Cultural and Gender Differences in Information Sharing through Social Media
Dissertation Topic: Cultural and Gender Differences in Information Sharing through Social Media. The overall aim of the project is to take a closer look into the social media networking site Facebook and conduct my own research into how people generally use Facebook, the impact and implications Facebook has on a user, the thoughts on privacy with regards to Facebook and to see if a participants ethnic background has an effect on the way they use the site. I will also be analyzing both male and female participants to see if there are any significant differences with regards to their Facebook activity, what they post and what personal information they choose to share. During this study I will look closely into the attitudes of users when posting content, their own censorship and consideration for others when posting content of themselves and others.
At the end of this marketing dissertation I aim to have a clearer insight and a greater understanding into a users cultural or ethnic background and if this has any effect on the way that they use or see Facebook and if there are any outstanding correlations between variables also to see if there are any significant differences between male and female participants and how they use Facebook. Since the advancement of the Internet, Social Media has become a huge part to play in everyday life. Communication and Information sharing through different types of Social Media platforms is at its highest and more and more people are choosing to use these methods.
This marketing dissertation aims to use a method that will help draw out concise results on how different cultures portray themselves through Social Media. This dissertation will consist of taking a close look as to how Social Media is used by individuals and the Social Media platform that has been chosen is Facebook. The dissertation will involve a number of phases; designing the specific method to collect the data required, carrying out the method, extracting the results collected from the method, finishing off with analysis and conclusiveness of the results. The outcome of this project is to be able to clearly differentiate between cultural groups and the way information is shared through Facebook.
Gain an understanding between the use of Facebook among participants
Focus on ethnic background with regards to Facebook and the differences
Focus on the gender differences when using Facebook
Analyse and draw up valid conclusions based on Gender, Age, and Degree type and Personal preference i.e. Privacy on Facebook
1 – Introduction
Overall aim of the project
Problem being addressed by the project
Motivations and usefulness of the project
Aims of the project
2 – Literature Review
Privacy on Facebook
Posting content to Facebook
Gender differences on Facebook
Cultures and Facebook
3 – Methodology
Construction of questionnaire
Data capture plan
4 – Methodology Analysis
Overview of data collection
5 – Facebook Results Analysis
Gender and Privacy
Levels of concern with privacy on Facebook
Concerns of posting content on Facebook
Self-Censoring on Facebook
Posting personal information to Facebook
Sharing personal preferences on Facebook
The type of information publicised on Facebook
Purpose for using Facebook and account creation on Facebook
The laws and restrictions on Facebook in China
Publicising information to Facebook based on ethnic background
Privacy concerns based on ethnic background
How participants portray themselves on Facebook
Consideration of others
Untagging a photo on Facebook
Gender and Ethnic Background
Sharing phone numbers and email addresses on Facebook
What participants Facebook Friends can see
Selecting the audience on your Facebook account
6 – Conclusion
Highlights of the project
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Liberal Media – The role of Social Media in Fostering Social/Political Participation to Help Enhance Democracy
Liberal media democracy is a strong pillar for a free society. Democracy exists when citizens have the ability to practice their fundamental rights such as freedom of expression. The rise of social media has made it possible for people to express themselves more freely. Platforms such as Facebook, Skype, Twitter and Instagram have given their users the power to express themselves in a way that is cheap and easy to access. It has been immensely possible for people to convey their sentiments through these means which has greatly improved public opinion on governance. Social media unlike Liberal media allows for a two way communication means between the receiver and the sender.
Social media has influenced the political arena through opinion polls where citizens have an opportunity to present their views on politicians in a cheap easy way. Citizens also have the ability to express satisfaction or distaste towards their political leaders. This essay, therefore investigates the power of social media as a tool in supporting democracy especially through the idea of democratic deliberation, liberty and organization events.
Social Media Overview
The rapid growth of the social media in the 21st century has created a new trend on communication and information sharing which is significantly different from the traditional media known as the new media (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015. Pg. 272). Unlike the liberal media which requires expensive radio and television broadcasting systems, social media uses a different form of technology, the internet. Internet technology is relatively cheap and also subjected to less stringent regulation, and has no monopolistic ownership or control as it’s the case of the convection media (Coronel, 2003 pg. 1).Therefore, social media gives its users the liberty on the information that they can develop and share with each other. Also, it is widely accessible globally as more users are getting connected to the fast and reliable internet, hence making it a more efficient and effective approach in bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together, when compared to liberal media. Currently, over two billion people worldwide have access to the internet (European Commission, 2011, pg. 5). Large social media sites with millions of users such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram among several blogs have also emerged which give users platforms which they interact and share information with each other through images, video and text formats.
These sites have also created an opportunity for users to participate in discussions and forums to express their views and ideas on matters related to democratic governance. In addition, people have also taken advantage of the new social media platforms to organize and facilitate political actions and events, all of which have a significant impact on democratic policies across different societies worldwide. Some social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have advanced functions that allow users to follow and interact with politicians and other prominent figures in the society and participate in their discussions in an interactive way. This has given social media a significant advantage over the liberal media, making it ideal to foster social/ political participation which is essential in enhancing democracy.
Thesis statement: Therefore, social media has arguably a huge contribution in promoting democratic values and policies in any society. However, scholars have expressed concern that the lack of control and regulation of the social media may pose a threat to democracy. This essay, therefore, provides supporting evidence that indeed social media is a powerful tool in supporting democracy especially through the idea of democratic deliberation, liberty and organization events.
Role of Social Media in Democratic Deliberation
Deliberation plays a critical role in decision making for a deliberative democracy. Social media offers the right tools that provide advanced tools and functions for millions of users to experience the principles of democratic deliberation which include equality, active participation, and self-determination (Miswardi, 2014, pg.3). Social media has introduced new communication tools such as images, video, and text which users use to communicate and engage with each other in contentious political actions, through cheap, fast and reliable internet technology. Social media platforms have the Capability to support two-way interactive communication for a large number of people, therefore providing a limitless pool of ideas which can be adopted to promote and influence democratic governance (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015. Pg. 272).
In addition, Social media has no middlemen like the case of the liberal media who may control, influence or change the content. Hence, the millions of users in the social media have an equal opportunity to share their contributions and views on the appropriate democratic policies which aren’t skewed for the authoritarian non-democratic regimes (Kaul, 2012. Pg. 2). Also, unlike the liberal media which is controlled by a few political elites who manipulate the media to their favor, social media offers millions of users from diverse backgrounds, both rich and poor an equal opportunity to participate and deliberate on extensive and wide political issues.
The liberal media only provides a one-way communication channel where the end user only receives information but has no opportunity to provide their views or feedback. Social media has revolutionized this communication channel to create a two-way interactive communication channel where the people have an opportunity to participate in deliberating appropriate democratic policies in their favor actively.Due to the emergence of large free social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram among several others, social media is relatively cheap for users to pass their feedback or contribution on current political issues when compared to passing the same information through the liberal media.
Using social media, the user does not require to undergo any form of professional journalism training is a reporter. The social media platforms provide their users with perfect tools for individual reporters which can still enable them to pass their information to other people or concerned authorities. There are several instances where people have used the social media to organize and coordinate successful revolutions to remove authoritarian regimes out of power such as during the Arab Spring in the Middle East (Unwin, 2014. Pg. 1). Therefore, in such cases, social media facilitates the communication between the citizens and respective representatives coordinating these revolutions. In addition to political revolutions, social media has also been used to put pressure and force the government authorities to act or respond to several instances affecting their citizens, bringing the power of millions of social media users to influence democratic policies.
Social media promotes self-determination to contribute to democratic governance among citizens participate in various democratic processes. Since the evolution of the social media, citizens have used social media to express their support for certain political parties or ideologies. Also, the number of people who participate in thedemocratic process has risen as more people learn the importance of participating in such processes through the social media (Unwin, 2014. Pg. 2).Also, people are more determined than before to share information promoting democratic leadership when compared to the past when they left this critical democratic role in the hands of a few elites who influence the liberal media. Therefore, such determination may not exist if only the liberal media exists in the society. The social media has also been used for survey purposes by Analysts, non-governmental organizations, social activists and other bodies to promote a democratic society (Kaul, 2012. Pg. 2). The social media is a useful tool to collect statistics on millions of users using the platform to form or influence policies that advance democratic agendas.
The Role of Social Media in Promoting Liberty
Liberty refers to the state of freedom that a citizen enjoys from the oppressing restrictions in one’s behaviors, lifestyle and political opinions. It is, therefore, one of the key components of a democratic society where citizens have the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association. As a new genre of media that allows people to socially network, share personal information and access the shared information, social media promotes liberty through some ways. First, it allows users to develop and exchange user-generated content, therefore promoting freedom of expression on matters relating to democratic governance (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015.pg. 273 & 274). The social media enables citizens to hold enhanced dialogues and share that information across some users on the social media platform.
The social media, therefore, eliminates the barriers such as regulation or restriction of content for ordinary citizens by the liberal media (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015.pg. 275).Also, it promotes free and open discussion among citizens which is one of the significant facilitators of democracy. Activists have also taken advantage of the social to utilize their freedom of expression, to rally ordinary citizens in demanding to effective democratic governance. Social media is a powerful tool for users to share not only information but also ideas and influence each other in the best form of democratic policies. In addition, its wide accessibility globally has given people the liberty to share and access information not only on the national and regional borders but also globally. This time and space liberty give people and advantage to learn what is going on in the world as far as the democracy is concerned and can use this information to influence better democratic governance policies in their individual countries. All this has been made possible because of the existence of an unbiased, cost-effective and unrestricted social media.
The Role of Social Media in the Election Process
In the 21st century, the influence of social media in elections has significantly increased. First, the social media gives the electorate the power to share their voice on their preferred leaders. With social media, each voter has an opportunity to share her opinion on the election process, which was possible with the liberal media as only a few elite controlled and influenced the election process using the power of the media. In addition, using social media, the collective views of the electorate can influence certain issues in an election process to promote a free and fair election, which is a center pillar of democracy.
The mainstream media has been labeled as based and used by the few to mislead the American public during the elections in the United States. According to Hatter, (2004, pg1), the liberal media has been widely biased towards the Democrats, which is labeled a threat to the free democracy. The United States media has always supported the Democratic candidates and influences the American electorate for the Democrats. According to Hatter, the liberal media has been interweaved into the Democratic Party, and with the power and influence of the media on the society, the people are denied the opportunity to make a free judgment on the candidates participating in an election. However, the social media has the power to correct the effects of a dishonest liberal media. As more people turn to social media, the electorate has access to unbiased information. In the last general election, the republican widely used social media to counter the effect of the biased liberal media against their presidential candidate.
However, despite its huge advantage over the biased liberal media in promoting democracy through a fair election process, the social media may create potential risk from the uprisings that result from supporters of different political action groups. For instance, the social media can be held highly responsible for the increasing rift between the democrats and republicans in the United States.
The social media is a powerful tool to improve the perception of the general population on matters relating to democracy. This is because content generated and shared through the social media is not regulated as the information passing through the liberal media, therefore eliminating the possibility of biases. Social media also has a great chance to educate the general population on the appropriate democratic policies as well as the election process, which will significantly promote a democratic society. One of the advantages of the social media is the low cost and wide accessibility especially as the number of people who are getting connected to a reliable and fast internet continues to increase. People, therefore, have the liberty to generate and share information using various trending social media platform. Therefore, social media has a significant contribution in promoting democracy.
Coronel, Sheila. “The role of the media in deepening democracy.” NGO Media Outreach: Using the (2003).
Hatter, J. “The Media Threat to Democracy.” 2013, p. 1. Accessed 4 May 2017.
Kaul, V. (2012). Are new media democratic? Global Media Journal, 5(1), 1-20.
Miswardi, Gideon. “Digital-Media-A-Double-Edged-Sword-for-Representative-Democracy.” International IDEA’s 20th century anniversary essay competition, 2014.
Omede, A.J, and Emmanuel A. Alebiosu. “SOCIAL MEDIA: A TREND OR THREAT TO DEMOCRACY?” Trans campus journal, ISSN 1596-8303, 2015.
Unwin, Tim. “Social media and democracy: Critical reflections.” background paper for Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (Colombo), Vol. 20. 2014.
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The Impact of Social Media in Influencing Consumer Purchasing Behaviour: A Study of Clothing Retailers
Title: Consumer Purchasing Behaviour and Social Media Influence. The impact of social media on the purchasing behaviour is an area of interest that has gained much interest and study in the 21st century. This research focuses in the ways in which social media has had an effect on the purchasing behaviour and most of the interest in the clothing and retail industry. The first part of the research will take a look at the various ways in which the social media influence has impacted on the purchasing behaviour. The different stages of purchase will be analysed in the background study, both before purchase, during purchase and after purchase behaviour and the influence of the different forms of social media on the same.
The data collection method that has been used during this research is the analytical study design. The researcher distributed questionnaires to a study sampled population, which consisted of university students at London South Bank University since they are considered to be the most consumers of social media. The results that were obtained indicted that social media has a very big influence on both the three stages of the purchase process. The recommendation, review and consumer motivation among others are the motivating factors that make the use of social media have a big influence on the purchasing behaviour of consumers.
This research will therefore have a big influence on the marketing strategy that will be used by future clothe retailers. It also gives an insight on the influence of technology and social media to be specific on the purchase behaviour of the modernised internet users. Therefore, more research should be done by clothe retailers on the best way to promote their businesses through social media.
To determine the role of social media in influencing the pre-purchase phase of the consumer purchasing Behaviour lifecycle
To determine the role of social media in influencing the purchase phase of the consumer purchasing Behaviour lifecycle
To determine the role of social media in influencing the post-purchase phase of the consumer purchasing Behaviour lifecycle
1 – Introduction
Background of the study
Statement of research
Significance of the study
The scope of the study
The study limitations
2 – Literature Review
Social media marketing
Consumer purchasing behaviour
The role of social media in influencing the pre-purchase phase
The role of social media in influencing the purchase phase
The role of social media in influencing the post-purchase phase
3 – Research Methodology
Data Collection Methods
Data Analysis Methods
4 – Results and Findings
Description of the sample
Social Media Sites
Time Spent on Social Media Sites
The role of social media on making purchase judgements
Frequency of Influence of Social media on purchase decisions in clothing Retail Industry
Social Media Influences on the Pre- purchase Stage Analysis in Clothing Retail Industry
Evaluation of alternatives
Social Media Influence on the Purchase Stage Analysis in Clothing Retail Industry
Consumer Attitude in Purchase Stage
Consumer Motivation in Purchase Stage
Product Perception in Purchase Stage
Social Media Influence on the Post-Purchase Stage Analysis in Clothing Retail Industry
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction
5 – Discussion, Conclusions and Recommendations
The role of social media in influencing consumer purchasing behaviour
Social media Influences on the Pre-purchase Stage
Social media Influences on the Purchase Stage
Social media Influences on the Post-Purchase Stage
The role of social media in influencing consumer purchasing behaviour in the clothing and retail industry
Social media Influences on the Pre-purchase Stage
Social media Influences on the purchase Stage
Social media Influences on the Post- Purchase Stage
Recommendations for further research
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The Impact and Effectiveness of Social Media Deployment within the UK Construction Industry
Over the past decade, social media has been at the forefront of how many individuals and organisations use the internet. This user-driven technology has provided a platform for users to publish their own content and share information through a variety of different interfaces. Often seen as industry that does not embrace change, the construction industry must ensure it understands the opportunities social media brings advertising, promotion, collaboration and communication are some of the themes considered.
Many within the industry have already adopted social media into their businesses, but there are some who have no interest. Four interviews were carried out with a variety of differing industry professionals; the findings were investigated to establish how social media was being used throughout the industry and how companies were looking to use it in the future.
The main findings showed a varying degree of social media adoption and differing views on the opportunities it presents for the industry in the future. It has been concluded that while it appears that social media has been adopted by the construction industry, it has only been bit part as most companies using the medium seem to only consider it a tool for promotion and few understand or implement it as a collaborative mechanism.
Assess the current use of social media within the construction industry
Compare the construction industries use of social media platforms to that of other industries
Investigate the reasoning construction companies choose to use or not to use social media
Critically appraise the effect of using social media and discover if there is a significant difference for those who have not invested in this medium
Consider the opportunities social media provides for a business and understand how it could affect the construction industry in the future
1 – Introduction
An introduction to social media in construction
Aim and objectives
Secondary data collection
2 – Literature Review
What is social media?
Types social media and the main platforms
Types of social media
Social media platforms
Uses of social media in business
Social media in construction
Social media in other industries
Social media as a collaboration tool
3 – Research Methodology
4 – Data collection and Analysis
Data analysis respondents
Data analysis results
Introduction and general use of social media
How social media influences the perception of the construction industry
Organisations use of social media
The future of social media in construction
5 – Discussion
Social media in the construction industry
Implementing social media into a business
The future of social media in construction
6 – Conclusion, Limitations and Recommendations
Satisfying the objectives
Analysis of objectives
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Social Media Influence In Consumer Decision Making
The impact reference groups or social connections have in an online marketing environment, on the product purchase decisions of consumers is analyzed in this article. The influence of social media in the decision making process of consumers is investigated, and the influence of the strength of social ties on the final decision are discussed. The article discusses theories and concepts related to social relations, social media, and consumer purchase decision making process. To understand the impact social media has on consumer purchase decision, interview is conducted with micro and macro business owners using Facebook business pages, and having over 50 fans for their fan page. To analyze the data statistical analysis, and descriptive analysis methods are used. The research concludes that a strong tie in social relations serves to influence the purchase decision making process of consumers positively. To create a successful business by adopting an online marketing strategy, building strong social relations is important.
Social scientists have for a long duration highlighted the importance of group membership when it comes to determining individual or group behavior. The fact that individuals act according to a reference frame produced by groups to which they have widely been accepted has been perceived as a sound premise for some time. Marketers have widely accepted the construct of a reference group as critical in at least some forms of consumer decision-making. With the growth of the internet, and online marketing, social media is becoming an indispensable part in everyday lives of people. People are social beings, and at present, consumers are participating in activities like sharing experiences, knowledge, and opinions online. They also take part in online discussions to share their experiences with a product or a service.
The speed with which information transfers has increased with the electronic word of mouth growing more rapidly. Positive recommendations and discussions online have the potential to bring in increased business volume for firms in a short time. There is also the probability of a negative complaint online that can cause mistrust in a service or a product. A new form of social communication has been made possible by online media. Groups or individuals who might never meet in person are able to influence consumer behavior and their purchase decisions. The increasing use of social media is evident from the growth in online population using social network sites. Facebook the leading social media website has observed 23% growth in its user population during 2013, with 1.1 billion users making use of the site each month.
This study investigates the influence of reference groups online brand and product purchase decisions by looking at the interrelations between forms of product use conspicuousness and forms of influence from reference groups in social media. Consumers have a wide access to different types of social media, tools, and platforms. Social media significantly impacts the process of information sharing amongst individuals in the online shopping environment. Through this research, the role played by social media reference groups in forming strong or weak relationships with consumers that can influence the consumer decision making process are investigated.
The study proposes to investigate the relationship between the social media influence of online users, the behavior intentions of consumers, and the role of social media influence in consumer decision making process. The strategy of information search online is adopted by consumers to reduce the risks involved in a purchase decision. Increasing technological advancements lead to ease of information access. Consumers can easily obtain information about services or products through social media before making a purchase. This research is focused on making both practical and academic contributions. Academically, it serves to bridge the gap between consumer decision making and the influence of social media reference groups in forming weak or strong relationship with consumers. Practically, social media marketers benefit from the research results. They can gain a deeper understanding of an online shopping consumer’s decision making process.
Research questions to be explored to investigate the social media phenomenon in online shopping are;
What are the characteristics of social and online influence groups and references?
Personal and demographic factors like gender, age, education, and profession have an influence on information shared through social media. Their experience and prior knowledge influences their level of social influence.
What are the ways through which information and ideas travel through such a reference group or an online community?
The credibility of the source depends on the reference group and the way in which information is conveyed. An understanding of how information or ideas travel through the reference community helps in identifying factors that have a high level of influence on consumer decision making.
What are some forms of ties or connections do consumers have to other consumers in the communities?
Consumers form ties in the online community, resulting in the establishment of a reference group or community. By investigating in what ways and how such communities are formed, social media marketers can leverage their online advertising campaigns.
How is consumer decision making influenced by social media reference groups and communities.
Social media reference groups, and communities alike, are proposed hypothesized to play a major role in the purchase decision of consumers.
Research Aims and Objectives
The research aims to investigate the ways in which social media influences consumer decision making during an online purchase. The various ways in which a social media group or community is used as a reference, the ways through which such groups or communities are accessed, and ways in which information is accessed from these groups by consumers are investigated. Main objectives of research are;
To identify the ways in which social media has established a source of power and leveled the playing field for consumers?
To investigate in what ways leaders of these reference groups or opinion leaders develop in online communities or any other reference group.
To analyze what some of the roles of social capital play when it comes to value of the social communities created on social media?
To offer recommendations to social media marketers on how reference groups and communities can be leveraged to their firm’s advantage.
Rationale for Research
The results obtained from this research could offer considerable evidence on the influence social media has on online marketing. The overall process of consumer decision making while making an online purchase decision, combined with the influence of social media helps managers reduce risks involved in social media marketing, at the same time offering recommendations on the ways in which they can increase their online credibility. Research on social media marketing is relatively new in marketing research. Negligible research exists on interrelating social media marketing and its influence in the consumer decision making process. This research focuses mainly on online shopping, social media, and reference group influence on consumer decision making. So, the theoretical contribution of this research helps fill in the gap in previous literature.
Business pages created on Facebook are the central tool and the key research methodology is action research. Action research involves making systematic observations, and collection of data, that can be used to solve problems, and improve professional business practices. Micro and small businesses are focused. Data is gathered through interview and by using questionnaire. Facebook pages created by small entrepreneurs are used to create a fan base for their small enterprises. As the page continuous to grow and increase in size when it comes to the fan base of about 50 to 60 users data is to be conducted, mainly by carrying out semi- structured interviews.
The research design is action, qualitative research oriented with the conviction that reality is virtual created by factors of socio- economy. Primary data is gathered through semi- structured and open interviews. Data regarding the experiences of the entrepreneur while using and adopting social media like Facebook is focused upon. Secondary data is generated by the recording transcripts from the weekly training and interaction with the participants to understand their requirements and experiences. Tertiary collection of data is carried out through virtual ethnography by carrying out internet-based interviews through Google talk, chat, Skype and blogs.
Structure of Article
To ensure research meets its aims and objectives, clear research questions and research focus are developed first. Analysis of theories and concepts is done in the literature review part. Here theories and concepts relevant to social media as a marketing tool, and consumer decision making process are explored. Research methodology is developed based on literature review, and research aims. This gives a detailed outline of the research methodology to be employed for data collection. The research approach, philosophy, choices, ethical issues and methodologies are explained. Analyzed data gathered from semi – structured interview, and research findings are presented in based on which, conclusion discusses the research concisely, using which suitable recommendations are offered.
The way in which consumers make purchase decision has changed with the advent of social media. Rather than waiting for messages or advertisements giving information about a service or a product from companies, consumers are now seeking information on social media directly. Online community has the greatest amount of influence, especially on online shoppers. Research proposes to investigate the characteristics of online communities and reference groups involved in social media. The ways in which such groups influence the consumer decision making process is explored. For data collection, semi – structured interviews are conducted with online micro and small business entrepreneurs making use of social media tools like Facebook and blogs.