Social Networks Or Virtual Communities?

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Social Networks or Virtual Communities? Unlike film, social media is built on interaction. So, how can we describe the digital environment in relation to multiculturalism? When asked about virtual culture, Stephanie was unclear as to what it entailed (S. Jean, personal communication, April 5, 2017). Scholars suggest the digital sphere may create a “third culture,” incorporating traits of culturally diverse users (McEwan & Sobré-Denton, 2011, p. 253). This amalgamation reduces barriers to communication by finding a middle ground of understanding for users (McEwan & Sobré-Denton, 2011). Stephanie, however, remains skeptical of the theory. While she frequently posts on platforms such as Facebook, she recognizes the negative impact they have…show more content…
While Stephanie is fluent in English, those who are not may face greater challenges in communication (S. Jean, personal communication, April 5, 2017). Because CMC now relies on a distinct mode of informal language and symbols, intercultural exchange online may degrade to superficial comments and surface-level engagement—relationships built on “weak ties.” (Shiau, 2016, p. 5). Stephanie agrees with the concept of insignificant exchanges, noting that social media allows her to talk with more people, but with less depth and consideration. She describes her messaging on social media as “less sincere” than face-to-face interactions and far more “practiced.” (S. Jean, personal communication, April 5, 2017). She believes this follows a modern trend—as more people have access to social media, they grow more reliant on its use (S. Jean, personal communication, April 5, 2017). This, of course, was not an overnight phenomenon. Growing up, mobile texting was prominent among her family members, even when she lacked a computer in her home (S. Jean, personal communication, April 5, 2017). While language may remain a challenge in social media, culture in other forms may be growing more unified. Marcoccia (2012) identifies English being the default language of the internet as symbolic, indicating a growing sense of cultural standardization. The question then is whether internet culture is an amalgamation of global values, or a domination of Western culture (Marcoccia,
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