Wednesday, 8 August 2012

What Can You Tell About Me From My Facebook Self Portrait?

My Facebook page contains two pictures: an inset of my face and a river bank scene. If you are from the East, would you think that I was more in tune with your culture or that I was more Westernised?

The focus on my face shows a strong tendency to an individualistic Western culture while the setting shows that I understand myself to be part of a larger whole (a more collectivist Eastern approach).

What Difference Will Culture Make To My Self Perception?

Huang and Park’s (2012) study of Facebook users from six universities in two areas of the world showed a difference in the photographs that the students used for their Facebook profile based on home and host cultures. In East Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan), the student choose settings that they liked, while the students from United States (California and Texas) choose to focus more on showing their head (and shoulders).

The study also showed that people who move abroad adopt aspects of the culture they live in and change their photographs on Facebook in a way that shows the adoption of the host country's culture.

The study also found that although East Asia showed a more collectivist culture, the number of friends people have is higher in the more affluent cities of Singapore and Austin.

How Can I Use This Data on My International Assignment?

When you move abroad you need to create a support system in your local area. When you are choosing a place to live you can start with the more affluent cities as they are more open and more likely to include you as friends.

Western and Eastern cultures have different visual perception, attention and reasoning skills. Over time you will pick up the local and adapt to your new culture. If you are designing a page, you might want to make it more culturally friendly to the people you want to live and work with. Some changes to the way you present yourself may help you work and live in your new culture.

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