Psychology and Social Networks Article Review
Psychology and Social Networks
In the article on Psychology and social networks (Westaby, Pfaff, & Redding, 2014) addresses the critical role that social networks play in influencing the goal pursuit and resistance processes and how these processes influence social networks in return. The article illustrates how these processes relate with outcomes such as goal achievement and emotional contagion at interpersonal levels.
The article uses the dynamic network theory (DNT) as the anchor that helps to understand why people use social networks and what they do and this has not been postulated in the traditional social network analysis. The article provides a conceptual approach that brings together social network and psychological concepts that gives a better understanding of the human goal pursuits and resistance processes and associated outcomes.
Granovetter (2005) states that social structure can be a source of motivation but this article even goes further by giving the key social media roles that have their roots in psychology and they also explain how social networks are involved in goal pursuit and resistance prevention
Some of the roles of social networks include goal striving. This entails the process of trying to pursue a given goal, interest or behavior. For instance students striving to achieve their academic goals or employees striving to achieve work related targets and goals. This striving to achieve goals will create other sub goals related to the main goals and involve getting support from others through social networks. System supporting is another such a goal that entails individuals in the social networks supporting one another to achieve their goals.
Goal preventing is another role that entails people that within a social network are actively involved in preventing others from achieving their goals and this in turn creates a competitive social environment. For instance a homeowner may oppose a private developer from putting up a trading complex in his neighborhood by giving factual arguments at a town hall meeting. Another role of social networking is supportive resistance this is whereby one provides indirect support for résistance .For example a lawyer may give some important information to a homeowner to help him make better arguments so that a home owner or private developer does not develop in his neighborhood. System negating is another role and this is whereby someone responds negatively to efforts of another to discourage him for achieving a given goal. For instance a bully may negatively respond to someone who is working hard to fulfil a given goal either in person or by the help of social media.
Another role is negative reacting that occurs when a system reacts negatively to those showing system resistance. For instance a friend or family member of a target of system negation by a bully may react by being anxious or shedding tears. The last two roles according to dynamic network theory are interacting and observing. Interacting is the process of encountering those who are in the process of achieving some goals but without being directly involved in the pursuit of those goals but these interactions can influence performance. While observing is the process or the state of being aware for something going but not being directly involved in the goal pursuit process. For instance, people watching a police officer making an arrest from a distance, they are simply observers witnessing the officer’s pursuit.
The psychological theory of the article is dynamic network theory that explains the role of and underlying motivation that undergirds the goal pursuit and resistance process for social networks. The article doesn’t at all address the role of psychologists professionals in this area neither does it represent what it that they can do. It is not clear either what the theoretical perspective of the study is. The study does not indicate where it was done, the size of the sample and how the sample was chosen (if any).
This article served to show the importance of dynamic network theory in showing how motivational principles complements research done on traditional social networks by giving an understanding of human goal pursuit and resistance processes in social networks and associated outcomes.DNT helps scholars and researchers to identify ways by which social networks impact goal pursuits. It also highlights eight social network roles and lastly this article has expanded knowledge on the dynamic network theory by giving understanding to many other processes that can impact goal pursuits and calling for further research to be done.
Some of other reviewed articles that have addressed this topic include Balick, (2014) which states that social networking platforms such as twitter, Facebook and Google+ are used to showcase people’s cultures. According to the article, social media is a great purveyor of culture because people can share about their culture with other by posting photos, songs and videos .At the same time young people can also get to learn about the culture of others and they can copy it by being exposed through social media.
DeLamater& Ward, (2013) addresses some of the security challenges that are brought about by social media. They state that social media can expose someone to various psychological dangers and threats. It explains how people psychologically relate with social media and how their security can be threatened by social media. For instance, cyber bullying can lead to stress, anxiety and even death of the victims especially teenagers. The social network sites can also lead to sexual abuse of children who are seduced by faceless strangers on sites such as Facebook, these sex predators pose as children but then when they have earned the trust of children they pounce and take advantage of them.
According to Gackenbach, (2007) the internet especially social media platforms have interpersonal, intrapersonal, and transpersonal implications. They have interpersonal implications such as networking and social capital. That is, one is able to meet like-minded people and have friends on social media and they can be able to form partnerships. Intrapersonal aspects of social media can include self-esteem. A person who has a large following on social media tends to have a better sense of self-worth and meaning on the other hand someone who has been a victim of online bullying may commit suicide. This article looks at the both the positive and negative psychological implications of social media.
On the other, Izso, (2014) looks at the role of social media in business, social media can be a wonderful tool that can enhance profits in the hands of a business person. For instance, a person can psychologically post his products in the media pretending to be giving a general advice to people but in the real sense trying to advertise his or her product.
Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2010) states the importance of social networking sites especially as far exchange of information is concerned. Social Networking sites transformed information sharing, both for private and official purposes such as in a work-related context. The article also discusses the role of social networking sites on both private and professional pursuits. For instance, sites such as LinkedIn can help one to build a professional network, find business opportunities and jobs.
Balick, A. (2014). The psychodynamics of social networking: Connected-up instantaneous culture and the self. London: Karnac.
Gackenbach, J. (2007). Psychology and the Internet: Intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transpersonal implications. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press.
In DeLamater, J. D., & In Ward, A. (2013). Handbook of social psychology.
Izso, J. (2014). Got social mediology?: Using psychology to master social media for your business without spending… a dime.
Kaplan, A. M. and Haenlein, M. (2010) ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media’, Business Horizons, Vol. 53, Issue 1: pp.59-68
Westaby, J. D., Pfaff, D. L., & Redding, N. (2014). Psychology and social networks: A dynamic network theory perspective. American Psychologist, 69(3), 269-284. doi:10.1037/a0036106
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