Keeping up online appearances: How self-disclosure on Facebook affects perceived respect and likability in the professional context

Anika Batenburg, Jos Bartels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Employees often share personal information with professional contacts on social media (e.g., Facebook), complicating boundaries between private and professional identities. According to Ollier-Malaterre, Rothbard, and Berg (2013), the online behavior of employees on social media can be described by what they communicate online about themselves determined by their self-evaluation motives (self-verification vs. self-enhancement) and with whom they prefer to connect on social media (integration vs. segmentation of personal and professional identities). This study tests the effects of these strategies on respect and likability in a professional context. We conducted an online experiment (N = 257) in which individuals were exposed to a Facebook profile page illustrating a particular type of boundary management behavior of a possible colleague. Respondents rated the individual on ‘likability’ and ‘respect’. Results indicated that integrating personal and professional contacts yields higher levels of likability than segmenting them. Posting self-enhancing messages results in higher levels of respect than posting self-verifying messages. Findings imply that the best strategy to preserve respect and likability among colleagues is to integrate professional contacts on Facebook and post self-enhancing messages (so called ‘content’ behavior).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-276
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume74
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

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