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Use of Social Media and Mobile Technologies

Useof Social Media and Mobile Technologies

Tableof Contents

Introduction 3

Durham City Background Information 4

Literature Review 5

Case Study Analysis 10

Research Method 12

Data Collection 12

of the Findings 13

Discussion 16

Conclusion 18

Recommendations 20

Reference List 21

Appendix 26

Questionnaire 26

of Results 28

Useof Social Media and Mobile Technologies

CaseStudy of Durham City

Introduction

Theuse of social media and mobile technologies has revolutionized theway people communicate and interact. They have also created a newspace for freedom of expression and exchange of ideas. Cities likeDurham have leveraged on these technologies to foster theiractivities and attract more investors (Abou El-Seoud et al., 2015).Durham has accounts in a wide range of social media platforms thatinclude Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, andInstagram. The significance of using social media in the city coupledup by the use of mobile technologies is that, the local authoritiesare able to facilitate communication and the interaction of touristsand local people (Wohn and Bowe, 2016). There is no doubt that overthe last five years, the technologies have allowed the locals tofreely express themselves and disseminate their views on variousissues that touch on their lives (Akyazı and Aslan, 2014).

Froma political perspective, the internet is significant particularly tothe Durham City as it provides a viable opportunity for human rightsadvocates, environmental protectionists, and other lobby groups todefend civil liberties and environmental protection strategies (Arac,2011). Further, the city’s large population can be reached in realtime with the least possible cost incurred (Kozel, 2010). At the sametime, the use of social media and mobile technologies in the cityhave been used facilitate the learning process, and this isparticularly the case when students and tutors are able to accessmassive data correlating to their learning process (Barati andZolhavarieh, 2012).

Overthe years the ability of social media and mobile technologies hasbeen exhibited in various parts of the world (Bhaskar et al., 2013).The latest example is the revolutions that happened in the Arab worldand more specifically in Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and Egypt. In thesecountries the demonstrators used social media to communicate andorganize their activities. The willingness of the prevailinggovernments to block the use of social media exhibited that theplatform was a threat to the oppressing regimes (Couldry, 2015). Thetenacity of social movements in various parts of the world continuesto demonstrate that social networked technologies play a criticalrole in harnessing progress in the society (Akeriwa, Penzhorn andHolmner, 2014). Typically, in a city, social media plays a role of anorganizational tool where people will meet virtually and organize anevent the essence of this approach is that more people will beinvolved, time will be saved and it will be convenient and reliable(Boase, 2013).

Unlikethe social communities found physically in the city, the use ofsocial media is a technology mediated that does not require any formof physical interaction (Elfaki et al., 2012). Digital socialnetworking sites are mainly operated and confined to the internet.Social media and mobile technologies affect social, emotional andcognitive development of the youths in Durham City. The localresidents and tourists can be able to share huge amounts ofinformation relating to the city (Wohn and Bowe, 2016). Since theinception and adoption of social media and mobile based applicationslike Google Map, and Google Earth, Durham City has registered ahigher number of tourists visiting over the last five years (Croftonand Parker, 2012). Thus, the use of social media and mobiletechnologies has catalyzed or enhanced the city’s operations takinginto account social, cultural, economic, political and environmentalspheres.

Durham CityBackground Information

DurhamCity is located in the Northeast England, South of Newcastle andfounded as a historic city in the region. The city lies on river Wearand was founded over the resting place of St. Cuthbert and it becamea centre of pilgrimage in medieval England. The name Durham comesfrom Celtic term “dun” which means a hill fort, and the Old Norse“holme” that is translated to mean island. According to the localauthorities the region is a significant contributor to the grossdomestic product thanks to its agricultural, industrial and tourismactivities. On average the city contributes about 5,314 millionBritish Pounds to the national economy each year.

Theadvantage of the city stems from different factors. First, the cityhas the necessary resources to undertake agricultural activities. Ithas a river that flows through and forming a peninsula. Second, thecity is an historic site which means that it attracts millions oftourists each year. Third, the city has a strategic governanceframework that has spearheaded its transformations over the pastyears (Evans, 2014). Fourth, it has dedicated residents who strive toimprove the economic, social and political foundations of the city.Finally, the city has a well designed and improved approach onadoption of technology. The city has a well designed website meant toprovide information to both locals and visitors and at the same timeits website is linked to the different social media profiles managedby the communication or public relations department (Evans, 2014).More importantly, there has been a phenomenon increase in the use ofmobile devices in the city just like in other parts of the country.Accessibility to Smartphone’s and the internet has been high enoughto guarantee constant use of social media networks and mobile basedtechnologies (Jovanovic, Antic and Cvetanovic, 2013).

Literature Review

Socialnetworking sites provide an interactive platform that provides anavenue for the users to communicate with other members in order toshare information and knowledge in real time (Mosorov, Biedron andPanskyi, 2015). Social networking sites encompass such information asname, age, marital status, gender and other directly linkedinformation of a person (Fox and Bird, 2015). These sites are webbased communication platforms and are mainly facilitated by emails,instant messaging offline messages and posting of images and pictures(Nik nazli, Sipon and Norwawi, 2016). Since the nature of interactionbetween people on social media is mainly accorded to only registeredpeople, then it can be viewed as a community centered interactiveservice (Wohn and Bowe, 2016). In Durham City social media hasenabled easy sharing of pictures, events and interests among thepeople and this is evident on the city’s platform characterized bydifferent images of sites to visit in the city. The use of socialmedia has been catalyzed by the invention of small and portabledevices that enhance reliability and convenience. It is common to seepeople take “selfies” and post them on social media sites. At thesame time, social media calling features offer a cost effective andreliable approach to enhance communication (Boase, 2013).

Theadvent of computer based telecommunication and integration withsocial media has facilitated communication and social interactionamong residents. Moreover, the efforts to improve social networkinghave been concentrated on improving interactive features (Islam andGul, 2012). The use of chat rooms and other related featuresencourages users to share personal information and knowledge throughpersonal web pages. This has led to the development of easy to usepublishing features enabling users to post and share and posts theirimages for free. The online community mainly constitute of familymembers, friends, and classmates or other community members (Friedmanand Friedman, 2013). The use of social media platforms is extensivein the city as both government organizations and privateorganizations use emails, Facebook, and LinkedIn to allow usersinteract with the companies and search for credible persons to jointhe required workforce (Juszczyk, 2015). There is no doubt that theuse of social media has flourished and become an integrativemainstream that allows people to communicate (Kozel, 2010).

Communicatingby using social networking sites offers people with a better chanceof meeting old friends, family members and making new friends. Thisis possible by expressing themselves as though they were in the realworld. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace andLinkedIn enable users to post anything that conforms to their ideas(Sundari, 2014). However, while people post their images, it isparamount to clarify whether the images reflect the true illustrationof the sites visited in the city or the personalities of the peoplethemselves. The reason to justify the exchange of images on theDurham City is to ensure that honesty and truthfulness isascertained. Often times, the use of social media are not guided byany specific laws or regulations and this gives a chance to eitherlie or give unreliable information (Geber, Scherer and Hefner, 2016).This explains why the city of Durham has to install a system thatdoes not misguide visitors or tourists. Studies show that users ofsocial media tend to create their own avatars in the description oftheir identity (Gomez, 2014). Although the use of social mediaenhances effective communication, it may pose a security threatprivacy and confidentiality threats are some of the major issuesassociated with the use of social media. Though the use of theplatforms may pose a security concern, they satisfy the needs of thepeople.

Theinteraction through the use of social networking sites provides anavenue to users to freely express themselves. These social sites havean open access that enables valid account users to foster theirexperiences and communication. The willingness to interact and makenew friends is always optional and depends on individual users(Karakiza, 2015). This is more important especially if people wouldwant to protect their privacy. Over the years, Durham city hasillustrated numerous instances of security breaches among its people.These concerns have reduced the use of online interaction especiallywhen unknown users are involved (Kim, Sin and He, 2013). Cityresidents have a freedom to demonstrate and share their feelings orknowledge since it is freedom of expression and speech is one of thefundamental rights protected by the constitution (Farman, 2015).Therefore, if socialization was to be enhanced through the use ofnetworking sites and mobile based applications, it is paramount tounderstand the agents of socialization in a bid to facilitate onlineinteraction in the Durham City (Liu et al., 2011).

Socializationis the process through which people learn and participate in aculture, and is grouped into two: primary and secondary. Primarysocialization denotes a situation where agents are involved in theprocess of learning attitude, value and action of other members andconfinement to family circles. Secondary socialization on the otherhand takes into perspective learning the behaviors of a small groupin a larger society, and it is primarily linked to younger adults(Kozel, 2010). An example of a case of secondary socialization isentering in a new career and relocation to a new environment. Thereis no doubt that the agents of socialization lead to the developmentand help in upbringing of young adults via social networking sites.The use of the social sites and mobile based applications is meant tofoster the establishment of social ties in Durham city (Lorenzana,2016).

Socialmedia and mobile technologies have specific features in terms ofdifferent characteristics that denote: informational, relational, andexperiential factors. Technologies that serve informational functionshave the ability to foster the distribution, collection andproduction of knowledge and essential media content (Pushina, 2016).These technologies enhance the provision of information to the userscan be used in the search for, reading and posting information andother related materials that include research and development. Thismeans that if tourists wanted to visit Durham city, they will simplysearch for all information that is linked to the city (Softic, 2012).However, in order for such information to be available, it must havebeen posted by the relevant authorities. Thus, this explains why theauthorities in Durham city are continuously adopting differentstrategies to harness easy access to information.

Relationalfunctions denote the focus on people’s social goals and this takesinto perspective those technologies whose primary function is tofacilitate social network development, establishment of socialidentities, and engagement in conversations or dialogues with otherpeople in the society (Sundari, 2014). Finally, there are theexperiential factors that emphasize the online experience of thepeople attained through interactive and self-directed means. In thiscase the category of technologies serving includes the online forums,blogs, web tools and interactive games. A wide range of web 2.0 andsocial media networks possess these important features that aresignificant in positively impacting either one or more of thesefunctionalities (Tayebi, 2013). It is important to note thatexperiential, relational, and informational functions are notmutually exclusive and this is an important factor to illustrateflexibility, and a range of ways that social media and mobiletechnologies can be combined to enhance interaction.

Figure1: App Usage

Astudy conducted in various institutions of higher learningillustrated that most students tend to use mobile applications thatenable them access social media platforms. The study goes further toestablish that these mobile apps are extensively used in listening tomusic, view social media sites and other networking sites (Barati andZolhavarieh, 2012). The significance of relying on such apps ispegged on the precept of reliability, efficiency and convenience.

Case Study Analysis

Socialmedia and mobile technologies have become essential in the City ofDurham. They are significant approaches of communication andinteraction between the people themselves and the people and theinternational community. In fact, if one wants to know anything aboutthe City of Durham, the best place is always to look it up on socialmedia or any web 2.0 framework (Young, 2012). Durham manages varioussocial media accounts and on various social media networks. Some ofthe major network platforms used by the city include:

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • You Tube

  • Pinterest

  • Instagram

  • Google +

DurhamRegion Health Department (DRHD) is one of the major organizations inthe local authority that use social media to communicate with thepeople and provide factual and timely health information. DRHDFacebook account has over 500 likes. Just like DRHD, Durham CountyOffice runs a Facebook account that has more than 700 likes. TheNorth East England city constantly posts on its Facebook account anylatest trend that ought to be released to the public. Further, DurhamCity and DRHD have twitter accounts that have been operational forover five years and have over 1,600 followers. Pegged on the need touse the social media, Durham City authorities and residents believethat the platform provides an effective way to inform and engage thepublic on critical issues (O`Shaughnessy, Stadler and O`Shaughnessy,2008). In order to identify the needs of the public, it is criticalto first understand the public and ensure that provision of the rightcontent is spearheaded.

TheNortheast England city is one of the most populous cities in theregion. The city of Durham is depicted as one of the largest in theregion. Based on the 2010 census, the region registered a populationof about 267,587. Since the previous decade, the population has grownby more than 41,500 people which represent 20% increase. Much of thepopulation growth occurred in the city that grew from 187,035 toabout 228,330 between 2000 and 2010, and this represents an increaseof about 22%. By the end of 2015, it was depicted that the populationhad reached 293,492. Further, during the same period the populationgrew to about 252,800 people. Moreover, the city expanded in sizefrom 98 square miles to 106 square miles by the end of 2010. Based onthe latest study conducted in mid-2016, it was established that thecity had expanded to 110.5 square miles. The figure below shows aline graph representing the population of Durham City. From thefigure it is imperative to note that there is a continued increase inthe population in the county and more especially in the city (Pirkeret al., 2015).

Thesteady population growth the continued development of technologynecessitates the need to come forth with better communicationsystems. This particularly explains why the people in the region haveresorted to the use of the social media networks and mobile basedapplications (Rupnik, Krisper and Bajec, 2004). The strategy is toensure that efficiency, reliability, and timeliness is attained inthe communication process.

Figure2: Durham City Population

Research Method

Aqualitative research methodology was used in the research withdescriptive analysis techniques playing a key role in analyzing thecollected data. A qualitative research methodology sufficed as thebetter approach that will take advantage of the wide range ofresearches already conducted on the use of social media and mobiletechnologies in the society. A random sampling technique was used tofind the sample population to be used to determine the use of socialmedia and mobile technologies in Durham City (Southerton, 2011). Thisis an essential approach to avoid biasness and ensure that therespondents were fairly selected.

Data Collection

Inorder to establish the use of social media and mobile technologies inDurham City a survey was conducted. A sample population of 50 peoplewas used, and all the people involved in the study were residentsaged 18 years and above. The questionnaires were sent to randomlyselected respondents. Emails and social media platforms were used aschannels of transmission of questionnaires and contacting therespondents whenever follow-ups were made.

Summary of theFindings

84%of the respondents said that they used the internet. From the surveythere was no difference between the males and female respondents.This showed that gender was not a major consideration in the use ofthe internet (Southerton, 2011). Further, it was established thatyounger people mainly used the internet more as opposed to the olderrespondents. Younger respondents aged below 45 years registered 92%those aged less than 65 registered 56%. Income was a factor in theuse of the internet as those earning higher income registeredconstant use of the internet. At the same time, more educated peopleused the internet more. In general, it was established that the useof the internet was high in the city.

Gender

Percentage

Male

85

Female

83

Age

18-24

100

25-44

98

45-64

92

Over 65

56

Income

Less than $30,000

60

$30,000 – $69,999

81

$70,000 – $99,999

91

$100,000 and above

99

Education

Below high school

40

High school

80

Post – secondary

94

Table1: Use of the Internet

Whenit came to the use of the internet for service inquiry includinghealthcare access information, about 90% of the female respondentsdepicted that the internet was a proper platform to harness access toservices in the city, 78% males used the internet to access servicesin the city. From the data, there was no big difference in the agegroups and income levels.

Gender

Percentage

Male

70

Female

90

Age

18-24

76

25-44

91

45-64

85

Over 65

81

Income

Less than $30,000

82

$30,000 – $69,999

81

$70,000 – $99,999

88

$100,000 and above

92

Education

Below high school

69

High school

79

Post – secondary

89

Table2: Service Inquiry and Use of Internet

About51% of the respondents asserted that they used social media. Some ofthe prominent platforms used by the respondents include Facebook,Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. Those respondents who did not use socialmedia amounted to about 16% of the respondents and these are thosewho did not use the internet, and there were about 33% of therespondents who used the internet and not used social media. Whilethere was no huge difference between genders in the use of socialmedia, age was a major factor as many of the people who used socialmedia were the younger respondents (Stefka and Zakova, 2016). As ageincreased, the use of social media declined immensely. From thestudy, the youngest age group (18-24) registered the highestproportion in the use of social media. The use of social media wasalso evidenced in people with high income margins as compared to lowincome margins. Similarly, highly educated people used social mediamore as opposed to less educated respondents.

Gender

Percentage

Male

46

Female

56

Age

18-24

100

25-44

79

45-64

49

Over 65

22

Income

Less than $30,000

29

$30,000 – $69,999

49

$70,000 – $99,999

61

$100,000 and above

62

Education

Below high school

19

High school

49

Post – secondary

58

Table3: Age, Income, and Education in Internet Use

Furtherinformation was sought to establish which social media platform wasused by majority of the respondents. Based on the responsescollected, Facebook and YouTube were mainly used by the respondentsin the city. Twitter, Pinterest and Blogs followed in that order.Females were found to use Facebook more as opposed to malerespondents. Males on the other hand inclined towards the use ofYouTube more as compared to the females. Gender difference was notevident in the use of Twitter or Blogs.

YouTube

74

Male

80

Female

71

Facebook

88

Male

78

Female

94

Pinterest

19

Male

10

Female

30

Twitter

23

Female

23

Male

23

Blogs

17

Male

18

Female

17

Table4: Social Media Platforms

Whenasked whether the respondents had internet enabled devices, there was84% response that all respondents had internet enabled devices. Infact, all the respondents who accessed the internet asserted thatthey constantly used their devices to access the internet. Only 16%of the respondents said that they did not have internet enabledmobile devices. The data shows that there is massive breakthrough inthe distribution of smart devices in the city, and these devices haveenhanced access to the internet (Steiner, 2012).

Discussion

Socialmedia and mobile technologies are significant tools in communicationin the city of Durham. As established the city has constantlyutilized the social media platforms and mobile technologies toenhance its operations. With a population of over two hundredthousand, and a constant flow of tourists and other visitors, thecity authorities have devised a strategy that enhances theinteraction between the people and the visitors (Sulisworo, Ishafitand Firdausy, 2016). With its social media platforms, Durhamencourages real time communication and exchange of beneficialcomplaints. A part from the city of Durham authorities, differentstakeholders like the DRHD has employed the use of social media tofacilitate communication. Social media and mobile based technologiesare easily accessible, reliable and convenient to use due toconformity with a large number of people in the city.

Someof the major hotels in the city include Millennium Hotel, 21c MuseumHotel, and The Durham hotel. All these hotels have a social mediaaccount, a website and some have gone an extra mile and developedmobile based applications to foster easy access to the markets.Through their mobile phones, customers can make reservations and atthe same time pay for any booking (Sunita and Priyam, 2016). This isa simple and easy way of accessing services in the hospitalityindustry for both the locals and visitors, thanks to the rampant useof mobile technologies and social media networks. Durham City’sFacebook page has a wide range of information that ranges from thetourist attraction sites, the services offered in the city and thecontacts in case one wants to reach out for help or make an inquiry.Moreover, the city showcases its prowess in various activitiesranging from healthcare delivery services to the disaster and quickresponse teams. Such kind of information is beneficial to potentialinvestors and visitors to the city (Wankel and Wankel, 2011).

Fromthe study it was established that age is a major factor in the use ofthe internet and particularly in the use of social media. A review ofthe online social networking platforms by the youth show that socialnetworking profiles take into perspective the creation andmaintaining of personal internet sites that allow users to postcontent and create personal networks. The youths who are a majorityof the users of social networking sites often voice their concernsthrough the use of the platform. According to a study conducted byWikström and Ellonen (2012) on the use of social networking sitesamong the youths illustrates that content posted by the youthscontain candid, self-disclosure, and intimate information that can beanalyzed and used to create a picture of the behavior of the youthsin the region.

Educationis a major factor in the use of the internet. More educated peopleunderstand the essence of the internet and often have a reason to usethe internet. This is particularly true for the working class peoplewho have to constantly reply to mails or messages and interact withtheir clients. Thus, it can be concluded that the use of the internetis a fundamental tool in Durham City just like in other parts of theworld. Further, the income margin spells the level of access to theinternet (Tewari and Pathak, 2015). People with a higher incomemargin are able to purchase or pay for internet subscriptions ascompared to those earning low income. The difference between the twogroups is illustrated by the issues of budgetary allocations (deSouza e Silva, 2013). Further, rich people tend to visit differentplaces after a given period of time, thus, they are often searchingfor new destination on the internet for their next holiday.

Conclusion

Thenew communication technologies in the society have immensely changedthe way people interact and have created a higher level of freedom ofexpression than never before. The uses of social media and mobiletechnologies have enabled people to disseminate their views andopinions on the way issues are addressed in Durham city. From apolitical perspective, the internet has provided an avenue which issignificantly important to the people of Durham in a bid to expresstheir freedom of expression. Moreover, the local authoritiesfacilitate this expression by allowing the people to comment and makeposts on the city’s social media profiles. Thus, based on theassessment of the population of Durham City, it is imperative toconclude that there is a wide usage of mobile technologies and socialmedia platforms. However, this has not grown as much among the olderpeople in the society.

Failureof the older people to fully correlate to the use of the internetquestions their role or involvement in running the affairs of thecity. To a larger extent, older people are mainly concerned or impacta useful force in the running of the affairs of any local government.Unlike the old people, younger people are mainly concerned withissues that involve entertainment, socialization, and trending topicswhich may not suffice as viable factors in the control of theoperations of the city. According to Akeriwaet al. (2014), the use of social media has impacted virtually everyindustry in the society. The researchers argue that the role ofsocial media has surpassed expectations as more and more people aligntheir operations to the use of the platforms. Through social media,cities like Durham can advertise their services and illustrate thedifferent tourist landscapes and other essential activities.

Traveland tourism depend heavily on the use of word of mouth in spreadingopinions and recommendations. Twitter, Facebook, and other relatedplatforms allow people to easily share trip information andsuggestions on the most amazing attraction sites. Unlike thetraditional media, social media is aggregated and produced by thepublic. It provides a distributed mechanism of the content. Further,it includes written publications, video segments, and any audio clipsposted on the social media platform. Some of the major social mediaoutlets include blogging, content sharing, social networks,professional networks and social bookmarking among many others. Theinternet has made cities and companies accountable for their actionsin terms of polices and regulations. With such websites as TripAdvisor, consumers are able to access information that could not havebeen accessed without the internet.

Thecity of Durham is one particular example of a success rollout ofsocial media and mobile based applications as primary methods ofcommunication. Through its current communication framework, the cityis able to harness large scale communication – this is to mean thatit is able to reach a large population in real time. Similarly, whenit comes to the use of its resources and advertisements of itstourist attraction sites, the city has immensely improved andsuccessfully tapped into tourism as an income generation activity.However, more still needs to be done to draw more people to the useof the social media platform, and this is particularly the case whenit comes to the old people, low income earners and less educatedpeople. Every body counts in economic, social and politicaldevelopment. To a larger extent the use of social media mobile basedapplication in Durham has been positive, regardless of the existenceof such issues as privacy concerns, poor use of the internet andsecurity concerns dues to cybercrime.

Recommendations

Thestudy established that older, less educated and low income earnersrarely make use of social media platforms or mobile basedapplications. It is imperative for the local authorities to sensitivethe people on using the modern communication systems. Further, thestudy shows that use of the internet, social media and mobile basedapplications in Durham is high. However, with the continued use ofthe internet come the challenges of security or cybercrimes. Thus,the city authorities must devise policies and regulations to curbcybersecurity issues. Finally, the research focused on the use ofsocial media and mobile applications in Durham City, this means thatthe study only applies in the case of the city, thus, futureresearchers need to take a wider scope in order to come forth withconclusions on the use of social media and mobile technologies.

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AppendixQuestionnaire

  1. Do you use the internet?

Yes ( )

No ( )

  1. Please select your gender

Male ( )

Female ( )

  1. Please select your age group

18-24 ()

25-44 ()

45-64 ()

Over65 ( )

  1. What is your income range?

Lessthan $30,000 ( )

$30,000- $69,999 ( )

$70,000- $99,999 ( )

$100,000and above ( )

  1. What is your education level?

Belowhigh school ( )

Highschool ( )

Post-secondary ( )

  1. Which of the following social media site do you use often?

YouTube ()

Facebook ( )

Pinterest ( )

Twitter ()

Blogs ( )

  1. Do you have an internet enabled device?

Yes ( )

No ( )

Summary of Results

Gender

Percentage

Male

85

Female

83

Age

18-24

100

25-44

98

45-64

92

Over 65

56

Income

Less than $30,000

60

$30,000 – $69,999

81

$70,000 – $99,999

91

$100,000 and above

99

Education

Below high school

40

High school

80

Post – secondary

94

Internet enabled devices

Yes

84

No

16

YouTube

74

Male

80

Female

71

Facebook

88

Male

78

Female

94

Pinterest

19

Male

10

Female

30

Twitter

23

Female

23

Male

23

Blogs

17

Male

18

Female

17