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Effect of social media usage on the cultural identity of rural people: a case study of Bamha village, Egypt

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Firstly: Description of the research sample

The results (Table 1) which show the social and economic characteristics of the respondents showed that the age mode of the respondents falls in the age group 18–33 years, and their percentage reached (55%). With regard to the sex of the respondents, it was found that the majority of them (85%) are males. For the educational status of the respondents, the results showed that two-fifths of the respondents (40%) hold a secondary certificate, as well as those with higher qualifications, the same percentage, and that 10% of them have a preparatory certificate, and that 5% of them have an elementary certificate, as well as those who read and write the same. As for the marital status of the respondents, it was found from the results that three-quarters of them (75%) are married.

Table 1 Distribution of respondents according to their social, economic, and communication characteristics.

With regard to the number of family members, the results showed that half of the respondents (50%) had an average family size, as the number of their family members ranged from 5 to 6 individuals, which is in line with the respondents’ educational level. With regard to the respondents’ profession, the results showed that two-fifths of the respondents 40% are employees, and that one-fifth of them (20%) work as craftsmen, that 15% of them work as self-employed, and 10% of them are students. With regard to the distribution of respondents according to their monthly income, the results showed that more than half of the respondents (55%) fall in the middle-income category, where their income ranges between 2000 and 3000 Egyptian pounds, and this is in line with the nature of their professions.

Also, the results (Table 1) which show the communication characteristics of the respondents showed that the mode of the number of years of use variable falls in the two time categories 1–3 years and 4–6 years, with a percentage of 35%, while it became clear that 30% of the respondents have used social media for a period ranging from 7 to 10 years. With regard to the number of hours of use, it was found that nearly half of the respondents (45%) use social media between 2 and 3 h per day, while more than a third of them (35%) use social media between 4 and 5 h a day, and a fifth of respondents (20%) use social media between 6 and 8 h a day.

As for the number of websites used by the respondents, the results showed that half of the respondents (50%) use one or two websites at most, that nearly half (45%) use 3–4 websites, and that only 5% of them use 5–6 Sites, and as for the means of accessing social media, it was found that nearly two-thirds of the respondents (60%) use both the mobile and the computer to enter, while two-fifths of the respondents (40%) of them access via mobile only. Regarding the validity of the respondents’ data on social media, it was found that the majority of the respondents (80%) use data, some of which are true and others are incorrect, and that for 15% of them all their data are correct, and that for only 5% of respondents’ their data is incorrect, and this is logical in light of the multiplicity of problems that may occur as a result of disclosing all data.

With regard to trusting the websites used by the respondents, the results showed that the majority of respondents (80%) trust to some extent, while 15% of them fully trust, and 5% of them do not trust those websites. As for the learning method variable, nearly two-thirds of the respondents (60%) learned to utilize the communication methods through friends, while one-fifth of the respondents (20%) learned themselves, and that (15%) of them learned through their brothers, while 5% of them only learned through training courses. As for the preferred site, it was found that the majority of respondents (90%) prefer Facebook, while 5% of them prefer WhatsApp, and the same percentage prefer YouTube.

As for the respondents’ feelings during their absence from social media, it was found that nearly two-thirds of the respondents (60%) feel empty during their absence from the means of communication, while one-fifth of the respondents (20%) feel nothing when they are absent from these means, and the same percentage reported feeling anxiety and turmoil. As for the name of access to social networking sites, the majority of respondents (85%) enter with real names, while 15% of them enter under pseudonyms.

Secondly: Reasons for using social media

The results (Table 2) showed the following: Communicating with others, in general, came in the first rank of the reasons for respondents’ utilization of social media by 88%, then within the second rank searching for old friends and getting to know new friends by 75%, then in the third rank spending leisure time by 73.8%, then in the fourth rank entertainment by 72%, then in the fifth rank accessing to political and religious news by 70.5%, and then in the sixth rank following up on sports news by 60%, then in the seventh rank searching for a job by 42.7%, then in the eighth rank being one of the work requirements by 36.1%, then in the ninth rank buying and selling by 22.5%, then in the tenth rank the reason of addiction by 16.4%, and finally in the last rank for social appearance among people (10.3%).

Table 2 Reasons for respondents’ use of social media.

Thirdly: The effect of social media utilizing on the respondents’ cultural identity

  1. A.

    The component of language and method of dialog with others

The results (Table 3) showed the following:

  1. 1.

    Paying attention to speaking and writing in a spoken language:

    Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (60%) reported that taking into account speaking and writing in a spoken language has decreased in light of their use of social media.

  2. 2.

    Paying attention to correct linguistic errors:

    Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (60%) reported that interest in correcting linguistic errors had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  3. 3.

    Using colloquial language in conversation with others:

    All respondents (100%) reported that their use of the colloquial dialect increased in light of their use of social media.

  4. 4.

    Use of new and common terms among young people:

    The vast majority of respondents (95%) reported that their use of new and circulating words among young people has increased in light of their use of social media.

  5. 5.

    Using Franco Arabic in writing:

Table 3 Respondents’ responses according to the change in the cultural identity component of language and the method of dialog with others.

The majority of respondents (90%) stated that their use of Franco Arabic in writing had increased in light of social media utilization.

  1. A.

    Component of community participation:

The results (Table 4) showed the following:

  1. 1.

    Attending social events:

    Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (60%) reported that their attendance at social events had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  2. 2.

    Exchanging visits with relatives and friends:

    Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (60%) stated that their exchange of visits with their relatives and friends had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  3. 3.

    Participation in development projects and initiatives:

    Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) reported that their participation in development projects and initiatives had increased in light of their use of social media.

  4. 4.

    Contributing to providing social assistance to the needy:

    Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (60%) stated that their contribution to providing social assistance to the needy had not changed in light of their use of social media.

  5. 5.

    Participation in associations and parties:

Table 4 Respondents’ responses according to the change in the cultural identity component of community participation.

Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) stated that their participation in associations and parties had increased in light of social media utilization.

  1. A.

    Affiliation component:

The results (Table 5) showed the following:

  1. 1.

    Follow-up to the national team matches:

    Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) stated that their follow-up to the national team matches had increased in light of their use of social media.

  2. 2.

    Buying Egyptian products even if their quality is lower:

    Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) stated that their purchase of Egyptian products had not changed in light of their use of social media.

  3. 3.

    Boycotting the products of any country that harms Egypt:

    Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) stated that their boycott of the products of countries offensive to Egypt had not changed in light of their use of social media.

  4. 4.

    Feeling of sacrificing one’s life in order to preserve the homeland:

    Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) reported that their feeling of sacrificing for the sake of the homeland had not changed in light of their use of social media.

  5. 5.

    Thinking about traveling abroad and emigrating:

Table 5 Respondents’ responses according to the change in the cultural identity component of Affiliation.

Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) stated that their thinking about traveling abroad had not changed in light of their use of social media.

  1. A.

    Component of time respect:

The results (Table 6) showed the following:

  1. 1.

    Organizing the time:

    Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) stated that their time management had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  2. 2.

    Paying attention to waking up early:

    Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) reported that their keenness to wake up early had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  3. 3.

    Paying attention to use time in everything that is useful:

    Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (70%) stated that their eagerness to use time in all that is useful had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  4. 4.

    Commitment to appointments with others:

    Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) stated that their commitment to appointments with others had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  5. 5.

    Postponing today’s work until tomorrow:

Table 6 Respondents’ responses according to the change in the cultural identity component of time respect.

Three-quarters of the respondents (75%) reported that their postponement of today’s work until tomorrow had increased in light of social media utilizing.

  1. A.

    Freedom component:

Results (Table 7) showed the following:

  1. 1.

    Expressing opinion freely:

    All respondents (100%) reported that their free expression of their opinion had increased in light of their use of social media.

  2. 2.

    Discussing issues and events with colleagues and friends:

    All respondents (100%) reported that their discussion of issues and events with colleagues and friends had increased in light of their use of social media.

  3. 3.

    Claiming rights through legitimate means:

    All respondents (100%) reported that their demand for their rights through legitimate means had increased in light of their use of social media.

  4. 4.

    Friendship with people of other religions:

    Half of the respondents (50%) stated that their friendship with people of other religions had increased in light of their use of social media.

  5. 5.

    Criticizing development programs and policies:

Table 7 Respondents’ responses according to the change in the cultural identity component of freedom.

All respondents (100%) reported that their criticism of development programs and policies had increased in light of social media utilization.

  1. A.

    Component of family cohesion:

The results (Table 8) showed the following:

  1. 1.

    Paying attention to eat with the family:

    Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (70%) stated that their eagerness to eat with the family had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  2. 2.

    Paying attention to allocate time to discuss family matters:

    Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (70%) stated that their eagerness to allocate time to discuss family matters had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  3. 3.

    Watching football matches with the family:

    Nearly half of the respondents (45%) stated that their eagerness to watch football matches with the family had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  4. 4.

    Paying attention to know the affairs of all family members:

    More than a third of the respondents (35%) stated that their eagerness to know the affairs of all family members had decreased in light of their use of social media.

  5. 5.

    Standing by any family member in times of crisis:

Table 8 Respondents’ responses according to the change in the cultural identity component of family cohesion.

All respondents (100%) stated that their standing next to any family member in times of crisis had not changed in light of their use of social media.

In order to determine the level of change in the components of cultural identity in general, the results (Table 9) showed that two-fifths of the respondents (40%) had a high level of change in the components of cultural identity in light of their use of social media.

Table 9 Distribution of respondents according to the level of change in the components of cultural identity as a whole.

Fourthly: The relationship between the independent variables of the respondents and the degree of their cultural identity

The first statistical hypothesis indicates that there is no connection between some of the social, economic, and communication characteristics of rural people: age, gender, educational status, marital status, number of family members, occupation, family monthly income, number of years of social media utilizing, of hours number utilizing social media sites daily, the number of sites used in social networks, and finally the means of accessing social networking sites and the degree of their cultural identity.

To test the validity of this hypothesis, the simple correlation coefficient was used for variables of continuous type, and chi-square for variables of nominal type, and the results (Table 10) showed the following:

  • There is a positive relationship at a significant level of 0.01 between the age of the respondents and the degree of their cultural identity, and the calculated value of the simple correlation coefficient is (0.396), which is greater than its tabular counterpart.

  • There is a positive relationship at a significant level of 0.01 between the number of family members and the degree of their cultural identity, and the calculated simple correlation coefficient value is (0.147), which is greater than its tabular counterpart.

  • There is a positive relationship at a significant level of 0.01 between the monthly income of the respondents and the degree of their cultural identity, and the calculated value of the simple correlation coefficient is (0.264), which is greater than its tabular counterpart.

  • There is a significant relationship at a significant level of 0.01 between the gender of the respondents and the degree of their cultural identity, and the value of the chi-square is (122.648), which is greater than its tabular counterpart.

  • There is a significant relationship at a significant level of 0.01 between the educational status of the respondents and the degree of their cultural identity, and the value of the chi-square is (656.725), which is greater than its tabular counterpart.

  • There is a significant relationship at a significant level of 0.01 between the marital status of the respondents and the degree of their cultural identity, and the value of the chi-square is (620.437), which is greater than its tabular counterpart.

  • There is a significant relationship at a significant level of 0.01 between the respondents’ profession and the degree of their cultural identity, and the value of the chi-square is (1314.019), which is greater than its tabular counterpart.

  • There is a significant relationship at a significant level of 0.01 between the means of accessing social networking sites and the degree of their cultural identity, and the value of the chi-square is (126.304), which is greater than its tabular counterpart.

Table 10 Values of the simple correlation coefficient and Chi-Square test between each of the studied independent variables of the respondents and the degree of their cultural identity.

Based on these results, the previous statistical hypothesis could not be rejected entirely, but could only be rejected with respect to some variables, i.e. age, number of family members, income, gender, educational status, marital status, profession, means of access to social networking sites, and the possibility of accepting the alternative theoretical hypothesis for these variables.

The positive relationship between age and the degree of change in cultural identity can be explained by the fact that a person’s age, in light of his use of social media and increased exposure to it, makes him more affected than others by it and its repercussions in relation to cultural identity, especially the components of language, respect for time, family cohesion and social participation.

Regarding affirmative relationship among both of family members’ number and the cultural identity degree, it might be clarified that the larger the family size, the more problems and concerns it has, and therefore, in light of the use of social media and the increase in exposure to it, this leads to affecting the components of cultural identity, especially the components of language, respect for time, family cohesion, and social participation.

As for the positive relationship between monthly income and the cultural identity degree, it maybe is illustrated that the higher the income, the more it is reflected in the ability of people to financially immerse themselves in technology and its applications, especially social media, and thus lead to affecting the components of cultural identity, especially the language components, time respect, family cohesion, and social participation.

As for the significant relationship between gender and the degree of change in cultural identity, it can be explained that females mostly, especially in the research sample, have more free time than males, which gives them the opportunity to increase their social media utilizing, and therefore their cultural identity degree with its various components is more subject to change than males.

As for the significant relationship between educational status and the degree of change in the cultural identity, it can be explained that those with higher educational qualifications are more open to technology and social media, and therefore the degree of their cultural identity with its various components is more vulnerable to change than less educated people.

As for the significant relationship between marital status and the degree of change in cultural identity, it can be explained by the fact that married people are often exposed to more living pressures, and therefore social media represents for them as a primary haven to escape from these pressures, and therefore the degree of their cultural identity with its various components is more vulnerable to change than others.

As for the significant relationship between the profession and the degree of change in cultural identity, it can be explained that there are professions that require more use of the Internet and technology, and therefore the degree of cultural identity with its different components for people with these professions is more vulnerable to change than others.

As for the significant relationship between the means of accessing social networking sites and the degree of change in cultural identity, it can be explained that for people who use both mobile phones in addition to computers, the degree of their cultural identity with its various components is more vulnerable to change than people who use mobile phones only or Computers only.

Fifth: The relative contribution of the studied independent variables in explaining the total variance in the degree of cultural identity of the respondents

The second statistical hypothesis states that “there is no relative contribution of the studied independent variables in explaining the total variance in the degree of the cultural identity of the respondents.” And to test the validity of this hypothesis, the multiple regression correlation analysis model was used, and through (Table 11) the results showed that there are four variables that collectively contribute to the explanation of this variance by 43.7%, which are the variables of profession, age, gender, and monthly income, this contribution was significant, as the calculated “F” values for the significant contribution amounted to 127.77, 101.25, 79.65, and 7.74, all of which were significant at the 0.01 probability level, which means the importance of these four studied variables in the degree of the cultural identity of the respondents.

Table 11 The relative contribution of the studied independent variables in explaining the total variance in the degree of change in the cultural identity of the respondents.

Sixth: The positives and drawbacks of utilizing social media, according to respondents’ opinion

As for the positive effects of social media, the results (Table 12) showed the following: Facilitating rapprochement and knowing the news came in the first rank with a percentage of 89.1%, and then came in the second rank to help in charitable work such as searching for missing children with a rate of 86.9%, Then in the third rank it helps to know the behavior of the people living in my village with a percentage of 84.7%, then in the fourth rank it helps in mobilizing public opinion on public issues with a percentage of 75.2%, and then in the fifth rank it helps in searching for cultural and religious matters with a percentage of 73%, and then in the sixth rank to benefit from it in searching for job opportunities by 69.1%, then in the seventh rank paying bills electronically easily with a rate of 65.5%, then in the eighth rank it is a good way to have fun and spend time by 64.2%, then in the ninth and last rank, developing skills and displaying talents to others to prove oneself, with a percentage of 56.4%.

Table 12 The positive and negative effects of social media from the respondents’ point of view.

As for the negative effects of social media, the results (Table 12) showed the following: wasting time and inability to organize came in the first rank with a percentage of (83.6%), then in the second rank it increases the spread of negative values and corruption of morals by (74.7%), then in the third rank the development of laziness and lethargy among individuals by (71.1%), then in the fourth rank weakens direct communication skills by (65.3%), then in the fifth rank is a falsification of information by (63.3%), and then in the sixth rank is an addiction to its use by (58). %), then in the seventh and last rank is neglect in religious rites, such as establishing prayer, at a rate of (55%).

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