In my last blog, I embeded videos of five women from different parts of the world, all are (or had been) living away from their home countries. Basically, I was investigating the way they utilized social mediums in their expatriation experiences, this was an attempt to assess a social media audit I offered to Joyce He; a Chinese student in the UK.
I think the 5 women I interviewed have similar circumstances to my client, as Kara and Arzuwere expats for study, Aoife and Anya‘s technical skills are close to He’s. Like my client, Aoife created her Facebook account while she was away from home, her and Rebecca are now based in countries where the spoken language is not their mother tongue, as Joyce He. Moreover, the interviewees are at the age of my client (28) as they are re between 23 to 31 years old.
Looking at the interviewees’ goals of using social networks in travel, we find the main motives are:
- Staying connected with family and friends at home for cheapest cost
- Travel planning in a way that helps them to mingle in the new cities
- Networking in the new cities and making friends with locals
Joyce He wants to connect with her people at home, however she found that the Chinese alternatives for social networking sites are working well for that. One of He’s goals that almost none of the interviewees mentioned is to be visible to employers. Meanwhile Aoife decided to use Twitter for self-publicity as a freelance journalist, He still not sure if she wants to learn how to use a new network and to which extend this is going to be helpful.
Internet censorship in Chinamight hinder Joyce He integration in the social media sphere , as it keeps her unfamiliar with the most popular webistes, such as Youtube, Flickr and Twitter, what affects her interactivity level in the networking sites, in other words, she might be a consumer more than a user. For instance the Chinese student would prefer uploading a video on Tudou rather than Youtube, as it’s the option she is more familiar with, what restricts its views to Chinese speaking, whereas she can log to others videos on Youtube. With Arzu, the situation was reversed; she was using Facebook when moved to Turkey, in a time the number of Facebook users there was pretty limited.
A problem that could pop up for an expat who uses social media to facilitate their social life, is meeting differences in the social behavior of people from other cultures, meanwhile Kara thinks the cultural differences are the reason, Aoife thinks the age gap is what makes her get some sorts of interactions she is not used to, such as expressing feelings on public (on Facebook wall) instead of privately .