This research has been published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
Researchers in this study surveyed more than 400 college-aged residents from the U.S. and China on their use of the social networking sites. In U.S., Facebook is the most popular social networking site and in China it is Ozone.
Researchers found that the people living in U.S. spend more time on the networking sites and consider them to be more important. They have more “friends” on the sites. On the other hand, people living in China are more inclined towards real-world relationships and less inclined towards the self promotion through online activities such as on Facebook and Twitter.
“In the United States, it’s all about promoting yourself and taking credit for positive outcomes and denying blame for negative outcomes,” Linda Jackson, MSU professor of psychology, said in a statement. “In China, it’s the opposite. If something bad happens, you take the blame and talk about how you can improve. If something good happens, the credit is shared for the good of the group.”
Researchers found that U.S. participants spend nearly double the time on social networking sites, i.e. about 52 minutes a day, while the Chinese participants spend nearly 28 minutes a day. Not only this but many of the Chinese participants (about 19%) also reported that they have never used the social networking sites while only 4% of the U.S. participants said that they have not used the social networking sites. Moreover, Chinese users are less likely to have many computers in a home.
Researchers are of the opinion that parents play a major role in this characterization. “Chinese parents may discourage or even forbid their children from using social networking sites,” as it may take them away from the schoolwork, Jackson said.
But Jackson said she doesn’t see it as an issue with access. “If Chinese students really wanted to go online more, they easily could, whether it’s at home or at school. It’s more of a motivation factor,” she said. “It becomes a question of what’s important in life. In China, it’s more important to sit down for a family dinner or concentrate on your homework or help your parents clean the house.”
Jackson, L., & Wang, J. (2013). Cultural differences in social networking site use: A comparative study of China and the United States Computers in Human Behavior, 29 (3), 910-921 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.11.024