Twitter and Cultural Context

Everything is aTwitter these days. So I decided to explore the microblogging phenomenon myself. I found it more than a bit confusing. There are all kinds of things in Twitter that you just have to learn without any direction. The cutural rules of the Twitterverse are very strong, but not very explicit. For instance the difference between @rely and direct reply matters in Twitter etiquette, but isn’t clearly stated in the site. Same with finding topics and a half dozen other things.

Which started me thinking about the cultural aspect of communication. The research shows that there are high context cultures and low context cultures. A low context culture assumes that you know very little about the background behind the communication, and provides all of that information in the communication. Low context cultures tend to segment and compartmentalize information, and they tend to devalue the cultural context of information. Swiss, German, Scandinavian, North American and Northern European cultures are all low context cultures. A high context culture is one that assumes that you understand the context of the situation, and therefore, does not provide context or background in the communication. High context cultures are very aware of the environment, situation, gestures and mood. Getting to the point is not something high context cultures do well. South American, Southern European, Arab and Asian cultures are all high context cultures.

140 character micro blogs would appear to be the apogee of the low context culture.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s