FISIPOL Students’ Research on Social Media Features in Building the User Image

Yogyakarta, September 30th 2021─The increasingly diverse social media platforms have had an effect on changing user attitudes, especially Generation Z. One of the reasons is that there are differences in the features of each social media platform so that users actively try to present their best image. This prompted a number of FISIPOL UGM students through the Student Creativity Program (PKM) to conduct research on the reality behind the diversity of social media features.

The PKM team in the field of Social Humanities Research, consisting of Maftukhatun Deritanti, Dyah Niken Rahmawati, Syifa Mahmudah, and Vina Idamatus Silmi raised the research title “The Multiple Faces of Social Media Users: The Use of Social Media in Building Image Among Generation Z”. With the guidance of a Communication Science lecturer, Lisa Lindawati, S.IP., M.A, they made observations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter social media accounts. “Through this research, it is expected to be able to describe how someone uses social media accounts along with the level of suitability of the circumstances shown by the user, identify a person’s motives in using social media, and provide a new perspective on active users in utilizing various social media platforms, as well as reduce user’s anxiety in using social media,” Maftukhatutun as the Head of the Research Team said.

The research findings show that there are differences in the images displayed by users on each social media platform. On Instagram, users tend to share only positive posts, while on Twitter and Facebook, users tend to use them based on specific needs. User behavior which is dominated by positive uploads and does not show a negative side greatly affects the mental health of other users. In addition, the negative side of the user’s life is not displayed in order to maintain the image and avoid a bad digital footprint. As for users who have different “faces” shown in the use of social media accounts. “This is clarified by the number of accounts that are more than one on one platform which shows a significant difference, such as differences in uploads through the selection of captions or images and videos selected on the main account and the second account,” Maftukhatun said.

Through information from research informants, the difference in the purpose of using social media proves that not all uploaded posts reflect the actual condition of users because they only show the positive side. This condition causes some users to feel anxious because they cannot show their best side according to other users. “Social media users should not get carried away easily in using social media and understand that not fully what is seen on social media is in accordance with the existing reality, so as to minimize mental health disorders and provide new views on the behavior of social media users,” Maftukhatun explained.