Ignore the hype that we all become more superficial and narcissistic due to our obsession with social networks. What really happens is much more incredible.
This is the result of an extraordinary research study by University College London published in several new books and reports.
Nine anthropologists spent 15 months in nine churches around the world studying the role of social networks in people’s daily lives. The reports show how social networks are now involved in the structure of relations between Chinese factory workers, young Muslim women on the Syrian-Turkish border, IT professionals in India, and poor children in Brazil.
UCL has created a website where you can search for video interviews and further research, but I thought this would provide a summary of some of their findings. These are the initiators of real conversations and I hope you let me know what you think in the comments. And here we go.
Social networks do not make us more individual
Social networks are changing the world. Public opinion tends to view social networks as something that makes us more individualistic and narcissistic, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Individual social networks are said to have developed at the expense of more traditional personal relationships. Research has in some cases identified this, but the most common social networks are used to strengthen traditional groups such as families, castes and tribes, and to address the disruption caused by migration and mobility.
Social networks are an important catalyst for education
Spending too much time on social media can distract children from their studies, but the group found that many schools around the world recognize that social networking supports informal learning and may be a primary means of learning. under certain circumstances. ,
It often benefits low-income families with limited opportunities for informal education. The study provided examples where people in developing countries receive a valuable education, mainly through YouTube videos.
Selfies send different messages around the world
In the north of Chile, people have created a kind of selfie that is unique in their region: the “footie”, which is the feet of a person watching television, suggesting relaxation. In Italy, teens will do dozens of photos and change make-up and outfits before making the right move.
Online equality does not mean offline equality
Social networks are changing the world despite the fact that the ease of communication in social networks offers significant benefits to previously excluded populations, but it can not have a general impact on social differences or offline oppression.
An example from China showed how social networks provide a subtle way to keep people in their place. Many Chinese social media platforms have features similar to games that allow users to earn points and see what they have achieved. This often depends on the amount of activity on a platform. This leads to new forms of inequality on the Internet, as poverty limits the amount of time people can spend on the Internet, making it difficult to climb the rankings.
In other cultures, the study has shown that people tend to associate with their “caste” and generally do not make connections outside their social status.
It is the people who use the social networks that they create, not the developers of the platforms
Social networks are changing the world in our most recent podcast, and Tom Webster and I commented that almost all of the most valuable Twitter features were created by people rather than the company. Researchers have discovered that this is the case all over the world as people have found many creative applications for the free functionality of social networks. The basic components of social networks are used to solve many problems in countries that are still developing commercial and communications infrastructure.
Public social networks are conservative
Public spaces such as social media Facebook platforms are more conservative, and at many research sites around the world, people avoid political and religious publications.
On the contrary, you can use more private social networks like WhatsApp to facilitate social (sometimes radical) change. In India, the type of content that people share on social networks is controlled by other members of a person’s caste, in addition to being persecuted by family and individuals. A problematic publication could dishonour the entire cast, an important social unit in India.
Now we “talk” through photos
Social networks are changing the world. Social media has changed human communication to the visual to the detriment of text and language. Now a photo or emoji can become the core of our conversation.
This benefits people who do not trust their communication skills because we can now easily communicate with images and images. Visual communication also helps maintain daily intimacy between family members who are separated by long distances.
Social networks do not make the world more homogeneous.
Social networks are changing the world. One of the project’s key findings is that people around the world are generally finding ways to ensure that social networks serve local ends, rather than cross international borders.
Social networks are a new way of expressing cultural differences rather than a technology that has made the world more homogeneous. People in different parts of the world can use local or regional platforms and their own online “dialects” that keep people separate and separate.
This discovery reminds me of my own presence in social networks. While I have links in every corner of the world, I generally do not spend time learning about their cultures online. I spend most of my time with people from my business world … people like me. I can not remember a single close connection of social networks in Japan, China or South Korea. A missed opportunity, right?
Social networks promote personal trading better.
Social networks help to enhance aspects of commerce by expanding personal networks, such as: Connecting to social networks is one way to build trust that leads to new business relationships.
In Brazil, people usually use WhatsApp to sell items to their friends. In India, there are a considerable number of new activities based on online social networks.
Most companies try to be present on social networks, but it is companies that rely on the personal connections they need most. Of course, we also see it in the United States. UU With the explosion of online training and sales models.
Social networks have created a new kind of group communication.
Social networks are changing the world. Before social networks, most communications were private or personal (letters or telephone) or public broadcasts (radio, television, newspapers). On the contrary, social networks are mainly dedicated to groups and allow us to tailor different audience sizes and levels of confidentiality.
“Group communication” is something we take for granted today, but to a large extent, it is a modern social network application. When you think about it, this can be one of the deepest effects of the age of social networks: communication and simple group collaboration.
Social networks are where we live
Social networks are not just for technology or entertainment. Now it’s an online “house”. For some people who live far away from their family, it can be the main place where they live, where they spend most of their time.
When people are far away, they can restore the sense of closeness to live in the same house.
My son-in-law lives in a country far from the Third World as part of a Peace Corps mission. Once you have logged in, the game, which you can only predetermine, can communicate with the outside world once every two or three months. But thanks to the progress of Internet access and social networks, we can hear your content quickly and completely.
Social networks can have a profound impact on gender relations
Social networks are changing the world. One of the areas in which social networks have a profound cultural impact is gender relations, especially very conservative societies, where women and young men have sustainable and direct contact. In some cases, a key factor is the use of counterfeit accounts.
In a compelling case study, a young Turkish woman describes how she gains access to music, art, and literature that is not normally available to her in a conservative society. She uses a nickname for what cannot be recognized, but unfortunately, she was never known for her music because she had to use an alias.
Conversations and relationships are polymedia
Social networks are changing the world. Most people now use a variety of platforms to organize their relationships or to publish genres. Now you can also judge people about the means or platforms to use, which becomes a social and moral issue. The researchers call this “polymedia”.
The study showed examples of conversations jumping from one platform to another. Economic and transnational relations can change the platforms preferred by different regions of the world.
I see this as a potentially limiting factor. I recently visited India, where WhatsApp is a major source of connectivity and communication. I realized that I could not lose in this app opportunities to connect with friends in this country. Meanwhile, conversations can switch to Facebook or Twitter because my friends in India know that they find me.
Memes have become our moral script
Everywhere in the world, memes range from the heaviest as well as religious roles to humorous parodies and jokes.
Memes are often used to enforce a range of values and criticize others. People who are shy about expressing their own values and opinions use memes instead. In some cultures memes, quotes and photos inspire to express complex feelings like romance.
In many parts of the world, humorous memes offer a way out for difficult or dangerous situations.
Social networks are a threat to privacy, but they can also provide privacy
Social networks are changing the world In most regions, the threat posed by social privacy is very worrying. Social networks interrupt the vision that a home is a protected and fortified sanctuary. The threat of a stranger looking inside causes considerable anxiety.
However, social networks can also offer a range of privacy for those who have never met. Some of the largest populations in East and South Asia live in overcrowded and extended family relationships with limited privacy expectations. For them, social networks can be their first experience with any kind of private connection.
Social networks also provide the opportunity to connect with and interact with absolute strangers, which previously was difficult or impossible. A case study showed how women in India celebrate bonding potential in social networks outside the male gaze.
I will continue to deepen the study as it provides a stimulating insight into the world of social networks that I love. A surprise or an idea for you?