The Business Model of Social Media and the Influence of Marketing on Consumer Well-Being, Kiki Van Son

For over a decade, research has shown a decline in well-being due to social media use. In all of these studies, however, a key stakeholder of social media companies is left unexamined. My research introduces the role of marketing into the conversation surrounding social media and mental health. I include a comprehensive look at the literature to show how a business model built on advertising revenue manifests negative externalities for consumers of social media platforms. This is supplemented by primary research in the form of a survey design which samples Instagram users specifically. Findings show how personal users are more vulnerable to negative impacts on well-being than professional users, or users who are marketers professionally and possess an understanding of social media as fundamentally a marketing channel. By revealing clear differences in levels of engagement and reasons for using Instagram between these two types of users, my research illustrates personal strategies that can be used to disrupt the business of social media and positively impact those using the platforms.

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