Self-Representation in Social Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown
Over the past 15 years, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, influencing both our informal interactions and professional discourses as well as their structure. From this, one can conclude that social media has its own logic, which includes special norms, strategies and mechanisms (van Dijck - Poell, 2013). Therefore, it is not surprising that many of the changes affecting society today have been instigated by the use of social media. Two fundamental features of social media are its ability to transcend geographical and cultural boundaries and the role that recipients play when posts are shared, as opposed to traditional models of mass communication. Consequently, these features have led to the rise of the ‘infodemic’, a term that describes the excessive spread of information and can be used specifically to refer to the dissemination of information about the COVID-19 pandemic on social media platforms (Cinelli et al., 2020). The present study aims to provide a snapshot of how self-representation on social media platforms has changed among Hungarian users during the lockdown period of COVID-19, supported by a brief literature review about the pandemic and its effects on mental health and tested using an online questionnaire to gain deeper insight into social media usage patterns. According to the results of the questionnaire, social media usage and self-representation in social media posts became more frequent during the lockdown. Additionally, symptoms of major depression were more likely among those who shared photos of themselves or their close relations ‘daily’ or ‘multiple times a day’ on Messenger, where the frequency of photo-sharing increased the most.