In modern, Internet-powered communication, social media has taken an especially important place, being the vehicle for sharing news, opinions, and other types of valuable information. The era of the Internet and the emergence of social networking has defined a range of trends in global culture, the propensity toward cultural exchange and collaboration being the key ones (Yong, 2018). For example, the phenomenon of cultural appropriation has become more frequent with the use of social media (Gire, 2017). Although the extent and specifics of the impact that social media has on the population varies depending on the culture thereof and possible legal restrictions, the general trend toward the promotion of intercultural dialogue and homogenous culture is evident, as the examples of South Korea, China, and Egypt show. The essay will explore examples of how social media has affected each culture independently, starting with South Korea, continuing with China, and ending with Egypt. A short summary and a conclusion will follow the analysis.
With the emergence and rapid evolution of social media, South Korea has taken the world by storm with its popular culture and specifically its pop music. Known as K-pop, South Korean mainstream songs have been shared across social media in the U.S., quickly becoming an incredible phenomenon of mass success. According to Yong (2018), Korean pop has become a transformative wave that has affected the American audience vastly: “Since Psy’s successful debut in North America, several idol groups, such as Girls’ Generation, Twice, EXO, and BTS, have substantially increased their activities in several parts of the world” (p. 405). Furthermore, as the evidence above shows, South Korean music continues its triumphant conquest of popular music on a global scale. Thus, social media has affected the promotion of South Korean culture into the global landscape, adding to the process of globalization.
Similarly, social media has also affected the cultures that used to be very secluded and closed to most of the Western world. For instance, the dynamics in gender relationships within Chinese society, where rigid gender roles have been established as a norm, have recently started to change due to the influence of social media. According to Repnikova and Zhou (2018), the famous #MeToo movement also affected Chinese society to an extensive degree, causing the reconsideration of how women are treated and why these gender roles have to be subverted. Therefore, one may conclude that the impact of social media on Chinese culture has been quite vast and profound. Allowing Chinese women to see that fighting for their rights is a possibility and that they have massive support worldwide, social media has become the basis for social change in China. Therefore, the impact of social media on introducing people to global culture and trends within it is undeniable, with impressive positive evidence proving that social media is essential for the promotion of global communication and collaboration.
Finally, the impact of social media as the vehicle for promoting a change in the political regime and the liberation of citizens deserves a mentioning. As the example of the Arab Spring has proven, social media can be used to unite and collaborate in order to fight against a corrupted regime. According to the statement made by Gire (2017), “change in language (the adoption of Arabic by Facebook and Twitter) helped them reach a larger audience and connect with more people” (p. 4). Therefore, the incorporation of social media into a political activity allows addressing cultural factors that impede people from receiving international support. Once the cultural barrier is managed, awareness is built, which helps to prompt political change, as the example of the Arab spring has demonstrated.
The increasing use of social media affects global culture directly by introducing opportunities for sharing knowledge, experience, and traditions, thus causing an increase in culture fusion. Since the promotion of cultural exchange can be seen as mostly positive because of the options that it provides for gaining new knowledge and advancing progress within a particular society, it needs to be encouraged and reinforced. For instance, for countries of lesser cultural influence and with more secluded culture, the opportunities for exerting uninhibited influence may become the starting point for sharing their traditions and values with the rest of the world. Nevertheless, introducing participants of social networks to the notion of cultural competence is a crucial measure in securing the traditions that can be affected by the impact of social media.
The recent spur in the growth of social media influence has shown that the development of global culture is a possibility given the examples of how the elements of South Korean, Chinese, and Egyptian cultures have become almost ubiquitous. Due to the process of active sharing and communication, residents of numerous countries have become familiar with the specified cultures, even though in a somewhat superficial way. Therefore, it would not be an overstatement to claim that social media develops global culture as a phenomenon that encompasses multiple traditions and allows people from different backgrounds to reconcile their differences. Helping people to expand the extent of their communication and the range of their experiences, social media leads to the creation of a cultural fusion where learning more about other nations, their uniqueness, and traditions become possible.
Gire, S. (2017). The role of social media in the Arab Spring. Pangaea Journal, 1(1), pp. 1-10.
Repnikova, M., & Zhou, W. (2018). #MeToo movement in China: Powerful yet fragile. Al Jazeera. Web.
Yong, J. I. N. D. (2018). An analysis of the Korean wave as transnational popular culture: North American youth engage through social media as TV becomes obsolete. International Journal of Communication, 12, 404-422. Web.