‘New Media, New Behaviors, Identities, Communities?’
Significant changes in human behavior can result as a consequence of various new factors such as the media, fear, or power that eventually can disrupt the offline resources of fear and power. For example, Michael Wesh who is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University provided a brief anthropological introduction to Youtube claimed that new forms of identity, community, and expression are created by YouTube and other types of online communities and networking with the help of new media that change the ways radically in which individuals identify and connect (Wesch n.p.d). This research paper will critically argue whether the behavior of individuals does change or alter significantly due to online communication relative to multiple communities or a broader community, further, in light of this argument, it will also research whether identity can be constructed by internet communities through a different procedure in comparison to other traditional types of policing and group formation.
The evolution of the Internet has been witnessed as the tool of communication for a vast number of people, especially related to the change in which the people sell and purchase things across many industries. In fact, as a method of communication, people have turned out to be subject to the web in their work, business, and day by day life. Additionally, Frederick Allen Volk who is a bachelor of science from Newman University (1994) and master of arts from Wichita State University (1994) also highlighted that “the utilization of the web has spread all through the world for communication because of the impediments present in old communication instruments” (51). Besides, in the digital information age, one of the new types of media that provide new methods of searching the identity and meaning is YouTube. As people develop test semiotic relations with online products, a critical role in the new cultural space is played by identity and meaning (Calkins 14). One of the most excellent examples of such behavioral change by online communication was the YouTube video (Numa Numpa clip of 2003) which traveled to Japan and was mixed with animation culture. Later, this animated video travelled to New Jersey in 2004, where Gary Brolsma makes his video through his webcam on a similar song. His video reflects about him having the time of his life and then sharing it with everyone (Wesch n.p.d). This video later then become one of the most significant phenomena, and Gary became the new cyber star. Later, everyone joins the ‘Numa Numa’ craze, and it shows how everyone is replicating Gary’s behavior and spreading happiness.
Further, Wesh also claimed that “digital texts can also be in the form of blogs, wiki, tagging other people on social media that leads to thinking that Web 2.0 is all about linking people and people in the way that was never thought” (n.p.d). People are collaborating, sharing, and trading. This phenomenon of alterations and changes in individual behavior by online communities was also explained by different research studies, such as ‘Participation in Online Communities: Reconfiguring Relations of Participation’ by Harris, G. I. S. T. & M. A. S. of B. U. According to Harris, G. I. S. T. & M. A. S. of B. U. “one of the key reasons why people are gaining success through social media marketing where other individuals are failing is because they are not just communicating as some pixels on a screen, but they are also communicating as real people with real interests, pains, and needs along with a critical understanding of the dynamics of online communities” (65). As Wesch also highlighted “how by standing right in front of the box (computer) people are communicating with each other throughout the world” (n.p.d).
Besides, individuals have a communal nature too as they can engage around their professions, information needs, disciplines, and functions. As Pfiel indicated that “Communities are constructed when relationships are created by people indirectly through the readers of the blogs or directly through any social network like LinkedIn” (51). Such communities require growth and already have a significant presence. However, home bases for nurturing and interacting on the Web and social can be provided to community platforms and corporate blogs by using social media. The eventual outcome is an online community. With the help of new technologies, the number of possibilities to engage, nurture, and facilitate online communities indeed has spread on a massive scale.
Moreover, it is also essential to consider that social community and online marketing is all about the usage of the power of online communities to engage these particular groups of people, bring individuals that have standard profiles or interests, and build networks of trust and personal relations. There are various kinds of online communities depending upon the objectives that want to be accomplished and the target groups these communities want to engage in. However, on the principle of proximity, most of these communities are based. According to Pfeil, “An online community has been maintained almost by every individual, organization, blogger, and business who are active of the Web” (70). Moreover, a partial overlap can be created over offline communities by these online communities. On the other end, identification of the community members is easy on social media. Although, there are different tools through which the communities can be brought together depending on their objectives. However, they can differ concerning the visibility and the participation of the community.
Further, the participation inequality concept and how other users can be encouraged to make a significant contribution was also briefed well by Jakob Nielsen who was an expert in web usability. He introduced the 90-9-1 rule of participation of the user. Although the rule was not designed to apply on the online communities, it can be applied as most of the contributions are accounted by one percent of users that participate a lot. As Al-Lozi indicated that “This is often the group in social media where the thought leaders and influencers can be found” (25). Whereas, time to time contribution is made by 9% of users Active participation is displayed by them and. At the other end, ninety percent of users are lurkers who only observe or read; however, no contributions are made by them. The concept of participant observation was also highlighted by Wesch (n.p.d) with the example of the YouTube community.
It can be summed up that behaviors can be changed with the active participation of people on online communities and social media as they share and connect information. For example, online communities by medical schools are designed to enhance the health status of people. These online communities encourage people to relax and stress-free and get their medical test done. The target people of such communities are those people who are engaged in disruptive behaviors, sex, and drugs that have the chances of placing their health at risk. Moreover, behaviors in real life are also being shaped by the role played by online communities. Last but not least, the behaviors of people are changed through online communities by also addressing their psychological needs, such as the need to feel empowered, they need to be rewarded for good behavior, the need for self-worth, the need to fit in, and the need to trust (Longboan 146).
One of the highly powerful predictors of whether the behavior will be changed by people is building a sense of empowerment in them. The capability of changing the behavior can be empowered by getting associated with a network of individuals that are eventually changing their behaviors. The next is the need for rewarding for good behaviors. For instance, like the communications of people once they join a network along with progressive spacing out the time by liking the posts. Further, the need for self-worth is making individuals feel good about themselves so that they feel more empowered and become open to change. This eventually will help them in changing their behavior. The self-esteem of people can be increased through the online community that is offering important care and support to each other.
Besides, behaviors and attitudes can also be influenced heavily by setting the requirement for fitting in. For example, a specific set of social expectations and norms related to the type of behavior that must be exhibited by people is set every time when a new group forum or online community is created. To fit in these communities and to fit in these group norms, most people are willing to change behavior and attitudes. Last but not least, one of the important tactic used by people for communication purpose is social media marketing. To short stories from the first years of Facebook, the communication method has changed massively. For higher education marketers, Facebook is one of the top priority with around 2.01 billion users monthly. Facebook helps people in sharing their links, blogs, videos, pictures, and thoughts. Another example of a fast-paced network is Twitter that allows users to share information in less period. It has emerged as one of the useful platforms for reaching out to the students.
Last but not least, users can also share content temporarily on social media through the platform of Snap chat. Through the mobile app, this social media platform is only available, and it usually has around 165 million users daily. The application has mainly been designed for content-hungry and tech-savvy users. Moreover, the requirement of transmission of the lives on the Internet has always been communicated by online networking stages such as Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is mostly preferred by most of the renowned figures and celebrities as they start their day with tweeting. After this blurring of the typical pattern of trade, the informational organizations also turned into regular customers. Data is transmitted by people in essential correspondence.
Moreover, the diversion of creating the messages and allowing them to be accessible to everyone but only just for limited hours has been changed by Snapchat and Instagram. However, the customers are required to respond immediately when they open the information. Online life has made a route for individuals to refresh and impart substance to their companions continually with little exertion. Regardless of whether it is distributed everlastingly in the course of events or two or three seconds in a Snapchat, words usually cannot do a picture justice, and interpersonal organizations have made the ideal medium to impart these visual stories to companions. These examples YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram hence prove our research claim that the behavior of individuals is changed or altered significantly due to online communication related to multiple communities or a broader community.