Social Psychology Research and Social Media

How can applied social psychology research influence awareness and develop responses to diversity?

Applied social psychology research can influence awareness of diversity because, even to carry out a study on the topic, it is necessary to identify both loci of diversity and its marginal manifestations; such identification makes diversity explicit. The research can develop responses to diversity by comparing various existing responses and determining their outcomes, therefore identifying or developing the best responses.

Schneider, Gruman, and Coutts (2012) cite, among others, such core values of social psychology as accuracy, objectivity, skepticism, and open-mindedness (p. 5). This entails identifying one’s biases towards the researched group, therefore allowing for unprejudiced research. The goals of understanding and explaining, and the principle of empirical verification (Schneider et al., 2012, p. 5-6) further push scientists towards objectivity, for the result must be consistent with other verifications.

How does an awareness of research on Hofstede’s Cultural Taxonomy help you define the influence of social media on society’s cultural norms?

Hofstede’s Cultural Taxonomy leads me to the conclusion that social media might influence the cultural norms of their users. For example, many social networks come from the USA, where, for instance, high individualism and small power distance are typical (Mishra, 2008). The very structure of e.g. Facebook promotes these values; for example, a person creates an individual account, not affiliated with e.g. their family; a student can add professors to their friends, and the word “friend” alone shortens the distance, etc.

What are some of the reasons as defined by social psychologists for social identity?

Social psychology takes full account of the fact that individuals are part of society, and that society, arguably, is the most natural environment for an individual. Individuals exist in a society, interact with various groups, and, therefore, need to define themselves in the society and their relation to others somehow. This is why social identity emerges.

How can social media influence these attachments?

Social media can alter one’s social identity by changing the way one communicates with others, and the set of people one communicates with. E.g., political and social activists often use Facebook to promote their events, and people can visit such events and later become members of these groups, changing their worldview, group affiliation, and social identity. Also, as we mentioned, social media might impose values (e.g. low power distance (Mishra, 2008)) that are built-in for them, and affect the social identity; e.g., perceiving one’s professor as a “friend” might influence one’s social identity.

Do you believe that social media has changed social aspects in our society?

In our opinion, the spread of social media has influenced both diversity and personal relationships. Social networks have allowed many people to relate to or maintain communication with people from the other part of the globe, almost immediately, at any time. This was impossible before; clearly, social networks have introduced a fair amount of diversity into our communication.

Regarding personal relationships, social media have changed the way we communicate with our friends. The change is double-edged. We now can ask for our friends’ opinions or advice at any time, share content, participate in discussions that would not have been possible before; we can also contact many more people than before. On the other hand, we spent less time in a personal communication (the latter often allows for, e.g., a deeper exchange of ideas). On the whole, social media stimulate the creation of communities with quite close and trustful relationships (Canhoto, Clark, & Fennemore, 2013).

Social media make sellers who use them to promote their products innovative (Rapp, Beitelspacher, Grewal, & Hughes, 2013). One of the causes of this situation might be the fact that sellers who utilize social media have to address an increasingly diverse audience. Using social media for promoting products also increases the importance of devices in the lives of people (which is also concluded from our study), for they often ask their friends for advice on goods.


Canhoto, A.I., Clark, M., & Fennemore, P. (2013). Emerging segmentation practices in the age of the social customer. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 21(5), 413-428.

Mishra, G. (2008). Using Geert Hofstede cultural dimensions to study social media usage in BRIC countries. Web.

Rapp, A., Beitelspacher, L. S., Grewal, D., & Hughes, D. E. (2013). Understanding social media effects across seller, retailer, and consumer interactions. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(5), 547-566.

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.