Interpretation of Social Media Identity in the Era of Contemporary Globalization

Rohani, Laila
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University of Guelph

The new reality of contemporary globalization and its impact on consumers is an on-going interest to scholars from many disciplines. This study is positioned to take the understanding of this new reality to the context of social media consumers. The primary objective of this research is to explore how consumers create and portray their social media identities in the era of contemporary globalization by reflecting the global social media context as well as their own social and cultural backgrounds. In order to achieve the research objective, this study embraced the globalization conceptual background and the concept of self/others. Specifically, this research explores the social media consumption behaviour (the creation of self and others) of two groups of Facebook (FB) consumers, Canadian FB consumers and Korean FB consumers. Three sub-sets of FB consumption culture: personal identity building culture, social networking culture, and brand engagement culture relevant to Facebook consumption context are examined. This study involves three stages, starting with the preliminary examination of Facebook attributes using quantitative approach. The second stage involves participant observation and content analysis of 100 FB profile pages. The last stage involves in-depth interviews of Canadian and Korean FB users. The blurred identities of self/other as well as reflections of social and cultural background were documented through the Canadian and Korean participants on a global social media ‘FB’. This research contributes to theoretical linkage between globalization and social media consumer research. It also extends emergent literature on social media consumption behaviour by exploring across cultures. For marketing managers, this research will explain how consumers generate and display their social media identity on a global social media FB brand.

Contemporary glabalization, Social media consumers, Facebook, Canadian, Korean