Social media offers users the ability to participate with a social network of others in a process of sharing and fellowship, presenting an impression of self and the ability to monitor constructed expressions. Recent studies examining the ritual view of communication, impression management, self-regulation, and self-reflective capabilities show each of these plays a role when using certain social media sites. However, a research gap exists regarding the use of any social media and the perspectives of young adult users during the scenario of experiencing regret as the result of engaging with social media. The study is a mixed-methods exploratory study analyzing emergent themes of this phenomenon. A survey of qualitative open-ended questions and quantitative directed-response choices was administered to 332 individuals. Descriptive, In-Vivo, Emotion and Pattern qualitative coding methods were administered for detailed analysis, as well as SPSS frequency analysis to those reporting the experience of regret (n = 152) while using social media. Findings reveal that users engage in a ritual view of communication while using social media that may be influenced positively or negatively by content posted or the frequency of use. Users seek to manage their own personal impressions to others, while also affecting other users' impressions within the mediated network Self-regulation was in force, suspended or altered during the regrettable social media post, yet self-reflective capabilities assisted user comprehension of regret and post ramifications. Action regrets took place with both hot and cold emotional states. Frequency of social media posting decreased after experiencing instances of regrettable posts.
social media, regret, ritual view of communication, impression management, social cognitive theory
Level of Degree
Department of Communication and Journalism
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Oostman, Kimberly. "User Experiences of Regret While Engaging with Social Media." (2016). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/cj_etds/93