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Cultural Differences and Switching of In-Group Sharing

1973 words (8 pages) Essay in Psychology

16/04/18 Psychology Reference this

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Nuchelle Atkinson, M.A.

Research Article Critique

Qiu, L., Lin, H., & Leung, A. K. (2013).

Cultural Differences and Switching of In-Group Sharing Behavior between an American (Facebook) and a Chinese (Renren) Social Networking Site. Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(1), 106-121.

Emma J. Barnes

Abstract

Culture is often mirrored by or perceived through shared practices in a community. The different shared practice on users’ national culture represents their host cultures. Facebook is the main social network site (SNS) in Singapore, thus, the partakers was considered bicultural online users, because of the widespread experiences to two culturally different online environments. The authors studied cultural differences and behavioral switching in the context of the fast emerging, naturally occurring online social networking, using both self-report measures and content analyses of online activities on two highly popular platforms; Facebook and Renren (the “Facebook of China”). Furthermore, the study considered indications of the extent to which characteristics described perceived cultures. These results set the stage for further investigations on flexible switching of actual sharing behaviors. The results also provided the basis that users’ behavioral differences in online sharing are due to their culturally shared practice as opposed to differences in technical capabilities.

  • Purpose: The purpose of the study is to achieve two objectives; to seek to identify cross-cultural differences between technologically similar SNS platforms; Facebook and Renren (the “Facebook of China”). Second, to demonstrate cultural frame switching in online environments. The study also sought to establish that Renren and Facebook are two technically similar platforms in terms of system performance, security, and user-friendliness of in-group sharing functions. This would eliminate the possibility that behavioral differences in the two online communities are attributable to technical differences between the two platforms.
  • Methodology: . The study was conducted using a 5-Point Likert-type scale event on the News Feed page of the participants’ accounts. Participants completed a set of questionnaires on perceived characteristics and various technical capabilities of Facebook and Renren. We created a survey to examine the perceived cultures of Facebook and Renren using characteristics that are related to either a collectivistic or an individualistic orientation in the context of online social networking. We used the scale developed by Tuunainen, Pitkanen,and Hovi (2009) to assess user perception of information security on Facebook and Renren. Website Analysis and Measurement Inventory (WAMMI). WAMMI (www.wammi. com) is a measure
  • widely used in industry for assessing the overall system performance
  • Results: The present article fills this gap by studying the practice of in-group sharing, a highly common online behavior afforded by many SNSs. Our findings demonstrated for the first time that users with extensive experiences with two culturally distinctive SNS communities can flexibility switch their online behaviors to match the shared practice on those SNSs.
  • Conclusions: first, our studies demonstrate that SNSs are interesting cultural environments on their own. our research suggests that SNS users can actively participate in multiple online cultures and acquire multicultural experiences through social interactions in the virtual world.

Culture is often mirrored by or perceived through shared practices in a community. The different shared practice on users’ national culture represents their host cultures. Online culture has been considered as a knowledge system formed by constellations of shared practices, expectations, and structures that members choose to follow with the help of networked computer technology (Fuchs, 2008). However, little work has been approached from a cultural psychological perspective; there is a need to examine the emergence of online culture. Studying different online cultures will expand the possibility of cultural psychology by providing new evidence to support existing cultural theories or challenge established ones. Thus, it becomes increasingly important to understand the behavioral ramifications of exposure to multiple online cultures.

The problem and statement of importance is clearly stated. The purpose of the study is to achieve two objectives; to seek to identify cross-cultural differences between technologically similar SNS platforms; Facebook and Renren (the “Facebook of China”) and to demonstrate cultural frame switching in online environments. The study also sought to establish that Renren and Facebook are two technically similar platforms in terms of system performance, security, and user-friendliness of in-group sharing functions. The authors hypothesized that Renren (vs. Facebook) culture is relatively more collectivistic, whereas Facebook (vs. Renren) culture is relatively more individualistic. The second hypothesis is that Renren and Facebook differ in their cultural orientations, with Renren being more collectivistic and Facebook being more individualistic. The authors hypothesize that in-group sharing is a shared practice more prevalent on Renren than on Facebook. All key terms are well defined.

The literature review is very comprehensive in that it covers all of the mechanisms associated with the current study. The authors identify different forms and interpretations of this study. The review concludes with a brief summary of relevant literature and the reasoning for this study. The author intent of the study was explained with words that reflect higher order thinking skills. The participants are mentioned, the setting of the study is explained and words are well chosen; free of jargon and no unnecessary words are used.

Thus the purpose was clearly stated. The hypothesis was provided in the literature review and logical. The justification of why the study is important was stated and convincing. It explained the purpose of the study and provided a compelling foundation, enabling the work to be set in the context of both existing evidence and its practical applications. All of the references are pertinent to the problem and help to inform the reader of the study’s purpose.

The author used a systematic methodology involving the construction of theory through the analysis of data. The study was conducted using a scale developed by Tuunainen, Pitkanen and Hovi (2009), Website Analysis and Measurement Inventory (WAMMI), and a 5-Point Likert-type scale event. Participants completed a set of questionnaires on perceived characteristics and various technical capabilities of Facebook and Renren. The authors created a survey to examine the perceived cultures of Facebook and Renren using characteristics that are related to either a collectivistic or an individualistic orientation in the context of online social networking.

This was an original study as the authors seek to step further in examining if similar cultural switching behavior would occur in natural online environments.Previous research has shown that attributes such as sharing-oriented (Berry et al., 1997; Triandis, 1995), conformity-oriented (Bond & Smith, 1996), hierarchical (Triandis, 1995), and supportive (Miller, 1997) pertain to collectivistic cultural characteristics, and attributes such as self-expressive (Kim & Sherman, 2007), assertive (Church & Lonner, 1998), egalitarian (Triandis, 1995), and competitive (Triandis, 1993) pertain to individualistic cultural characteristics.

What are the variables?

Participants completed a set of questionnaires’ in Chinese, the participants’ native language. In this study, the authors counterbalanced the order of questionnaires that asked about Facebook and Renren.

The present article fills this gap by studying the practice of in-group sharing, a highly common online behavior afforded by many SNSs. The study demonstrated for the first time that users with extensive experiences with two culturally distinctive SNS communities can flexibility switch their online behaviors to match the shared practice on those SNSs. With online social networks becoming a highly viable research tool, the current research offers an example of utilizing online data to study an emerging sociocultural phenomenon.

Study 1 confirmed that system performance, security, and the usability of sharing functions are similar across Facebook and Renren, the two SNSs differ in their language medium. Facebook’s user interface is in English, whereas Renren’s is in Chinese (although users can communicate in Chinese on Facebook and English on Renren). From the author’s viewpoint, language is part of the cultural systems on SNSs. Indeed, considerable evidence suggests that language constitutes a part of the larger culture such that the use of Chinese can activate the Chinese cultural system and the use of English can activate the Western cultural system (as sited in Bond, 1983; Trafimow, Silverman, Fan, & Law, 1997). Thus, it is reasonable not to consider the effect of language as a rival explanation of the current finding, but to view language as an important element of the online culture in which the users are participating.

Another alternative account concerns how different degrees of closeness of friendship on the two SNSs might have affected individuals’ sharing behaviors. Our participants joined the Renren community when they were in China, and later became Facebook users after they arrived in Singapore. One might argue that these friends’ online activities constitute only a small sample of activities that may not accurately represent what other users generally do and therefore the shared practices of the SNS cultures. We contend that, however, it is the practices and activities nominally engaged by their friends that are most likely to reflect the immediate cultural environment in which the participants are actively involved.

Conclusions and Implications (2-3 paragraphs)3 points

Are the conclusions of the study related to the original purpose?

The present article fills this gap by studying the practice of in-group sharing, a highly common online behavior afforded by many SNSs. The study demonstrated for the first time that users with extensive experiences with two culturally distinctive SNS communities can flexibility switch their online behaviors to match the shared practice on those SNSs. With online social networks becoming a highly viable research tool, the current research offers an example of utilizing online data to study an emerging sociocultural phenomenon.

We highly encourage other researchers to capitalize on this valuable resource and study

the cultural dynamics of their own interest. The conclusion of the present study is related to the original purpose. The purpose of the study is to achieve two objectives; to seek to identify cross-cultural differences between technologically similar SNS platforms; Facebook and Renren (the “Facebook of China”). Second, to demonstrate cultural frame switching in online environments. The study also sought to establish that Renren and Facebook are two technically similar platforms in terms of system performance, security, and user-friendliness of in-group sharing functions.

Were the implications discussed?

The current findings have important implications, both theoretically and methodologically. In terms of theoretical significance, first, our studies demonstrate that SNSs are interesting cultural environments on their own. Their technological capabilities enable them to afford new norms and practices that are not previously observed offline. For example, instant in-group sharing of information such as videos and pictures can be easily done online but not offline. Nevertheless, the use of new media may not alter the fundamental essence of a culture—the newly emerged norms and practices online may evolve from and later reinforce the shared norms and imperatives prevalent in the culture where the online community is hosted. Thus, SNS practices could be important manifestations of cultural products that contribute to a sense of “cultural consensus” (Lamoreaux & Morling, in press). Second, our research suggests that SNS users can actively participate in multiple online cultures and acquire multicultural experiences through social interactions in the virtual world.

Whom the results and conclusions will effect?

With millions of people engaging in online communities

What recommendations were make at the conclusion?

SNS communities can flexibility switch their online behaviors to match the shared practice With online social networks becoming a highly viable research tool, the current research offers an example of utilizing online data to study an emerging sociocultural phenomenon. We highly encourage other researchers to capitalize on this valuable resource and studythe cultural dynamics of their own interest.

 

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