Stereotypes and cultural norms on social media

Are stereotyped depictions of groups of people in social media just a common part of our culture? Do videos, blogs, and news forums need to depict individuals of Middle Eastern, Asian, Black, White, or foreign one way? Does mental illness need to be depicted only as a vehicle for violent behavior?

This week’s activity is using personal social media to look at stereotypes, cultural issues and norms, and global norms. We’re going to do that by using your personal social media – Facebook. Look at what people are posting and see what stereotypes and cultural assumptions are there. Check out the ads along the sides as well.

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Now try posting something on social media asking about cultural assumptions, stereotypes, race, etc. (see some possibilities below) and see how the responses go. Did people jump to tell things they notice or were people a little reticent to share? So people agree that stereotypes are rampant, or did they not notice them. Did you open anyone’s eyes? Did friends in different countries share similar beliefs? Why do you think?

Possible posts could be something like one or more of these:

I’m studying stereotypes and cultural norms on social media.

  • Have you seen stereotypes on social media?
  • Do your friends and contacts share some social norms that you notice?
  • What do your ads tell you – any stereotypes there?
  • Can you share your thoughts on any of these with me?

Be sure to do this early enough in the week so you can gauge the responses. We’ll use the discussion board and your assignment to further analyze this activity.

During this module, you were to do an experiment using your own social media (above). Looking back at your social media experiment from the week, how did your responses go? Did you notice any differences among groups or countries? What stereotypes did people comment on?

Write at least 3 pages answering these questions using your social media experiment, being sure to demonstrate with examples. Include a theory from last week if you see evidence of one. Also include your response to the experiment – were you surprised or did you find what you thought you would? Did that expectation affect what you found? How can you tell?

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