Like many technologically proficient and wealthy countries, the usage of social-networking sites (SNS) is becoming increasingly popular in Japan. This is especially true among young people who use these services not only for communication but also entertainment through the numerous features they provide like photo editing and adding character figures to video. While Japanese people enjoy using SNS, some individuals struggle to share personal information due to cultural reasons. For example, many Japanese hesitate to share pictures of trips abroad or even posts written in English as it can be seen as flaunting. This can pose a problem for Japanese students of English who want to utilize SNS for informal learning. To explore this phenomenon, the researcher examined the effect of Japanese culture on SNS usage and its impact on informal English-language study. Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, the researcher collected data at three Japanese universities by means of a survey instrument and group interviews. Four dimensions of culture and SNS usage were explored: (1) self-confidence and flaunting, (2) cultural contradictions and tensions, (3) perceived barriers to usage, and (4) perceived advantages of the platform for language learning. The goal of this research was to identify various aspects of cultural tension in SNS usage and utilize this information to reduce barriers to adoption of the medium for English-language study. While the focus of this research was on the Japanese context, this presentation will be of interest to anyone interested in utilizing SNS for language learning in a multi-cultural context.
Megumi Kohyama, Doshisha University, Japan
This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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