Culture can be categorized as individualist or collectivist. Individualistic cultures, from countries like Canada, Ireland, and Australia focus on the needs and successes of the self. We press on independence, achievement, and self-sufficiency. Collectivist countries, such as Japan, Nepal, and Mexico rely on the strengths of their group, leading to overarching success of the individual, valuing group honesty, support, and consideration. How do individuals from these categories perceive social and digital media?
Social media users from collectivist cultures have different habits and social media norms. People in collectivist cultures are more likely to post more online, intersecting their work life, private life, and social life (Rosen, 2010). They are also more likely to have more friends, connections, and matches on social networks, valuing online connectivity (Hofstede, 2001). Members of the individualistic realm are more likely to use social networks for specific purposes, such as Facebook and Instagram for social post and LinkedIn for professional connections.
In a research study comparing American and Korean clothing websites, it was evident that American clothing websites has more details about the product, whereas Korean websites provide more information about the customer’s greater impact on their community (Kim, 2009). These findings have a correlation between the consumers and their relationship to self or their communities.
Cross-culturally, there is a variance in preference of argument style, such as taking an emotional approach rather than a logical approach. In a Swiss organ donation campaign, researchers found that Swiss-Germans preferred a rational argument when presented with the value of donating organs, while Swiss French and Italian speakers preferred an emotional argument (Bresciani & Shmeil, 2014). This difference in argument style preference can influence the way digital media is perceived by different groups, and gives insight to marketers.
It is fascinating to learn about different cultural preferences with digital media. Technology is constantly modernizing, although our relationship with ourselves and with others is deeply rooted, which is evident within social media patterns and behaviours. When understanding the social habits, argument styles, and the underlying focus of detail, we get a better understanding of individual preferences and habits —both online and in-person.
Bresciani, Sabrina, and Andreas Schmeil. “Social Media Platforms for Social Good.” (2014): n. pag. Web. 24 May 2017.
G. Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences, Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, 2001.
Kim, Heeman, James R. Coyle, and Stephen J. Gould. “Collectivist and Individualist Influences on Website Design in South Korea and the U.S.: A Cross‐Cultural Content Analysis.” Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 16 July 2009. Web. 08 June 2017. <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01454.x/full>.
Rosen, Jeffrey. “The Web Means the End of Forgetting.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 24 July 2010. Web. 08 June 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/magazine/25privacy-t2.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>.