It has been acknowledged that men and women quite differently use social media. For instance, females tend to focus on development of certain relationships and creating a community while males tend to use social media to get information, have fun and so on (Correa, Hinsley & De Zúňiga, 2010).
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Interestingly, when it comes to the correlation between shopping decisions and the use of social media, there are certain differences. Thus, men tend to extract information on quality, characteristics of the product online whereas females tend to go to actual shops and malls, as they need to extract information from sellers (Kraft & Weber, 2012). At the same time, Kraft and Weber (2012) note that women often make their decision on the basis of evaluation made by others (usually friends who often shop together).
Interestingly, females are now using social media to elicit other people’s opinions. Thus, they take photos of products or themselves wearing the clothes they consider buying and send it to ask for advice. They often make decisions on the basis of the feedback from their friends and members of the online community they pertain to.
It is still unclear whether females use social media more extensively than males do (Correa et al., 2010). Correa et al. (2010) state that personal traits (not gender) play the essential role in frequency of the use of social media. It is possible to observe both males and females using social media in public places. It is noteworthy that people often use social media when they are interacting with people face-to-face. Thus, when buying clothes, females usually go shopping with somebody (female friends, relatives) but they can simultaneously use social media to interact with others (via Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging and so on).
Some people note that soon the digital world as well as online interaction will replace face-to-face communication. However, these assumptions can be erroneous. Clearly, the use of social media is still increasing as more and more people create and join communities. However, people still interact face-to-face. This is clear when observing people communicating in public places. Even when people start using social media in the middle of their interaction with another person, they still resume their face-to-face interactions.
As far as I am concerned, social media has had certain impact on my interactions. Of course, face-to-face interactions are important for me, but I have quite limited time for them. Therefore, I tend to rely on technology. At that, I have noticed that, in many cases, I prefer instant messaging to talking on the phone. I also know that I used social media quite excessively at certain period of my life. However, at present, I do not have time for that.
My own experience makes me believe that social media will not replace face-to-face interactions. Of course, people will use social media extensively. However, the vast majority of these users will still prefer development of relationships with people in the real world as people have the need to have specific ties and use specific behavioral patterns with various people (having spouses, colleagues, friends, neighbors and so on). People will create various online communities.
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At the same time, I have a positive view on the future of social media. I think these will remain platforms for people’s interactions in the globalized world. I also think social media will contribute to development of multiculturalism, as people will become more tolerant through online communication that is often associated with interactions among people pertaining to different ethnic and cultural groups.
Correa, T., Hinsley, A.W., & De Zúňiga, H.G. (2010). Who interacts on the Web?: The intersection of users’ personality and social media. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(2), 247-253.
Kraft, H., & Weber, J.M. (2012). A look at gender differences and marketing implications. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(21), 247-253.