Those social media users you hardly know

Let’s be honest. We have no clue how people (other than our closed circle of friends) use social media.

This important study is not just how social media changes people — pretty obvious in many cases. It is about how society changes social media.It was done after a 15 months study by nine anthropologists, each of whom spent that time living in communities in China, Brazil, Turkey, Chile, India, England, Italy and Trinidad.

Daniel Miller, (a prof at Univ College London) one of the researchers/authors, sums it up this way: While social media companies decide (and probably control) how users will interface with their platform, users find new ways to use the service, leaving companies to play catch-up. “They repurpose their digital worlds” transforming the social medium.

The book studied people as diverse as Kurdish users, Moslems, Chinese, Indians and more. It’s available as a book and as a free PDF. I found it interesting how Chinese users of the social platform QQ (similar to Google+) sort and evaluate friends. Or that mine workers in Chile would use WhatsApp, but are concerned that it could breed jealousy!

it is the first in a series of studies by the anthropologists. I can’t wait for the next installments.


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