The me in social media
Sulit, L. J. C. (2013). The “me” in social media: Characterizing the identities of selected social media users and the cultural factors behind them. Unpublished undergraduate thesis. Quezon City: University of the Philippines, Diliman.
Social media is shaping up to be one of the most popular medium to emerge in recent times. However, existing researches about this topic tend to focus more on the technology. The users seem to be have been neglected in the academic discourse on online media.
This study aimed to put the focus on the people that use social media by characterizing their identities. Because culture plays a big part in the usage of new media, this study aimed to answer the question: what are the cultural factors that shape the identities of selected Filipino social media users?
In order to achieve this goal, I looked for four university students who are active users of social media. Using the Joshua Meyrowitz’ Medium Theory (1985) as adapted in the study of Livingstone and Bovill (1999), I used online ethnography and in-depth interviews to gather data on the users’ access, lifestyles, uses, environments, and social change related to social media. Then, I used both grounded theory and sociological hermeneutics as lens to analyze the data.
The cultural factors that emerged in this study were the thriftiness of the respondents and their expected usage of “pakikiramdam.” Also, as a result of their adolescence, the respondents were in the process of seeking autonomy from their families.
Keywords: social media users, cultural factors, identity, Medium Theory