Sharing physical activity experience on SNS during isolation
With the rapid development of SNS (such as Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, and Weibo) people have been given more opportunities for self-expression and social interaction, which has resulted in rich user-created content. Powerful SNS resources bring opportunities for physical activity informatization, and SNS and physical activity information can form an organic unity. Sharing physical activity experience on SNS mainly refers to the acquisition and exchange of sports knowledge (involving education, culture, competition and other physical science and technology knowledge), sports topics, sports consumption and other related information through SNS.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, governments around the world strongly recommend that the public stay at home and maintain regular physical activity and daily exercise in a safe home environment. Residents can establish a positive image of sunshine and health through sharing physical activity experience on SNS, so as to produce social influence. During this period, the government or sports organizations also use this time to promote residents' home-based exercise through SNS channels. For example, the Australian Olympic Committee encourages residents to participate in physical activities at home through SNS, and invites professional athletes to provide suggestions and demonstrations for home-based exercise by producing and disseminating a series of home sports videos, which will be released on multiple social media platforms. Some scholars believe that encouraging residents to take photos and upload their own home exercise or virtual sports can achieve an inspiring effect.
At present, there are few studies on sharing physical activity experience on SNS in isolation period. Some studies focus on sports challenge behavior in SNS, and believe that besides the fitness function, it can change the residents' sports consumption concept and provide opportunities for enterprises and social organizations. At the same time, some studies think that SNS provides a kind of virtual space for fans, which is a place of participation and dialogue. The COVID-19 outbreak limits the interaction between sports organizations and fans, and in such a virtual space, sports organizations can re-establish contact with fans, and fans from all over the world can have daily discussions about their favorite sports teams through online communication. This study happened to analyze the relationship between sharing physical activity experience on SNS and social connectedness from the perspective of fans. However, this study only stays in theory and does not carry out empirical research. During the isolation period, more and more people rely on SNS to find and share health information. Besides, sharing physical activity experience on SNS, as a signal to show their own health status, also has the function of alleviating social distancing. In a few words, the current research on sharing physical activity experience on SNS in the period of isolation almost starts from the perspectives of government, sports organizations and enterprises. Discussing sharing physical activity experience on social online helps to strengthen their ties with the public, and alleviate the adverse impact of COVID-19 on sports events or sports industry. However, they all ignore that sharing physical activity experience on SNS can also directly affect the social connectedness between people.
Personal social connectedness during isolation
Social connectedness is defined as the subjective awareness of being in close relationships with the social world. It covers the quantity, quality, frequency, type and network structure of the relationship between individuals and friends, family, and the community. In the existing studies, it is generally believed that personal social connectedness is affected by the change of personal living environment and group effect. Based on the core definition of "sense of belonging and interpersonal relationship" in previous studies, the social connection in this study is defined as the intimacy and sense of belonging with friends, family, and the community in the home environment during isolation.
In past studies, it is generally believed that SNS can promote people's social connectedness. People use SNS to keep in touch with family and close friends. A study on the use of SNS by adolescents showed that "active" use of SNS was more effective than "passive" use of SNS in maintaining friendship between friends and strengthening social ties. In the study of adult samples, we found that using the Internet for communication (other than for work purposes) can reduce loneliness in adults, which generally comes from social distancing. It is generally believed that people who use SNS to maintain existing social relationships have stronger social adaptability and less loneliness.
At present, COVID-19 has become a major global public health crisis. Although isolation policy can reduce the risk of infection, it may have negative effects due to social distancing. Some studies believe that social isolation makes people feel socially alienated, which leads to increased loneliness and more fragility in the heart. In order to prevent the spread of disease, people may lack social connectedness because they cannot go to places where they normally gather (for example, schools, bars, community centers, churches, shopping malls, parks, etc), especially those who have no pro-social behavior. The greater the impact of social isolation is, the more serious the lack of social connectedness. Studies have found that SNS can reduce these risks. There is a positive correlation between the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and social connectedness; however, there are still doubts about the source or content of the exchange of information. Therefore, this study considers whether sharing in SNS, as a physical activity that can promote personal health, can promote people's communication in SNS during isolation, thereby consolidating social connectedness.
Positive self-presentation in SNS
The concept of self-presentation is based on symbolic interactionism, which refers to the efforts of individuals to show themselves and influence others in order to make others look at themselves based on their wishes. Specifically, self-presentation refers to the behavior of individuals to convey self-information to others, aimed at constructing, maintaining, and modifying their own public image. Positive self-presentation refers to the selective presentation of information that can establish a positive image of oneself. This presentation strategy can improve individual self-esteem, positive emotions and life satisfaction. With the increasing popularity of SNS, SNS plays a central role in personal self-expression and social relationship management. As a supplementary way of communication to the existing relationship in real life, the non-immediacy of online communication enables individuals to have maximum control over self-display and expression, thereby making SNS an ideal platform for self-presentation. SNS not only provides the function of maintaining and developing interpersonal relationship, but also allows users to upload information on their home page, such as uploading photos, sharing status, posting logs and other functions. Online positive self-presentation based on SNS, as a form of self-expression used by individual SNS, can enable individuals to shape a positive social image on the network according to their own advantages.
After the COVID-19 outbreak, the use of SNS has experienced an explosive growth, and people are establishing contact and interaction with others by using a series of SNS software. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed people’s preferences for self-presentation on SNS, making it more common to discuss a person's health and preventive behavior. As a result, sharing this kind of information is beneficial to the public interest and is a socially recognized behavior. For example, athletes spread positive information through SNS, encourage residents to engage in appropriate physical activity at home, check in for daily home sports, and analyze sports information through SNS to enhance social connectedness, thereby establishing a positive image of athletes. In other words, after the outbreak of COVID-19, people’s positive self-presentation content on SNS has new preferences, and sharing physical activity experience on SNS has become more common.
Positive feedback in SNS
Positive feedback is one of the most important forms of social support in SNS. It is mainly manifested in the timely positive affirmative evaluation of the other party during the online interaction process. Specifically, it refers to the supportive response received by individuals when they post status, photos and other personal information in social applications, online friends' attention, concern or acceptance of comments, "like" and other behaviors. Some studies have shown that positive feedback, as an online social support, helps to improve the individual's social adaptability and social connectedness. In the study of a sample of Chinese students, the number of positive comments received on the SNS page will adjust the relationship between self-disclosure and social capital on SNS. It is worth noting that some studies have shown that participants with positive self-perception will seek more positive feedback than those with negative self-perception. For example, adolescent girls focus on personal body image, while girls with better body shape and more participation in physical activity are more eager to receive approval from others or other forms of positive feedback. Affected by the COVID-19 social distance restrictions in various countries, for some people, in order to avoid getting negative feedback on SNS, they choose more cautious online self-presentation. This also leads to positive self-presentation and more positive feedback.
Model development, variables, and hypotheses
Inside out and outside in: How the COVID-19 pandemic affects self-disclosure on SNS
In the era of SNS, everyone becomes the producer, disseminator and receiver of information. The information sharing function of SNS has made it increasingly become as one of the main channels of user information production and release. In the study of online sharing behavior on SNS, enhancing social connectedness is the main motivation for sharing behavior, especially when sharing some physical activity information. In addition, physical activity is inseparable from the information sharing function of SNS. With the outbreak of COVID-19, under the restriction of isolation policy, more and more people choose to exercise at home, and people hope to alleviate the negative impact of COVID-19 through exercise. At the same time, the frequency of sharing and discussing home exercise and virtual activities on SNS has become increasingly frequent. Governments of various countries actively encourage residents to exercise at home, and also to share and discuss related physical activities online. Combined with previous research results, sharing information and participating in interaction on SNS can enhance social connectedness. During the outbreak, more and more people take sharing physical activity experience on SNS as a signal to show their health status. Besides, there exists a relationship between physical activity and social connectedness. Therefore, it is considered that during the isolation period, sharing physical activity experience on SNS has a positive impact on residents' social connectedness (H1a).
Preliminary research indicates that self-presentation may be an important antecedent and consequence of physical activity. It is also a positive personal image to present because people usually want others to see them in an ideal way. Affected by COVID-19, more and more people show their home exercise results or scores of virtual sports on SNS. They regard it as an act of showing their own health and being proactive, which will be recognized by others and is a kind of positive self-presentation. Therefore, it is assumed that residents sharing physical activity experience on SNS during the isolation period can obtain positive self-presentation on SNS (H1b).
Previous studies have confirmed that students with high athletic ability can improve their well-being by receiving positive feedback, and it has been put forward that receiving positive feedback is also one of the intrinsic motivations of physical activity. In addition, some studies have shown that sharing information about health behaviors on SNS can receive positive feedback from others, and at the same time, can also create a positive image in others' mind. Therefore, it can be considered that residents sharing physical activity experience on SNS during the home isolation period can obtain positive feedback from others on SNS (H1c).
H1a Sharing physical activity experience on SNS during the home isolation period directly and positively predicts social connectedness.
H1b Sharing physical activity experience on SNS during the home isolation period directly and positively predicts online positive self-presentation.
H1c Sharing physical activity experience on SNS during the home isolation period directly and positively predicts positive online feedback.
SNS has greatly changed the way people communicate, connect and express themselves. SNS encourages users to show the most positive aspects of their lives. Their motivation is to gain virtual recognition from friends and relatives through likes and comments. Some studies have found that most elderly groups are willing to extend and augment their interpersonal relationships in reality through self-presentation and interpersonal interaction on SNS. This shows that individuals in SNS can create a satisfactory and ideal self-image with the help of positive self-presentation, thereby getting rid of the social distress in real social interactions and enhancing social connectedness. Therefore, it is assumed that positive self-presentation on SNS can enhance the social connectedness (H2a) among residents during isolation. In the process of using SNS, under the influence of social approbation and motivation to control the outcome of the interaction, people will try to keep the image consistent with the social image, in order to obtain others' praise and pleasant evaluation. Empirical studies show that when individuals present information related to themselves through self-presentation, they encourage others to give feedback. In the process of presentation and feedback, the two formed a good relationship, and deepened the good interpersonal relationship in the process of repeated circulation. Therefore, it is assumed that positive self-presentation on SNS can obtain positive feedback from others (H2b). Online positive feedback means that individuals obtain positive feedback from others in the interpersonal interaction of SNS and contribute to positive social interaction, such as positive comments, replies, likes, and so on. Studies have shown that SNS promote interpersonal communication and maintain peer relationships among adolescents through positive feedback, which is an important factor in improving the quality of friendship. Online positive feedback on SNS can have a positive impact on personal offline intimacy. Therefore, it can be considered that online positive feedback has a significant positive predictive effect on social connectedness (H3).
H2a During the home isolation period, online positive self-presentation directly and positively predicts social connectedness.
During the H2b home isolation period, online positive self-presentation directly and positively predicts positive online feedback.
H3 During the home isolation period, online positive feedback directly and positively predicts social connectedness.
In the social pension theory, it is pointed out that the establishment or development of "disclosure-feedback-relationship" is the basic process to promote the establishment and development of interpersonal relationship. Individuals can express themselves through information transmission, and getting positive feedback from others will deepen interpersonal relationships between people. Specifically, individuals can post, share, and discuss positive information related to themselves in SNS, thereby showing a positive image and friends giving positive feedback on the posted information. When individuals receive positive feedback from their friends, they will enhance their social connectedness between themselves and their friends. During pandemic, everyone is keen to discuss a person’s health status and preventive behavior. It is generally recognized that sharing such information is beneficial to the public interest, which is a behavior that can be recognized by others. In particular, the World Health Organization and governments at all levels of countries for home physical activity have recommended that daily exercise in a safe home environment is an important strategy for healthy living. Residents are encouraged to share home-based exercise or virtual sports on SNS. According to the social penetration theory, SNS will classify people who have the same pursuit of health into one category; in this way, sharing physical activity experience on SNS will form a new social interaction, and such group of people will think that sharing physical activity experience can promote self-presentation, where this positive form of self-presentation can be recognized by others and promote the establishment of interpersonal relationship (H4). Meanwhile, they also consider that sharing physical activity experience can obtain positive feedback from others, such that they can also gain the recognition of others and promote the establishment of interpersonal relationship (H5). Relying on the logical assumption of "disclosure-feedback-relationship" in social penetration theory, during the isolation period, sharing physical activity experience on SNS can not only promote self-presentation, but also obtain more friendly and supportive comments or responses, and strengthen the intimate relationship between individuals (H6).
H4 During the home isolation period, positive self-presentation played a mediating role between sharing physical activity experience on SNS and social connectedness.
H5 During the home isolation period, positive feedback played a mediating role between sharing physical activity experience on SNS and social connectedness.
H6 During the home isolation period, positive self-presentation and positive feedback played a chain-like mediating role in the mechanism of sharing physical activity experience on SNS and social connectedness.