Cultural Globalization: The Impacts of Social Media in PNG

It is commonly known that knowledge is power. In my perception, I believe knowledge is stored information that has a prevailing impact on a person. In the modern period, societies and human culture has evolved and reshaped itself through the power of distributed information, concepts and values. This process is called ‘cultural globalization’. Britannica online dictionary (2021) defines cultural globalization as, “a phenomenon by which the experience of everyday life, as influenced by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, reflects a standardization of cultural expression around the world driven by the efficiency of wireless technological communication, electronic commerce, popular culture and international travel”. To put it another way, cultural globalization is the transmission of common concepts, meanings, and ideals across the globe in order to broaden and intensify social ties. The trend of cultural globalization has been aided by information technology.

The accelerated change in information technology such as the internet has caused a significant impact on the daily lives of people in developed countries such as Papua New Guinea. The traditional communication process has declined slowly while the mode of communications such as mobile phones and social media are commonly being used throughout the country. Rooney (2012) stated that, since the exposure and introduction of social media in the country, it has rapidly changed the way people in the society interrelate with themselves, communicate, conduct business and participate in social activities. As the globalization process take place, the use of social media has transformed the various aspects of the society. Papua New Guinean users of social media (particularly Facebook) have increased rapidly throughout the urban and rural areas. So why is it that the civil society continue to favor the use of social media? What could be the impacts of social media that continue to drive the Papua New Guinean society into the digital period.? It is reasonable that social media has influenced many aspects of the society. I believe it is evident that the use of social media in PNG has produced an essential impact on the relationships within the society, employment opportunities and the political performance of politicians. This essay will outline and discuss the impacts of social media in these three aspects of the Papua New Guinean society. 

The first evident impact of social media in PNG is on the relationship within the society. The introduction of mobile smartphones and the internet has constructed the path for our diverse society to access social media networks and interact online. Telecommunication organizations in PNG such as Digicel make it even more possible for smartphone users to have the opportunity to remotely access social media and keep in touch with friends and family. According to a report by (Vari, 2017), he reported that Digicel PNG conducted a study through its marketing arms and found that 79 percent of all internet users in a study group had access to the internet evolved purely to the use of social media. Furthermore, it was also found that social media enables users to interact with people outside their physical boundaries. For example, it certainly enables relatives in the rural parts of PNG to communicate with family members in the urban parts. In addition, it has also created new distant friendship’s and allow young sidelined youths to express their opinions online and interact in a virtual atmosphere. On the other hand, it negatively decreases the physical relationship between people which has caused many young users to become reliant on social media to interact virtually by reacting, sharing, uploading and posting content online.  Sawyer & Chen (2012, p. 151) confirms that “while cultures around the world value their individual traditions, beliefs, and norms that make them unique, social media links people around the world regardless of differences and geographical boundaries”. In relation to these circumstances, it is understandable that the impact of social media in the relationship within the society continues to grow as the online interaction increases.

Additionally, social media has also had an impact on the job opportunities and employment in PNG. For instance, employees have started using social media as an advertising platform to display their organization and job requirements to attract and screen employees to hire. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have become one of the key strategies to attain recruitment in PNG today. According to The Lee Group (2021) a 2018 career building poll, 70% of employers use social media to test applicants during the recruiting process, and about 43% of employers use social media to check up on existing workers. The social media provides an informative and reliable platform for employers in PNG to go online instantly and crosscheck the professional skills and background information of a candidate that is likely to be employed.  It is important that job seekers with active social media accounts consider including trustworthy content in their social media page to attain employment. Therefore, given all these circumstances, it is obvious that social media has elevated the employment process in PNG.  

Furthermore, social media has also produced a considerable impact on the performance in politics. To illustrate, politicians in PNG have now enhanced their political campaign by ‘going digital’ using their social media accounts.  Politics is an important agenda that raises public discussion in which the issues and opinions discussed usually depend on the news media to convey the information to the public. However, the role of the news media often contradicts the information and display a different message. As a result, politicians have chosen social media as a digital platform to convey their political messages without restrictions. According to (Chen, n.d, pp. 73-74) he emphasized that “the digital media environment will facilitate the formation of new public spheres that are more directly interactive and conversational than the letters page of the newspaper and more likely to be outside of the control of mass-media gatekeepers”.

Moreover, politicians in PNG such as Bryan Krammer have started to use Facebook pages and its advertising tool to increase their audience. They use it to communicate and engage with the nation about current political issues, promote themselves and express their opinions freely. In a recent article by (McLeod, 2020) he stated that, “More Governors, Ministers and MPs are using Facebook as a way of communicating directly with their constituents and the nation. Some are doing this from their personal accounts, such as the former deputy prime minister Charles Abel who posts personal notes about his travels in his electorate to a local Facebook group”. Furthermore, he went on to say that more than 50 pages in PNG were related to politicians who were ranked first in the country for audience engagement each week.  Having considered all these conditions, it is noticeable that social media has generated an impact on the political performance in PNG.

In conclusion, the effects of social media on the various aspects of Papua New Guinean society have been outlined and discussed in this essay. Although there are many impacts of social media, the discussion looked at the three various aspects of Papua New Guinean society, focusing on the significant impacts of social media which has pushed the country into the digital online world. Firstly, the evidence presented has proven that social media has changed the way in which the relationship in the society developed. Thus, resulting in a more extensive online interaction between people. Secondly, social media also delivers the possibility of people to attain employment by providing trustworthy information to employers who also access social media. For this reason, many job seekers are required to consider the content they include on their social media pages. Finally, the discussion presented substantial evidence about the profound impact that social media has on the performance of politicians. Subsequently, the system of the political campaign has upgraded to an online interaction which allows local politicians to effectively gain support, awareness and raise their political ambition more genuinely and openly to the vast majority of audience. Social media has played a significant role in triggering the globalization process around the world. Developing countries like Papua New Guinea have yet to fully realize the benefits of this digital platform. Nonetheless, this digital interaction platform may present negative challenges. Only until our culture recognizes and appreciates its significance can the likelihood of positive outcomes outweigh the negative consequences.

References

Britannica Online. (2021). Cultural globalization. In Britannica Online Dictionary. https://www.britannica.com/science/cultural-globalization

Chen, J. P. (n.d). Social Media. Australian Politics in a Digital age. (pp. 69-111). ANU Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jbkkn.11

McLeod, S. (2020). Digital declarations: Political ads on PNG social media must be clear.

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/digital-declarations-political-ads-PNG-social-media-must-be-clear

Rooney, M. N. (2012, July 31). Can social media transform Papua New Guinea? Reflections and questions. DevPolicy Blog.   https://devpolicy.org/can-social-media-transform-papua-new-guinea-reflections-and-questions20120731/

Sawyer, R. & Chen, M.G. (2012). The Impact of Social Media on Intercultural Adaptation. Intercultural Communication Studies. (pp. 151-169).  University of Rhode Island.  https://web.uri.edu/iaics/files/09RebeccaSawyerGuoMingChen.pdf

The Lee Group (2021). What Recruiters Look for When Checking Out Your Social Media Profiles. https://theleegroup.com/recruiters-look-checking-social-media-profiles/

Vari, M. (2017, May 5th). Social Network Popular In PNG. Post-Courier.   https://postcourier.com.pg/social-network-popular-png/

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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