Cyberspace Studies

Cyberspace Studies

Cyberspace Studies, Winter and Spring 2019, Volume 3, Issue 1



Factors Influencing Social Media Usage in the US

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Given the immense shifts the social networking sites and applications have brought about, a considerable number of researchers in the field of communication studies have turned to study different aspects of social media usage and factors influencing it. This study gathered data from 33318 US non-institutionalized citizens over 18 including 17079 females and 16239 males; they were members of web panelists of Pew, and their answers revealed that a majority of this online participants used a kind of social media. The results of this study revealed women use social media more than men, and religious people more than non-religious people. In addition, the results indicated that married people are the least users of social media in comparison with other marital groups. Our results showed that all demographics are significantly related to social media usage. But this significance can be somehow misleading because of weak practical effect sizes. Except for marital status and age Cramer’s V values are too small and their significance may have nothing to say but sensitivity to the degree of freedom.

Mass Media vs. the Mass of Media: A Study on the Human Nodes in a Social Network and their Chosen Messages

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In Internet-based social networks, the nodes have the most pivotal role in the processes and outcomes of the networks. Whether they pay attention to a message in the network or ignore it defines the fate of the message. One message is shared and re-shared by millions of users and another is left forgotten. The current study tries to shed light on one aspect of the role of the users in a social network: How are people different in the types of messages to which they pay attention? Some 500 Facebook users were interviewed and a creative method were used to find the public Facebook messages on which they had commented. Then, the researchers coded the data into different categories and carried out statistical analyses looking for significant relations between the types of Facebook users and the types of messages on which they commented. The results of the study include 21 significant relations, suggesting that the approach taken by this study can be promising and if completed by several other studies it could help us find local and universal patterns that affect the flow of information. With enough knowledge on social networks we must be able to design specific messages, for specific groups of people.

A Psychoanalytic Reading of Cyberspace: Problematizing the Digitalization of Oedipus Complex and the Dialectic of Subjectivity and Castration in the Cyberspace

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In the present paper, a translational model to psychoanalyze the cyberspace is presented with the argument that cyberspace is a translated version of human unconscious that projects both our unfulfilled desires and suppressed anxieties. This Freudian-based line of argument is followed by Lacanian (1950s)and Zizekian (2004) psychoanalysis to problematize the digitalization of Oedipus complex and the dialectic of castration and subjectivity within the cyberspace. By adopting a fuzzy logic-based approach, it is argued that cyberspace has both a panopticon-like and synopticon-like structure. The former is Oedipal in that it induces a sense of paranoia in the subjects and makes them symbolically castrated, but the latter is anti-Oedipal in that it promotes indeterminacy and pushes the subjects to the climax of self-subjectivity and subversion of the Oedipally determined identities. This is a counterargument to Zizek’s (2004) strong view that cyberspace is essentially anti-Oedipal, a transition from the symbolic castration structure to post-Oedipal libidinal economy. The central argument of the paper is that cyberspace is the realm of both the Imaginary and Symbolic Orders where both the pleasure and morality principles are at work and access to the Real Order is maximized.

Social Media and Social Mobility: Exploring the Role of Social Networks in the 2018 Boycott Campaign in Morocco

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Social networks have been resorted to as effective platforms for social mobility in many parts of the world. This mobility occurs when social media users exploit their interpersonal relationships, especially their ‘weak ties’ (Granovetter, 1973). Social networks enable their users to be producers of information, rather than mere consumers, and to be socially and politically well-informed. They have come to function as the alternative media serving citizens rather than governments’ agendas. The paper investigates whether or not social networks are used for social and political mobility in Morocco. Practically, the boycott campaign 2018 in Morocco is considered to uncover the new services these networks are offering. All these issues are investigated in this paper through administering a survey questionnaire to a Moroccan population. A quantitative and a qualitative analysis of 112 questionnaires show that the majority of the participants not only follow social and political content on social media but also share, post, and re-tweet content. The paper indicates that social media are useful platforms for political and social mobility since they are risk-free, costless, and accessible by everybody. The participants do not deny the outstanding roles that social networks play in organizing campaigns as forms of social mobility, yet they do not consider social media a prerequisite for making such events a success because the world has been witnessing successful mass street protests wherein no use of social media platforms has been mentioned.

Agency, Cyberspace, and Social Contract

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The social contract has been about rights and responsibilities in human societies. Facebook and its role in manufacturing and sustaining a global social contract, a new “we” is clearly one of the research areas that needs more attention. A new “we” is coming of age in the new age of connectivity and communication with a new outlook toward responsibility and rights at individual and collective levels. Facebook purports to build a new world based on connection and communication which is based on progress and prosperity. However, a fundamental factor and feature of Facebook that needs attention and more research is that people and users are becoming increasingly lonely, separated and independent from each other in this process while connecting and communicating with one another. This new social contract and “we” thus have the new features of the relationship between the human agency and his/her social structures. Cyberspace is the product of human agency and clearly creates and sustains a specific social structure. This research seeks to study the relationship between human agency, changing technical tools of communication and connection and emerging and evolving social structures and social contracts. Bandura’s “social cognitive theory” (2006) rejects a conflict and dichotomy between agency and social structure. As agency helps to build new social structures after destroying the old ones these new structures create and sustain a new social contract and “we” with a new sense of responsibility, obligations, and rights.