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Cultural Differences in Friendship Network Behaviors: A Snapchat Case Study

by   Agrima Seth, et al.
University of Michigan
Snap Inc.

Culture shapes people's behavior, both online and offline. Surprisingly, there is sparse research on how cultural context affects network formation and content consumption on social media. We analyzed the friendship networks and dyadic relations between content producers and consumers across 73 countries through a cultural lens in a closed-network setting. Closed networks allow for intimate bonds and self-expression, providing a natural setting to study cultural differences in behavior. We studied three theoretical frameworks of culture - individualism, relational mobility, and tightness. We found that friendship networks formed across different cultures differ in egocentricity, meaning the connectedness between a user's friends. Individualism, mobility, and looseness also significantly negatively impact how tie strength affects content consumption. Our findings show how culture affects social media behavior, and we outline how researchers can incorporate this in their work. Our work has implications for content recommendations and can improve content engagement.


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