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Awkward Encounters of an “Other” Kind: Collective Self-Presentation and Face Threat on Facebook


While we tend to think of self-presentation as a process executed by the self, reputation management on social network sites, like Facebook, is increasingly viewed as a collective endeavor. The information users share about one another can have significant impacts on impression formation, and at times this other-generated content may be face threatening, or challenging to one’s desired self-presentation. However, we know little about the nature of these other-generated face threats and the ways that people perceive them. Using an online survey of 150 Facebook users, we report on what these users consider to be other-generated face threats and how they feel after experiencing them. Results suggest that many face threats result from other Facebook users neglecting or misunderstanding a target’s audience and/or self-presentation goals, as well as a target’s fear of creating an unwanted association with another Facebook user. Experience of these threats is affected by both individual and situational factors. We also report on a new unique measure capturing Facebook skills.

E. Litt
E. Spottswood
J. Birnhotlz
M. Smith
L. Reynolds
J.T. Hancock
Proceedings of the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2014). (Honorable Mention Top Paper)
Publication Date
February 19, 2014