Social Media and its Impact on Norms
The cohorts of people chosen are above the age of 18. The group that uses social media most often daily is a female Asian, age 25, pursuing an undergraduate degree. Another individual is a 20-year-old female African-American student who has just completed high school and is waiting to join college. The cohort also entails a 30-year-old female Caucasian working full-time in a retail store as a customer attendant. The last person is a 35-year-old white male who is newly married, is fully employed, and owns a home.
On the other cohort of individuals who rarely use social media, the individuals include a 50-year-old Asian female living with her children and relatives, a 30-year African-American man schooling and working at the same time, a 25-year-old female student in college who works part-time and a 45-year-old man who runs a company. This category of people is chosen because of their careers, professional positions, and tendency to use social media about their professions. Some are chosen because of their connection with family and relatives and life responsibilities that may determine their time spent on social media.
The 30-year-old Caucasian who works full-time often uses social media to get feedback and attend to the needs and concerns of the customers on Facebook, Instagram, and the company’s website. This way, she can influence management decision-making through the feedback she gets about the company’s products and services. She does not have time to watch on weekdays but only views her television on weekends. According to cultivation theory, people exposed to social media interpret the realities of the social environment according to how the realities are portrayed in the media (Perera, 2021). This explains why the participant spends time on social media to gather helpful information that would be used effectively in her workplace.
Moreover, the newly married individual could find a good home because of the television advertisement he saw with his wife. Perera (2021) finds that television influences how individuals in society think and relate with each other, as assumed by cultivation theory. This landed him a good home from the real estate advertisement aired on their favorite channel on television. The 20-year-old female waiting to join high school said she likes making friends online, including forming romantic relationships. Still, she has also unfriended many people because she does not want bad energy.
On the contrary, in the cohort that hardly uses social media is a 30-year-old Black American man who goes to school and later works part-time to provide for his family and relatives and pay his school fees. He has missed voting during the election because he claims that the U.S. leadership does not help him because he has to work twice as hard to sustain himself and his family. This is why he is working towards improving his academic qualifications to get a better job. According to Genner, S., & Süss (2017), socialization theory implies that people interact and acquire social standards and values of a particular culture and society. The African interviewee holds similar views in his society to his neighbors, who believe their votes would not count. Since family and social environment is often considered the agent that has the most significant effect on socialization (Genner, S., & Süss, 2017), this category of people do not find time for social media, and most consider it a luxury.
One lesson learned is that social media significantly impacts our socialization, including our customs, attitudes, and beliefs. In the digital world, the media permeates all aspects of life at various ages. This is because the media is present in children’s rooms, families, schools, and senior citizens’ homes. In childhood as well as in youthfulness, primary media socialization happens via the predominant media of a particular period- internet, computer, video, television, mobile communication, radio, and cinema- and affects a generational cohort during important developmental tasks (Genner, S., & Süss, 2017). Different kinds of media matter at every stage in life, for instance, as a function of one’s family life, professional life, and peer group (Genner, S., & Süss, 2017). This explains why the African-American participant believes the leadership will not positively impact his family or professional life. As a result, he has gained an attitude of working extra hard and not participating in voting.
Another lesson learned is that social media’s effect can happen even without the effect on an individual (Arias, 2019). This means that people may change their behaviors and attitudes by, for instance, rejecting group norms and believing that many people in the group believe the way they do. According to Rosen et al. (2013), this effect may be a radical transformation. For instance, Alsharkh’s (2012) research study shows that social media may bring open-mindedness among the population. In his research, a male response stated that social media has helped him accept other people’s views respectfully and that he has learned to discuss them without imposing his on them. Similar results were achieved among the female respondents, as one stated that she can now listen to all views with an open heart. This proves that social media can help people challenge various ideas and create an atmosphere where intellectual discussions can happen. In other words, social media can make people more aware of themselves and others.
This explains why some participants who rarely use social media are more inclined to the community norm that their leadership does not bring positive change in them. If the African-American participant and others were more involved in social media, their viewpoints would expand. They could view other people’s perspectives that would positively impact their lives. In Alsharkh’s (2012) study, one respondent stated that before social media, she believed people were naïve. Still, with the presence of social media, she now believes that people are simply different. As a result, many Saudis have become more appreciative and less inhibited of the opposite sex (Alsharkh, 2012).
Lastly, it has been found that people tend to seek genuine relationships online, which seems impossible because humans are naturally inclined to socialize in person, and this cannot be replaced by online friendship (Rosen et al., 2013). In a research study by Alsharkh (2012), exposure to media affects how people treat their career plans, education, and family relationships. This study found that Saudis were introverted because it was easier to maintain casual relationships or friendships on social media than have real ones. This study found that the Saudis neglected their family commitments because their time spent having physical conversations, recreation, and bonding with family is instead spent on social media. As a result, social media engagement could negatively affect people’s cultural values.
Alsharkh, Y. N. (2012). Social media affects Saudi society’s families from the youth’s perspective (Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University).
Arias, E. (2019). How does the media influence social norms? Experimental evidence on the role of common knowledge. Political Science Research and Methods, 7(3), 561-578.
Genner, S., & Süss, D. (2017). Socialization as a media effect. The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects, 1.
Perera, A. (2021). Cultivation Theory. https://www.simplypsychology.org/cultivation-theory.html
Rosen, L. D., Whaling, K., Carrier, L. M., Cheever, N. A., & Rokkum, J. (2013). The media and technology usage and attitudes scale: An empirical investigation. Computers in human behavior, 29(6), 2501-2511.
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The prevalence of social media has significantly impacted society regarding how we tend to relate to each other and what is expected. How social media changes attitudes and “norms” makes for an exciting study that applies to understanding how society is slowly changing over time.
For this assignment, you will first research social media’s effects on societal norms (Part 1) and then examine what has been found through previous research conducted by others (Part 2).
Compare and contrast the attitudes of two cohorts of people: one consists of five people who rarely use social media, and one of five people who use social media two or more hours a day.
Create a list of five people you know who use social media for at least two or more hours daily. This group of people will make up your first cohort. Create a list of five people you know who either do not use social media or use it rarely. Consider age when creating the cohorts, and try to keep the ages as similar as possible between the cohorts. Ke ping a certain level of consistency in the two cohorts will help negate generational differences’ potential effects. Briefly description of each of the ten people you will interview divided into their respective cohorts.
In other words, list the five people on social media at least two or more hours a day, and briefly describe each and why you chose them. Please list the five people who rarely or never use social media, and briefly describe each and why you chose them.
Interview the participants to learn the similarities and differences between the two cohorts regarding attitudes, lifestyles, and relationships. Write a two-page paper comparing and contrasting what you learned about the two cohorts. Be sure to relate your findings to cultivation theory and socialization theory in the paper.
Now, you will compare your research with research findings through previous research conducted by others. Look up at least 3threearticles in the Rasmussen Library that relate to social media and its impact on society. You are not limited to articles strictly written on the specific topic of social media and norms. Articles that cover social media and society are available from many angles. After studying these articles, write a two-page paper on what you learned about social media and its potential impact on societal attitudes, customs, and norms.
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