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State of Social Media Around the World

Social media – that lovely term that has now replaced web 2.0 as a meaningless buzz word, but is still useful for initiating conversations because it’s the one thing people can hold on to when all else seems ambiguous – is truly a global force. Brian Solis pieces together a variety of reports and details the state of social media around the world in 2010. He concludes: “As we examine opportunities for global social networking, we are reminded that anthropology and sociology play critical roles in observing and documenting behavior, supporting cultures, and established governances for dictating how content, information, and relationships forge and flourish.” True…except when the technologies that are being used globally exert a norming influence, subject cultural differences to the template of Facebook. Culture, and ways in which individuals position themselves within it, is multidimensional. To say that we are global because we all speak our own language in Facebook omits the reality that different cultures would devise a very different software platform (i.e. Facebook). We permit cultural voices to express ideas, but the space in which this occurs normalizes all culture to a template.

One Comment

  1. Jim wrote:

    Hi George,
    I am new to your blog but so far find it fascinating.
    I am not sure I follow your logic on this post so let me know if my comment is out of line.
    From what I read it seems to me that you are saying technology (Facebook) dictates how or what culture is because it is not multidimensional. True it is not really multidimensional, but I disagree that technology normalizes culture. It certainly may shape it, but I think that technology (Facebook) is merely a tool, and how one uses that tool is as a way to express ideas is what informs us about culture. Basically, I think what I am saying is that we can’t let technology dictate the discourse. The same thing can be said for education. I like online education and the use of social media, but that doesn’t mean that we should use it without some critical thought or conversation.
    Maybe this doesn’t make sense :)
    Finally, I was interested to know more why you hyperlinked to Bourdieu?
    Thanks and can’t wait to read more.
    Jim

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink