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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores cultural factors in online interaction and communication. Several major cultural theories are considered, including Hall’s (1976) distinction between high- and low-context cultures, Hofstede’s (1991) cultural dimensions, and Schwartz’s (1992) universal human values, with discussion of how these models might be applied in an online context. The discussion draws on empirical research into how people from different cultural contexts use the Internet, and focuses on online self-presentation, particularly on online social networks (OSNs) such as Facebook and Twitter. These studies suggest that culture does indeed impact on how people interact online, but in ways that are sometimes unpredictable and surprising. The chapter concludes by noting that, while the advent of the Internet has not necessarily led to significant cultural convergence per se, it has underlined the fact that, while cultural context is an influential factor in how people communicate, individual differences are just as important.

Keywords: culture, online interaction, communication, online self, online self-presentation, online social networks

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