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Facebook and culture

In September 2010 a new cohort of around 300 International students from relatively diverse backgrounds began a BA (Hons) course at the University of Central Lancashire in International Business Communication. It was decided early on by the Course Leader that Facebook would be used as a tool to facilitate communication and internationalization. The reason that Facebook was chosen for this study is that it is the most popular online social networking site among university students. The process was simple: at the opening induction event it was announced that the Facebook page was live and that students would have the option to sign up to the IBC Facebook site. During the opening lectures and seminars, the site was demonstrated in order to offer an insight to students how they could make use of it. Within a week, around one hundred students had signed up to the site along with a small number of staff. By the end of the course the numbers had swelled to around 200 users. Only basic rules and norms were formed in order to avoid any serious conflict issues. The use of the site is ongoing and by May 2011 nearly 400 postings had been made. As mentioned earlier, it was decided the site should be student-led. However, in order to get things up and running, one of the Course Leaders began to post. After initial introductions and suggestions of how students may make use of the site, the lecturer began to post links to some of his favorite movie and music clips that he felt were related to British culture. The purpose was to stimulate interest by using ‘safe’ posts; in other words avoiding any major cultural issues whilst helping the students focus on what he felt represented ‘Britishness’. This did attract a limited response; at this point, no ‘national culture’ issues surfaced. What did emerge was the clear age gap. The tutor posting is in his forties and predominantly his audience comprises students who are in their twenties. The first student to...
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