Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Why the caged bird sings : cultural factors underlying the use of online social networks among Saudi Arabian and UK users
Author: Selim, Heyla
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 0016
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
The 21st century has seen a dramatic rise in Internet access and connectivity across the world. To date, only a small amount of research has been published on the subject of culture and Internet usage. This thesis investigates whether, and how, individuals from two different cultures (Saudi Arabia and the UK) engage with online social networks (OSNs) differently, and what might be the underlying psychological factors explaining such differences. A first qualitative study used interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) to investigate motivations for using OSNs among Saudi and British participants. Both groups reported that they used OSNs to present a positive self-image, while desiring to maintain a sense of their ‘genuine' self in online interactions. For Saudi participants, OSNs also provided opportunities for selfexpression that were otherwise unavailable. British participants reported using OSNs for relationship maintenance. A second qualitative study also looked at motivations, but narrowed the focus to identity motives, applying motivated identity construction theory (Vignoles, 2011) to a thematic analysis of tweets written by citizens of Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Motives for meaning, belonging, distinctiveness, continuity, efficacy, and self-esteem were all detectable in the tweets of both Saudi and British users. The manner in which these motives were pursued varied according to the cultural context of users within the affordances of the online context in which they were communicating. The research project then aimed to establish a way of measuring differences in online self-presentation strategies, by developing the online self-presentation strategies scale (OSPSS). Items were selected using exploratory structural equation modelling (ESEM). The scale was incorporated in a large-scale (N = 694) quantitative study of Saudi and British OSN users that measured self-presentation strategies, motivations of OSNs use and target audience. Mediation analyses were conducted to find out whether cultural differences in these dimensions were explained by two forms of cultural variation: relational mobility and Schwartz' theory of basic values. Self-enhancement vs. self-transcendence values and relational mobility, more than openness to change vs. conservation values, accounted for mean differences between the groups in motives, targeted audiences and self-presentation strategies. Together the studies reveal observable differences in the ways in which people from Saudi Arabia and the UK engage with OSNs. These are partially explained by the affordances that social media provide, which compensate for the unavailability of certain modes of expression and communication within offline cultural contexts, and by cultural differences in value priorities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF0199 Behaviourism. Neobehaviourism. Behavioural psychology ; HM1001 Social psychology