The Internet has broken almost all the limitations of global communication. Social media forums such as wikis and blogs among others have brought about technological enlightenment to all people and regions. Today, people communicate globally regardless of ethnicity, culture, and sometimes even language differences (Zionah 32). There are tools in social media that translate languages. However, there is a tendency of people in social media to be subdivided into common language clusters, such as English, French, Arabic, Kiswahili, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian among other languages. In social media, cultural knowledge is passed from one person to the other regardless of their position in the world. This is through the use of social media’s cultural artifacts, such as social networking sites. Ultimately, the masses obtain a media culture or a mass culture. That is, cultural artifacts pass cultural knowledge.
This paper focuses on the research done on ways the media influences culture and vice versa. It also highlights cultural knowledge, behavior, and aspects of artifacts in social media culture and language.
In the past, individuals could only get cultural knowledge from activities such as travel, working, studying, and other activities that encompass personal experiences or an individual’s mobility (Breslin & Alexander 29). Today, people can get the same from social media. People live in a virtual world where they travel to different countries, regions, and continents experiencing a myriad of cultures.
An insight into social networking sites as cultural artifacts to garner information on cultural knowledge and behavior among the sites’ users will be highlighted. The sites would be used to illuminate the use of language as a tool to pass cultural knowledge to influence cultural behavior among users.
The research process mainly involved in the interviewing of social websites’ users. Such sites included Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Networking sites were the favored artifact to be researched as they have a huge number of subscribers from different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, races, languages, continents, countries, and regions. This adequately addresses the research question at hand on social media’s influence on cultural behavior, knowledge, and the way language influences it. It is amazing to note that a majority of subscribers of the three social sites spend virtually all their free time posting information about their lives on their profile pages of the sites (Engdahl 57). On these social sites, one will find almost any sort of information about a subscriber. Such information includes their relationship information, their everyday activities, goals, dreams, and aspirations among others. There is also a profile of the subscriber that contains their basic information and a profile picture of them. Some subscribers are renowned celebrities, such as reality shows personalities, artists, presidents, and others. On Twitter, for instance, one will find tweets or even the American president and many other influential celebrities.
The cultural knowledge is the knowledge of celebrity dressing styles, their manner of talk and lifestyle. The artifact that transmits this knowledge is social media, and the culture is the celebrity culture. Interviews on general subscribers touched on what they have learned from others, especially from the celebrities about their cultures and what they have picked up from the same and inculcated in their lives. Celebrities were questioned about the intention of some of the posts they make on social networking websites. The interviews were carried on selected subscribers, celebrities, and companies that make commercials on the Internet from various backgrounds.
The results of this research showed that a majority of subscribers have taken up a substantial portion of culture from celebrities. This included the manner of speech, lifestyle, and fashion among others. Celebrities, in turn, affirmed that they generally used the sites to remain relevant in their respective fields. When questioned if there was any style of speaking or living that the subscribers had picked from their favorite celebrities, a portion of the interviewed subscribers said they actually had done so. However, the alarming majority had copied elements of fashion from their favorite celebrities (Partridge 21). Some affirmed that they had at one point in a time gone looking for exact attires as the ones they had seen on their favorite celebrities in social network sites. This was particularly so for young subscribers. This terms the celebrity culture/behavior. The social media has as an artifact facilitated the passing of fashion-conscious messages (celebrity cultural knowledge) from the celebrities that most recipients have inculcated and are practicing not to mention sharing amongst themselves on social media.
Language came as a major influence on social sites. Language apparently still hinders communication between people who have no common language from interacting to a great extent (Zionah 50). Most subscribers affirmed that they had no idea of the state of affairs as was in the other regions where natives spoke a language they did not understand. However, the same subscribers were well-versed with the state of affairs elsewhere where the language was not a hindrance.
The research shows that the social networking site as an artifact has come to globalize culture to a great extent. It is evident that people are adopting a celebrity sort of culture. The research was, therefore, a success, because it established one of the possible sources of the celebrity culture, especially among the youth generation. The research also showed that there is a need to address the language barrier that limits interaction in social networking sites.