David Kender (Advisor), Yan Liu (Committee Co-chair), S. Narayanan (Committee Chair)
Master of Science in Engineering (MSEgr)
Social networking websites have become very popular amongst people of all ages in recent times. These websites have brought into existence a new form of data - 'User generated content'. Companies everywhere have begun to identify the potential of these sites and have commenced efforts to take advantage of the profitable opportunities available. In spite of all this, it is reasonable to say that the latent possibilities in social networking sites are yet to be fully explored. This is due to the fact that the technology is still young and research on its potential is still ongoing. The current research is also an effort in this direction.
The present study examines the impact of culture and age on the use of social networking websites by analyzing the user generated content on the most popular social networking website in USA - Facebook. Five hypotheses were derived and tested using a two-factorial between-subject quasi experiment. Instead of studying all cultural dimensions, this study focuses on the most studied cultural dimension in the literature - collectivism vs. individualism. Eight groups of American subjects were used to represent the individualistic culture and eight groups of Indian subjects were used to represent the collectivist culture. Two age groups were analyzed in both cultures - young group (25 years and below) and old group (35 years and above).
ANOVA of the experiment showed that participants from the American groups displayed a tendency to be unique and hence did not have a significant influencer within the groups, while the participants from the Indian groups chose more to be in harmony together and follow rather than lead thus having a more significant individual leader. Testing age, the results indicated that the younger subjects in both cultures were more active than the older group. In addition, the experiment indicated significant interaction effect between age and culture on the activity levels of the participants. Culture and age were also significant in the participants' preferences of topics of discussions in Facebook.
Department or Program
Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering
Year Degree Awarded
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