Why Social Media Influence Digital Culture And Behavioural Values Among College Students

6 min readFeb 24


The impact of social media on culture cannot be overestimated. It had a great influence on the cultural changes in the society so that the role of men and women has been defined by the mass media. In the process, it affected both intercultural and international communication


Social media presents vast opportunities as an effective communication and distribution channel, a tool to understand and influence the customer perception and behaviour and ability to bring people of the same interest together. It is therefore no longer a subject of discussion for organisations that want to have competitive advantage in the market place if they should use social media, but how and to what extent it should be used.

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Social media has also become a valuable repository of information, especially data and information that provides valuable insight into the behaviour and perceptions of the users. Hence, it is important that organisations use social media to listen to the information available about the brand, product or service. Although it will be more beneficial for organisations to have a social media strategy that goes beyond listening to the information available about the organisation’s brand or product on social media, to engaging the target audience using social media in order to take advantage of the opportunity that it presents.


The term digital culture emerged from a five-year study of an international social learning network for educators, in which a void was identified in the discussions and development of technology in education. Traditionally within the field of education, research has focused primarily on technology as a learning device, exploring developments in didactics and learning theory as they relate to classroom or online learning. While these contributions have been significant for expanding views about knowledge development and the importance of social dynamics in the learning environment, they have not addressed the development of social behaviors, norms, and values that cultural theorists suggest are being altered through interactions with technology. As a culture theorist studying schools, it became evident to me that the focus of technology in education was too limited to achieve certain stated goals in educational policy that call for schools to prepare youth with skills and knowledge for working in the global knowledge society, including an orientation to lifelong learning, active citizenship, networking, entrepreneurship, and communication skills for understanding others.


The natural way to pursue important values is to behave in ways that express them or promote their attainment. People pursue security values by acting in ways that promote their personal safety, and they pursue hedonism values by engaging in pleasurable activities. Most behaviors can express more than one value. For example, people might go hiking because they like adventure (stimulation values), love nature (universalism values), or want to comply with their friends’ expectations (conformity values). Like hiking, many behaviors are ambiguous with regard to the values they express. Still, some behaviors express primarily one value. Dominating behavior, for example, primarily expresses power values. In this article, we use the term value-expressive behavior to refer to behaviors that can express primarily one value. Why do people behave according to their values? One possible reason is a need for consistency between one’s beliefs (values) and actions. Another is that value-consistent action is rewarding; it helps people get what they want. Studies that report relations of values to behavioral intentions in hypothetical situations demonstrate that people want to act according to their values. However, these are only hypothetical behaviors. In real life situations, values are but one of many factors that may influence behavior. Therefore, estimating the strength of relations between values and behavior requires measuring actual behavior. Previous studies have shown that values relate to choose behavior in real-life situations. For example, values predicted choosing a university course and voting for political parties. These are examples of behaviors that people choose carefully, after weighing the pros and cons of alternatives. In such choice situations, values are likely to come to mind and influence decisions. But most behavior is more spontaneous. We rarely think about our value priorities before interrupting a conversation partner (power values) or indulging in a tempting desert (hedonism values). If behavior relates to values only when there is conscious, careful choice, effects of values on behavior are limited to a small subset of situations


It is hard to disagree that new media mark a significant generation shift from the old media — television, radio, printing press, home video, LP and tape recording, printed photography — to the new media: personal computer and its versions in the form of mobile devices, the Internet, on-line social networks, digital photography, electronic documents, digital video and audio recording etc. Following McLuhan’s idea of media as extension of man (МcLuhan, 2001), we can say that those who grew up in 2000s are much more electronically extended humans in terms of access to data and social involvement via popular Internet services like Facebook.com or VK.com (in Russia). However, we shouldn’t mistakenly isolate social media from the bigger picture of what digital technology shapes as a digital culture of late XX — early XXI century, because there is no value neutral or direct cognitive impact of technology which is always value laden and culture sensitive.

Digital culture is based on totality of digital technology and reveals itself on several levels: material (things, gadgets, technological systems), symbolic (languages, signs, form of communication), social (institutions, functions, communities), mental (cognitive structures, identities, stereotypes) and values. This multilevel model of culture is adapted from cultural theory and social anthropology. Rejecting reductionist view of culture only as a material or mental or social (institutional) phenomenon. The reason is totality of digital technology in our everyday life from smartphones or office desktop PC to Internet communication, from digital photo camera to iPod player, from videogame system to automatic computer system in our car. What we see in the use of social media is celebration of collective life and cooperation. New generation learns how to live with hundreds of friends on-line expressing yourself and sharing what is important in your everyday life. Yes, CM is for individual use and profiling. But even simple gesture of liking makes you expressing you self and experiencing togetherness not individual power.

In 10- or 20-years social media will become a heavy challenge for individualistic values of the West. What we should expect is the virtual community becoming a new source of norms and social integration equalizing takeovers of individualism and atomization. The most important controversy is the border of privacy and private life. The global village of social media is fundamentally anti-private. This idea is attributed most often to the founder of the Facebook — Marc Zuckerberg. SM are not for hiding but presenting and exposing yourself: where you are and where you’ve been, who you are with (friend, colleague, in relationship), what you like etc. Anyone in the world can find you and get to know you somehow. The more you transparently collective the more you are social human being in social media world. From this point we are moving to the next dilemma — Transparency vs. Total control. The more you are exposed to the world in the form of digital data the more controllable you become for government and corporations. Electronic visibility of individuals and organizations is often called transparency. For example, the system of electronic government is supposed to make political authorities more transparent and reachable for people. Fellow citizens can easily find out anything they want about any official or legislation. However, government and corporations can easily watch and control you with databases, video surveillance etc.