Social Media and the Contemporary Culture - Research Paper Example

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Social Media and the Contemporary Culture Name of the Student Student Number Sociology Name of the Concerned Professor 29 June 2011 Introduction It goes without saying that the still ongoing IT revolution has not merely touched the domains of business and communication, but also had a pivotal impact on the multifarious aspects of the contemporary culture…
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Download file to see previous pages 128). Social media come in varied formats like images, videos, text, podcasts, etc. There is no denying the fact that social media have drastically altered the way people communicate access information, interact socially, solicit and pursue careers, manage domestic and professional responsibilities, take decisions, etc, in the last three decades. Social Media- Possibilities and Shortcomings Now is the time to acknowledge the fact that social networks today constitute an integral part of the contemporary culture, and they are here to stay and further evolve. However, is it really true that the much publicized radical and democratic potential of the social media is fast altering the existing cultural norms, beliefs, practices and power structures? The available factual data well corroborates the premise that the egalitarianism of the internet is to a great extent deceptive in its functioning and implications (Zandt, 2010: p. 28). It will be reasonable to assume that women constitute a big chunk of social media consumers and users. However, if one cursorily goes through a selection of social networking sites, blogs and news websites, they mostly feature men as the established and credible authorities on social networking (Zandt, 2010: p. 28). It is a fact that the African Americans have a greater predilection for using Twitter, yet, most of the website’s top ten lists feature the white men as the experts who matter (Zandt, 2010: p. 28). Perhaps, it may be painful to acknowledge that those very same cultural beliefs and social structures that people have lived with since ages have to a great extent been transferred to and transposed to the realm of internet (Zandt, 2010: p. 28). So, the social media in a way tend to retain and maintain the existing cultural status quo. Just because the social media is devoid of any explicit socio-cultural structure in no way means that it is not open to the creation and configuration of implicit socio-cultural structures within its domain. It is a fact supported by commonsensical observation that people tend to group around those people who are like them, be it the real space or the virtual space. So, in a way the social media is a technology driven extension of the existing culture. The virtual world is as much open to and vulnerable to cultural prejudices, social inequalities and an imbalanced distribution of power as the real world. However, taking a totally pessimistic view of the possibilities of social media will amount to being too simplistic. Irrespective of all its vulnerabilities, the biggest plus point of the social media is its easy accessibility (Boler, 2008: p. 167). Internet is democratic when it comes to seeking access (Boler, 2008: p. 168). So, in the contemporary culture, social media allows for the participation of the hitherto sidelined and marginalized sections of the society. It allows everybody and anybody to access the requisite information, to participate in the larger social dialogue and to express oneself. The other thing about social media is that it offers a measure of anonymity, which has both its advantages and disadvantages. People can express their views, opinions and beliefs, without extending information regarding their race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, class, etc. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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