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16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Does culture matter in Computer Mediated Communication? A Cross-Cultural Content Analysis in MySpace
Salvador Alvdrez & Lifen Cheng
Department of Sociology and Communication University of Salamanca, Spain

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Social-Emotion-Oriented Model in Computer-mediated Communication

Hyperpersonal Communication Model


Joseph B. Walther

Senders

Self-presentation through available cues (pictures, text)

Asynchronous Channels (Forums, Social Network Profiles)

Over-atribution of senders characteristics

Receivers

Feedback is based on a selective behavior (Behavioral Confirmation)

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Asynchronous channel: Social Network Sites


* People can choose a better selection of the messages they send than in a Face to Face interaction because there is not time pressure. * Users can also choose a selective self-appearence through available cues (pictures, text, streaming clips).

Cultural Differences on Websites design and Selfpresentation:

(Wrtz, E., 2005; Faiola, A. & Matei, S.A., 2005; Callahan, E., 2005; Kang, S., 2005)

* Greater usage of images in Collectivist Cultures (High Context Communication), in order to provide context. * Greater usage of text in Individualist Cultures (Low Context Communication), in order to provide an accurate information.

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Social Network Profile: MySpace


MySpace has more than 110 million monthly active users around the globe (Facebook has 60 million). (Jan, 2008)
Sources: Techradar (http://techradar1.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/facebookmyspa ce-statistics) Comscore (www.comscore.com)

The world's most popular social networking site MySpace is to allow users to make their information available to other websites. BBC NEWS (May, 2008)

Self-presentation box for communication style Feedback Box

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Social Attraction & Communication Style


Burleson et. al. (1994): Individuals are most likely to have enjoyable interactions with others and develop relationships if they perceive they have similar communication styles. Edward T. Hall (1959): A mutual understanding is not so difficult when two interlocutors share the same social or cultural background

Research Questions:
1. Does a cultural influence on the communication style used in MySpace users interactions exist? 2. How does this style differ among users from two different cultural contexts?

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Main Predictions:
Cultural differences in graphic elements and text exchanges in MySpace profiles.

* Greater usage of graphic elements in High Context culture users.


*More direct and personal language in text exchanges in Low Context culture users.

Methodology
* Content analysis of over 517 profiles in Spain and the United Kingdom. * Measures of graphic elements were drawn through exchanges of static and animated pictures as well as audio/video streaming clips.

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Vagueness
* Powerless Language model: Presents an overuse of polite forms, Hedges (Sort of), Intensifiers (Really) Tag Questions (Isnt it?) and so on. (Lakoff, R., 1975; Erickson et al., 1978; Hosman, 1989).

Directness
* Usage of Directives (Write this down) and Judgmental Adjectives (Its good to). (Gudykunst & Ting Toomey, 2000)

Personal vs Contextual references


* Usage of pronoun I and personal references (Me, Mine, My) and pronoun We and contextual references (Our, Own, Lets).
(Cassell & Tversky, 2005; Gudykunst & Ting Toomey, 2000)

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Results for usage of graphic elements


Streaming Audio/Video clips
4

3.5

Means

2.5

2 United Kingdom Spain

=-.125, Wald=17.35, t(515)=4.66, p<.001


* Static and animated images were not significant predictors of region membership.

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Results for written language


Usage of language features by regions
9 8 7 6

Vagueness

Straightness

Means

5 4 3 2 1 0

UK Spain

ce s

ns if ie

es ti o

ct iv es

ed g

en

R ef er

ir e

In te

Q u

Statistical tests: T-test and Logistic Regression, using Region as DV and Language Features as predictors.

"I

"

Ju d

A d

je ct

es

ns

rs

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Conclusions
Findings partially corroborated predictions: a screen-usage of Audio/Video Clips Streaming as well as usage of Intensifiers and Questions in language were more frequent in profiles from Spain. On the other hand, a more usage of Hedges, Directives, Judgmental Adjectives and personal (I) references were found in profiles from the United Kingdom. British users tend to use a more direct and personal communication style. Spanish users prefer streaming exchanges and the usage of a more indirect communication style. There may already exist a significant cultural influence on Myspace users communication style, when they come into interaction with another users through this asynchronous CMC. Future research will considerate the influence of communication styles on social behavioural confirmation between users with different cultural backgrounds.

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Cultural influence on Communication Style


Personal and contextual constraints: Education, Social Class, Ethnicity, Race, Topic of communication, Interpersonal relationships

Senders

Receivers

Feedback (Behavioral Confirmation)

Interaction effects through language accommodation in Computer mediated Communication

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Salvador Alvdrez
Department of Sociology and Communication University of Salamanca salvidrez@usal.es mr.alvidrez@gmail.com

16th NIC Symposium of Intercultural Communication (University of Boras, Sweden)

November 2009

Results for written language


Usage of personal (I) references by gender and regions
45

Estimated Marginal Means

40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 14,05 30,61

39,74

Spain UK
16,5

Men

Women

Statistical tests: ANCOVA test using word count, gender and age as covariates.