The primary aim of this research was to gain a greater understanding of Automated-Reality (AR) filter use and the relationship it has to social anxiety theory. This research aimed to determine the attributes of social anxiety on an individual and to comprehend if people are motivated to use filters to conceal aspects of their true identity. Whilst there is an abundance of research surrounding social anxiety there is little that investigates how it manifests in the online user and motivates them to use automated filters (AR) on Social Media. For the purposes of this research the platform Tik Tok was researched. Previous research on the topic of AR filters is limited, and therefore poses as an ideal area for investigation.
To obtain the required information, digital diaries were conducted by seven participants over seven consecutive days. Participants were asked to discuss the AR filters that they choose to use and why they choose to use that particular AR filter on each day. Following the completion of all diary entries, each participant was then interviewed to gain a comprehensive understanding of their behaviors and attitudes towards AR filter use. This data was then analysed to identify characteristics that correlated to social anxiety theory.
Therefore, the results of this primary research carried out add to the literature surrounding AR filter use, which is currently limited given the topic at hand and is so under-researched. This provided a lens to discover insights into social anxiety, and also how individuals are motivated to use AR filters as a strategy to reduce the social anxiety they experience online. As demonstrated individuals are motivated to utilise the AR filter feature on Tik Tok to decrease the levels of social anxiety they have online in order to selectively self-present and explore a rather ‘flawless’ persona online.