

Whether they are successful in their attempt, is a question that remains open for the next post, as I have the data to show this.


[1] Kraut, R., Kiesler, S., Boneva, B., Cummings, J.; Helgeson, V.,&Crawford, J. (2001). The Internet Paradox Revisited. Journal of Social Issues, 58(1), 49-74

Gender and Occupational Uneven Distributions in SNS Use

Social Networking Sites Use
Gender and Occupational Distributions
(Source: Gustavo S. Mesch, “Together and Alone, the Use of SNS according to ‎Occupation in Israel. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of Organizational ‎Sociology, Haifa University, February 2010.‎)
During the month of September 2009 a study of a sample of Internet users in Israel ‎that were approached by Panels Ltd. a company that has expertise in research with a ‎panel of Internet users. In the study participated 1264 Internet users from Israel that ‎answered a web based survey of 45 questions that took about 30 minutes to complete.‎
Some conclusions:‎
Social Networking Sites are spaces of interaction. Despite the impression that SNS ‎popularity brings to a “normalization” social process and become universal spaces of ‎social action, the findings of this preliminary study show that ‎
• Social Networking Sites tend to segregate, and at least show uneven ‎distributions according to gender and occupation.‎
• Social Networking sites tend to specialize in a specific topic, and there is a ‎tendency to “alienate” others. Occupation seems to be an indicator of socio-‎economic position in society and different occupations are concentrating in ‎different sites.‎

Social Networking Use in Israel: ‎
In the study was found that SNS users are on average
• Younger, more likely to be single, male, heavier users of the Internet and ‎higher in perceived self-esteem than the non users.‎
Popular and Less Popular SNS for the Adult Population of Internet Users.‎

In Israel, adults that are using SNS have a strong preference for Facebook, as 85.4 ‎percent of adults reporting using this SNS on a daily or weekly basis. At the time of ‎the survey (September 2009) an Israeli SNS Mekusharim was in second place, ‎Myspace in third place. Twitter was growing fast with already almost 12 percent of ‎the users. ‎
Are Adult Men and Women using the Same SNS?‎

Adult men and women are not evenly distributed among the users of SNS. While 45 ‎percent of the adult men are SNS users, they are over represented in Linked-in, Hi5, ‎Twitter and Mekusharim. On the other side, 55 percent of all the adult women are ‎SNS users and are over represented only Myspace but clearly under represented in ‎Linked in and Twitter.‎
It appears that at this point the use of male and women of SNS follows gender ‎traditional roles. Facebook seems to be a universal SNS that is been used almost ‎equally by both men and women. Men have a higher preference for business like ‎social media, being overrepresented in Linked-in that is used mainly to make ‎occupational and business contacts. Men are also over represented in Twitter, possible ‎because of the option of communicating short messages. At the same time, women are ‎more likely to be in Myspace that has a greated appealing for artists and music lovers.‎

Occupational Preferences of SNS

In the same way that men and women are not evenly distributed in SNS expressing ‎preferences, a similar picture is found when looking at the distribution of the use of ‎SNS according to occupational categories.‎
Managers are 12.3 percent of the sample of SNS users, but are clearly over ‎represented in Linked-In, MySpace, TheMarker Café and Mekusharim. ‎
Salaried workers are almost 45 percent of the sample and are under represented in The ‎Marker Café, Linked In and Twitter that are social media that has some occupational ‎appealing. The unemployed are 11 percent of the sample and only over represented in ‎Mekushariim. Students are 31 percent of the sample are over represented in Twitter, ‎Myspace and Facebook.‎
Study Characteristics:‎

Data for this study was collected on September 2009. The study included a sample of ‎Internet users that were approached by a company that has expertise in the use of a ‎panel of Internet users for conducting web based surveys.‎
In the study participated 1264 Internet users from Israel that answered a web based ‎survey of 45 questions that took about 30 minutes to complete.‎
Characteristics of the sample
It is interesting to describe the demographic composition of the sample. The average ‎age of the sample was 29.16 years old (S.d. 6.77). From the individuals responding ‎the survey 44.1 percent were married and 55.9 percent single. The representation of ‎respondents according to nationality was closed to the representation of the groups in ‎the population and turn out that 80.6 percent were Israeli Jews and 19.4 percent Israeli ‎Arabs. Regarding Gender composition 46 percent were males and 54 percent ‎females. In terms of education it was found that 5.5 percent of the sample had less ‎than high school education, 28.2.8 % had high school education, 58.1 partial or ‎completed college education and 8.3 percent a graduate degree. Individuals were ‎asked to report their income in categories and it was found that 38.8 percent reported ‎an income under the Israeli average family income, 42.8 percent had an average ‎income and 18.4 percent an above average family income.‎
Regarding the use of social networking sites 62.7 percent reported a daily or weekly ‎use of a social networking site and on average they had a profile in 2 social network ‎sites. From the ones using a social networking site, there are differences in the ‎frequency of use.‎

New Book on Youth and ICT

Gustavo S. Mesch and Ilan Talmud. (2010) Wired Youth: The Social World of Adolescence in the Information Age. Routledge and Psychology Press.

The debate on the social impact of information and communication technologies is particularly important for the study of adolescent life, because through their close association with friends and peers, adolescents develop life expectations, school aspirations, world views, and behaviors.

This book presents an up-to-date review of the literature on youth sociability, relationship formation, and online communication, examining the way young people use the internet to construct or maintain their inter-personal relationships. Using a social network perspective, the book systematically explores the various effects of internet access and use on adolescents’ involvement in social, leisure and extracurricular activities, evaluating the arguments that suggest the internet is displacing other forms of social ties. The core of the book investigates the motivations for online relationship formation and the use of online communication for relationship maintenance. The final part of the book focuses on the consequences, both positive and negative, of the use of online communication, such as increased social capital and online bullying.

Wired Youth is ideal for undergraduate and graduate students of adolescent psychology, youth studies, media studies and the psychology and sociology of interpersonal relationships.

More information at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Wired-Youth-Adolescence-Information-Society/dp/041545994X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s

ACCESS TO HEALTH INFORMATION New Study

ACCESS TO HEALTH INFORMATION
New Study
PRELIMINARY FINDINGS
During December 2009, we conducted a survey of a representative sample of the Israeli population (n=2008) to investigate inequalities in access health information (online, face-to-face and traditional media) in Israel. The study is funded by the Macabi Health Insurance Fundation. Principal Investigators are Gustavo Mesch (Sociology, Haifa gustavo@soc.haifa.ac.il), Rita Mano ( Department of Human Services at the University of Haifa rita@research.haifa.ac.il and Yeudit Tsamir( from the statistics department of Macabi Health Insurance). Sample included 46.5% males and 53.5 percent women. In terms of family status, 71.3 percent were married , 5.5 percent widows, 5.5 percent divorced, and 17 percent single and never married. The average age of the sample was 46. 9 years old (sd=16.9) and on average have completed 13.42(sd=3.38) years of formal education. Computer use at home, 72.7 percent of the sample have access to a computer at home. (78.6 percent of the Jews, 66.8 percent of new immigrants and 66.8 percent of the Arabs).
Chronic Medical conditions: from the sample 47.6 % reported being healthy, Hypetension 27.5 %, Diabetes, 14.4 %, Heart disease 7.8 %, Cancer 2.4 % and other condition requiring drug dependency 0.3 %.
Frequency of use of different sources of health information. Ask a Physician or nurse 86%, ask a family member 71%, ask a friend 63 %, Internet 63 %, T.V. 62 %, consult a book 52 %, consult a journal 51 %.
Trust in sources of health information. On a scale of 1 to 5 when the highest trust is 5.
Physician 4.13, Nurse 3.50,Family and friends 2.97, Internet 2.74, journals 2.50 and newspapers 2.28.
Use of online services: 29 % made an appointment with the family doctor online, 27 percent made an appointment with a specialist online, 21 percent made an appointment with a nurse online, 46 percent accessed their blood tests online.
Effect of health information online. In the survey we asked if as a consequence of accessing health information online, respondents decided to take an action.
54% reported that reading online health information definitely influenced their health activities.
45% reported that the information online helped them to start physical activity.
39% said that online information help them to make a decision to start a weight loss program.
16 % changed their physician and 24% asked to change their pills as a result of the online information..

Does social networking use increase self-esteem?

These are the results of my new paper, to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the MSS-NCSA in Chicago March 31-April 4 2010

The Effect of Social networking sites and online communication on Self-Esteem: A longitudinal Study.

Gustavo Mesch, Department of Sociology, U of Haifa

gustavo@soc.haifa.ac.il

Self-esteem refers to the perception and evaluation that we have ‎about ourselves. Is the outcome of social interactions both with ‎significant and generalized others.‎
High self esteem has been linked to occupational success, healthy ‎social relationships and academic achievement. Low self esteem ‎to problematic outcomes including depressive symptoms and anti ‎social behavior. ‎
As online communication is more integrated in the social life of a ‎vast percentage of the population and social interaction is both ‎offline and online
RQ1: Does online social interaction affects self-esteem?‎
As the ecology of online communication is more diversified
RQ:2 Which types of online social interaction affect self-esteem? ‎

Previous studies limitations
‎1. limited to specific populations (college students and youth).‎
‎2. Examined SNS effects isolated from other CMC channels.‎
‎3. Mostly cross-sectional limiting conclusions that can be reached. ‎
‎4. Most of the studies do not differentiate purpose of SNS use.‎
This study used a longitudinal online survey of adult Internet ‎users and the effects of the frequency and types of use of Social ‎Networking Sites (SNS), e-mail, Instant Messenger (I.M.) and ‎weblogs on self esteem was studied. ‎
Theory and hypothesis: “sociometer hypothesis”‎
‎ According to this hypothesis self-esteem is essentially a ‎psychological meter, which monitors the quality of people’s ‎relationships with others, the extent that are being accepted or ‎rejected. Quality with others is monitored online and offline.‎
R1: What is the effect of frequency of SNS use, types of SNS ‎use and other online communication on changes in self-esteem ‎over time?‎
One important tenet of this perspective is that an important ‎antecedent of self esteem are changes in relational evaluations, the ‎degree to which we perceive that others regard their relationships ‎with us as valuable, important and close.‎
H1: Perceived social support is positively associated with changes ‎over time on self-esteem. The higher the perceived social support ‎the higher the positive change over time in self-esteem. ‎
The sociometer perspective assumes that evidence of low ‎
relational evaluation (particularly, a decrement in relational ‎evaluation is detected), the “sociometer” attracts the person’s ‎attention to the potential threat to social acceptance and motivates ‎him or her to action. Perceived social support reflects perceived ‎change in attitudes of others to us. ‎

H3: Social support is negatively associated with change over time ‎in the use of online communication channels. The lower the ‎perceived social support the higher the increase over time in the ‎use of SNS, e-mail, I.M. and Weblogs.‎

Data and methods
Longitudinal study of Internet users that responded to an online ‎survey that included 51 items asking their pattern of use of the ‎Internet and SNS. Data collection was conducted in April 2008 ‎and the second in September 2009 (n=455) ‎
Variables
Self-Esteem. Frequency of SNS use. SNS use for maintaing social ‎ties.SNS use for expanding social ties. Social support. E-mail, ‎I.M., Weblog use.Frequency of Internet use.Socio-demographic ‎variables. ‎
I used an ordinary least squares (OLS) lagged dependent ‎variable regression model, that is also called a conditional change ‎model to test the hypotheses

Average Age 29.14 years old (range 18-45 years old), ‎
Gender: 45 percent were male and 55 percent women. ‎
‎30 percent had high school education or less, 32 percent technical ‎or partial college education and 30 percent full college education. ‎
‎84.5 percent currently have a profile in a SNS, 69 percent ‎regularly use I.M., 24 percent write in a weblog and 99 percent ‎send and receive electronic mail. ‎
The most salient finding of this study is the effect of online communication use over time on self-esteem, supporting the argument that as ‎online communication has been integrated in everyday social interaction, online interactions have a real effect on self esteem.‎
Another important finding of the study relates to the use of SNS. Following previous studies it was assumed that frequency of use and type of ‎use will be associated with changes over time in self-esteem. Differentiating between different uses, it was found that the effect over time on the ‎psychological well-being of individuals is more likely to be positive. Our study also qualifies this finding and provides new insights to the ‎understanding of their role. Frequency of use and using SNS for conserving social ties was not associated with changes in self esteem. Yet, the ‎use for social tie expansion was found to be positively associated with changes in self-esteem. This result may be explained in terms of the role ‎of social comparison through the life cycle. During adulthood there is an increased need of comparisons with dissimilar others. Comparisons ‎with dissimilar others satisfy the need to feel unique, worthwhile and special. Furthermore professional and occupational competition fosters the ‎need for comparison with young individuals that compete in the same profession 3 .‎
‎ Following the sociometer hypothesis the study found that SNS are being used as compensation for lack of social support. Individuals that report ‎a low perception of social support, as predicted by the sociometer hypothesis are motivated to use SNS to expand their social ties (see findings of ‎Table 3) and to write in blogs (see findings Table 4). This motivation is consistent with the compensation hypothesis that argues that individuals ‎that report a low level of social support make use of online communication to compensate for the lack of support in face to face interacions. ‎However, the results of their actions seem to differ. An increase in the use of SNS for the expansion of social ties results in an increase in the ‎reported self esteem. Conversely, writing in a blog does not provide the expected outcome and an increase in the use of weblogs results in a ‎negative change in the reported perception of self-esteem. It is possible that the difference is associated with the different reactivity of the ‎platforms. Much of the blog writing might be read but less likely to create reactions among its readers.‎