The Social Media

Published: 2017-12-06 10:34:32
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ThesocialmediaanditsvariousplatformssuchasFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, andInstagramhasbecomeapartofpeople’everydaylife. Infact, agoodpercentageofpeopleintheworldtodayrarelyspendawholedaywithoutloggingintoanyoneoftheidentifiedsocialmediasites. InlinewithHighmore, thecultureofasocietycanbeconsideredaspeople’normalwayoflife, whichischaracterizedbyfactorssuchastheirdailyactivities, generalcustoms, aswellasbeliefs (12). Forthatreason, thesocialmediaandtheuseofthevarioussocialnetworkingsitescanbeperceptiblyconsideredasapartofthecultureofmanypeoplearoundtheworldtoday. Beingoneofthemostpopularnetworkingsites, Facebookformsthefocalpointofthediscussioninthispaper. Asamatteroffact, Facebookiscurrentlyusedinnearlyallpartsoftheworld (KoteykoandHunt60). Inviewofthis, itiswortharguingthattheutilizationofFacebookpresentlyrepresentsorhasbecomeapartofnearlyallculturalcommunitiesaroundtheworld. CulturalpracticesofvirtuallyeverycommunityacrosstheglobeareinfluencedbyFacebookand, inturn, Facebooknowadaysdetermineshowsomepeoplepracticetheircultureonadailybasis. Apparently, Facebookreflectsthevaluesofnearlyallcommunitiesintheworld.
Asanoverviewofwhatistofollow, thepaperfirstlyintroducestheconceptofsocialnetworkingbynarrowingdowntotheuseofFacebook. Next, theinfluenceofculturalpracticesontheuseofFacebookisoverviewedwiththeoverallgoalofdetermininghowpeople’cultureandvaluedeterminetheinformationthattheyshareonline. ThediscussionisthenfollowedbytherolethatFacebookplaysinthemodelingofpeople’cultureandthepossibilitythatFacebookcanentirelyerodeacommunity’culture. ThefinalsectionconcentratesonhowFacebookreinforcesthemainstreamcultureandtheextenttowhichthesocialmediasitechallengesthestatusquoinmanycommunitiesaroundtheworld. Inlightofthediscussion, thepaperwillseektoillustratethattheutilizationofFacebooksignificantlyinfluencestheonlineandofflineculturalpracticesofnearlyallcommunitiesaroundtheworld. Inturn, theprevailingculturalpracticesconsiderablydeterminetheleveltowhichpeoplearewillingtousethesocialnetworkingsitssuchasFacebook.
TheSocialMedia: Facebook
Justashasbeenstated, theeverydaylifeofmanypeoplecurrentlyrevolvesaroundtheuseofthevarioussocialnetworkingsitessuchasFacebook. Likeothersocialmediaplatforms, Facebookallowspeopletocreatefreeonlineprofilesandinteractwiththeirfriendsandfamiliesonline. Atthesametime, theplatformallowspeopletomeetnewfriendsandmakemeaningfulconnectionsontheonlinespectrumoflife. Whatismore, thesocialnetworkingsiteallowsbusinessestodisplaytheirproductsonlinetotheircustomerswho, aswell, havetheabilitytoreviewssuchproductsbasedontheirexperiences (Yu413). ItisworthnotingthatthelargenumberofpeoplewhocurrentlyuseFacebookhasresultedinasituationwherebycultureandcommunalvaluesarereadilysharedwithpeoplefromdifferentpartsoftheworld. Inviewofthis, Facebookisoneofthenewsocialmediasitesthatsupportstudyingofthecultureandeverydaylifeofpeoplefromdifferentcommunitiesaroundtheworld.
CulturalPracticesandtheUseofFacebook
Theutilizationofthesocialnetworkingsitecloselyrelatestothecultureandculturalvaluesofpeopleinagivencommunity. Asoneofthedomainsoftheeverydayculture, Facebookwasdesignednottotargetaparticularaudience, buttobeusedbyallcommunitiesaroundtheworld. Asamatteroffact, thepossibilityforuserstochangethelanguagesettingsforthesiteanduseitevenintheirlocallanguagejustifiestheassertionthatthesitewasdesignedtosupportallcommunitiesaroundtheworld. However, itisvitalstatingthatculturalvaluesofacommunitydeterminethewaypeopleaffiliatedwiththecommunityusethesocialnetworkingsiteandtheinformationtheycanshare (LonnqvistandDeters114). PeoplefromonepartoftheworldmayhavelessrestrictiveculturesandhavetheabilitytosharewhatevertheyfeellikesharingonlinewhileotherpopulationshavelimitationsintheuseofFacebook.
InformationSharing. OneofthemainwaysinwhichcultureinfluencestheuseofFacebookiswithregardstoinformationsharing. Insomecountries, theexistingcommunalcultureallowsforself-censorshipintermsoftheinformationthatonemayshareonline. Forinstance, mostWesterncultureshavefewerrestrictionsonhowapersonwouldusethesocialnetworkingsite. Infact, aFacebookuserfromtheUnitedStateswouldhavethefreedomtoself-censorwhatheorshepostsonlineandusepersonalconvictionstolimittheinformationpostedonline (Peters, Winschiers-Theophilus, andMennecke263). Ontheotherhand, somecommunitieshaveculturalvaluesthatrestrictthekindofinformationthatcanbesharedonline, assomebehaviorsmaybeconsideredunfitandinconsistentwiththeexistingtraditionalcustoms. Forexample, theuseofFacebookinNamibiaislinkedtotheculturalandfamilystructures (Petersetal. 263). TheimplicationisthatthecommunalcultureinNamibiadeterminestheinformationthatuserscanshareonline. Basedonthegivencircumstances, cultureapparentlyhasaconsiderableinfluenceontheuseofFacebookinmanycommunities.
TaboosRelatedtoConversations. Onlinechatsandconversationsinvolvingpeoplefromvariousculturalbackgroundscanaswellbeusedintheevaluationofhowpeople’cultureandeverydaywayoflifedeterminetheiruseofFacebook. Insomecommunities, someconversationsaregenerallyseenasataboowhenspokeninthepublic, astheyamounttoderelictionanddeviationsfromtheacceptedsocio-culturalbehaviors. Asanillustration, PalestinianyouthslivinginIsraelarelesslikelytoengageinonlineconversationsontopicsthatareperceivedastaboosintheoff-linedialogscenario (AbbasandMesch645). Suchtopicsmayincludenudepicturesandsexuallyexplicitcontent. Ontheotherhand, someofthesecontentsarelikelytobediscussedinsomewesterncountries. Evidently, culturehassignificantinfluenceontheuseofFacebook.
Facebook’EffectsonCulturalPractices
DespitethefactthattheuseofFacebookisdeterminedbytheexistingculturalvaluesofacommunity, theemergenceofFacebookhasequallyledtosubstantiallybenefitstomanycommunitiesandtheircommunalvalues.
APlatformforNurturingAppropriateCulturalPractices. Tostartwith, Facebooksupportstheinterconnectednessbetweenamongfamiliesandcommunitymembers, whichisessentialforahealthycommunityrelationship. Eventhoughsomevaluesofthecommunitymayrestrictthetypeofinformationtobesharedonline, Facebookallowsforthesharingofissuesthatmaybeaffectingacommunitywithothermembersofthecommunity (Highmore24). Asamatteroffact, somecommunitiesmayusethesocialmediaplatformtomakeannouncementsonmajorculturaleventsoreventeachtheyounggenerationsontheimportanceoftheirculturalvaluesandcustoms. Inthisway, familiesandthecommunityatlargehavetheabilitytorefinetheirwaysoflivingandpracticeonlythosevaluesthattheculturalvaluesandcustomsdeemfit.
InterculturalToleranceandLearning. OneofthekeybenefitsofFacebookwithregardsforculturalpracticesistheprovisionofaplatformwherethediverseculturesofpeoplearoundtheworldcanbeappreciated. AccordingtoDhirandTsai, peoplemakeaconsiderablenumberofpostsconcerningtheironlinecommunalculturesandeverydaylifeonline (12). Suchpostsmayserveaseducationalmaterialsforpeoplefromonecommunitywhomaybeinterestedinlearningtheculturesandcustomsofpeoplefromanothercommunalsetting. Atthesametime, peoplemayhavefriendsfromallovertheworld, whohavediverseculturalpractices. Acloseassociationwithsuchfriendswouldprovideanopportunityforlearningabouttheirculturesandthepracticesthattheyconsiderasappropriateortaboo (DhirandTsai14). Theassociationwithpeoplefromvariousculturalbackgroundsallowsforculturaltolerance. Apparently, Facebooksupportsinterculturallearningandtolerancetotheculturesofacommunitythatmaybedifferentfromoneuser’culturalvaluesandcustoms.

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