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Young People's Following Social Media Trends

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2657 words Published: 16th Oct 2017

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1.0 Abstract

In this digital era, social media plays an important role. It helps people to connect with their friends and family without geographical distance and time. Social media has changed the Malaysian sphere in all aspect of life. Yet, it also has their influences towards youth through social networking site, for example, Facebook. This research examines the reason of youth was prone to blindly follow trends on Facebook, specifically in Malaysia. Through this research, it will investigate the reason of youth follow trends blindly and how this trend affects their life or friends and family members.

2.0 Introduction

Facebook was officially established in February 2004 and it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg at the age of 20 (Phillips, 2007). Facebook, a social networking site is a second most visited website after Google, with more than half of the member checking in at least once a day (Gilsdorf, as cited in Freeman, 2011, p. 2). Facebook, announced that average referral traffic from Facebook to media sites has increased by over 170%, almost tripled, in the past year (Colwyn, 2013). It’s not only a popular trend to log in to the Facebook, it is also a way to connect people all around the world. Facebook is used to hold a closer relationship between people, friends and family members by photos and statuses uploaded on Facebook by appearing in the “Newsfeed”, which is a feature that will automatically notify user with their friends’ posts and updates (Freeman, 2011). Therefore, whenever users’ friends post status on Facebook, they can immediately receive it through their “Newsfeed”.

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However, users’ may misuse this social networking by following popular trend on Facebook. The aim of this study is to find out the reasons the youth are prone to blindly follow trends on Facebook. One of the trend that followed by the youth is committing suicide after posting status on Facebook and another trend that followed by youth is based on political news and issues. In 2010, Alviss Kong committed suicide by jumping off from 14th floor from the apartment he stayed, in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur after posting the last status, counting down on Facebook, the status at 11.15pm read “Count Down For 45mins..What should I do in this 45mins?” (Bedi, 2010). Two months after Alviss Kong committed suicide, another 17 years old school student jumped off from 2nd floor of the school building after posting a status few days before that she wanted to take back her own life (Lam, 2011). After finding out the reasons behind these cases, parents should take action and always aware with their children’s activities and social life. The strong family bonding may reduce the happening of the similar cases.

Next, youth will share news regarding politics being spread by certain parties without being filtered. The positive view of this issue is that, it encourages transparency in political field. Since the traditional media are fully being controlled by the government, the opposition spread news through new media, and one of it will be Facebook. Videos and news about politics are being spread vulgarly on Facebook and it eventually caused the Barisan Nasional (BN) to suffer unusual losses to the opposition’s parties which included the Democratic Action Party (DAP), People Justice Party (PKR) and Pan-Islamic Party (PAS) by losing the states of Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Kelantan (Muniandy & Muniandy, 2013). The negative view of this issue will be, the youth sharing unfiltered, hoax and unreliable news about politics and sometimes it is from a not reliable sources may cause chaos to the country. This trend is able to bring the interest of the youth towards politics. The youth is the one we are hoping for in the future for our country. Their interest towards politics is rather important. Nevertheless, they should be trained to know how to differentiate true and fake news and whether the sources are reliable.

3.0 Significant of Study

This study will be a significant endeavor in awareness raising among teenagers. This will prevent them to be the next victim. Besides that, it also decreases the suicide rate in Malaysia.

4.0 Research Objectives

The objectives of this study is to investigate the reasons of teenagers following Facebook’s trends blindly and how these trends will affect their future life. This may even affect their family members and people around them.

5.0 Research Questions

1. Why do they follow these trends blindly?

2. To what extent will these actions have influence their life?

6.0 Literature Reviews

Social media has branched and enrooted itself into the daily life of most people, since the advent of it. According to (Nistad, 2013), social medias are tools that can establish relationships and form interactions between people across the internet.

Facebook, is a widely popular social networking site worldwide. Based on a survey done, in Malaysia, among 98 respondents almost all of them have Facebook accounts while half of them said that they used Facebook everyday (Abdul Jalil, as cited in Muniandy & Muniandy, 2013). In the past ten years, since the establishment of Facebook, we have witnessed different types of trends on Facebook among its users in Malaysia. In this study, we aim to determine reasons why youth are prone to be influenced and tend to follow these trends blindly. The two main trends we would be looking into is the suicide trend, and another is about the trend of sharing political issues and news, even though some of it maybe hoax.

Compared to grown-ups, youths are more easily influenced into making bad decisions, and involving themselves in dangerous behaviours, because they are still naive and have a less developed mind (Scott & Steinberg, 2008). Hence, it is important that youths are always monitored for any unusual behaviours. For example, the very hot issue back then in 2010 was the suicide case of 22 year-old Malaysian youth, Alviss Kong, who jumped of the apartment building after the break-up with his girlfriend. When he posted his status on Facebook about his suicide intentions, nobody took this seriously except his sister, but he assured her that he was joking. Would things be different, if, only if his peers or even his ex-girlfriend had talked him out of it? Or maybe encouraged him that he still has a long, bright future ahead of him? Or was it the society that actually led to this tragedy? A few weeks later, another 17 year-old girl jumped off her school building after a suicidal post on her Facebook a few days earlier. Could she have been influenced by Alviss Kong’s case? Because in some comments left by young internet users, they see his actions as a “heroic” action, by ending his life dramatically, and gaining the spotlight of the society (Lim, 2010). It is these comments that actually reflect what influence Facebook has on youths today, in this case it is worrying, since many view suicide as heroic. These foolish and selfish actions of suicide brings side effects to family members of the deceived, as well as people around them. For example, Alviss Kong’s parents faced more grieved because his case was magnified, with his suicidal Facebook post. His ex-girlfriend was being blamed by certain parties for inflicting his suicidal thoughts.

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Besides that, unformed identity is also one of the reasons youths are prone to be influenced by trends on the social media like Facebook, due to the fact that those trends are created by their peers and people around them. They also easily give in to peer pressure because they are still in the journey of developing their own identity (Scott & Steinberg, 2008), and their stand in the society and political views.

In Malaysia, the opposition coalition made optimum use of social media, especially Facebook to reach out, and to disseminate their ideology to potential voters (Muniandy & Muniandy, 2013). This has helped them to win the ruling power of 5 states in Malaysia, namingly Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Perak, and Selangor, during the March 2008 General Election. Many young Facebook users tend to believe political news from Facebook because most of the traditional media is controlled or privatized, and owned by people related to Barisan National, the ruling coalition of Malaysia (Seneviratne, 2007 as cited in Muniandy & Muniandy, 2013). Of course, it is trustworthy if the news came from official pages of the opposition parties. So, when one of them starts sharing these news and issues, almost all will follow to do so because of peer influences. However, youths must be aware of fake and misleading informations, and they should be able to analyze the accuracy of a certain news, not just believing everything on Facebook without thinking wisely. Hoax may cause these youths to be too extreme in their political stand due to the fact that the unfiltered and uncensored information they are receiving on Facebook are actually created by strong supporters of either political parties. That is why, to a certain extent, it is a good that medias are filtered before sensitive informations are leaked out to the public that may cause chaos and unstabality of a country.

7.0 Methodology

To ensure this research will obtain its necessary finding, both qualitative and quantitative research will be used.

Quantitative research through survey distribution is used to obtain information. This survey will be conducted in online method as it is the most appropriate medium for mass analysis and to collect mass statistic in order to measure and acquire the needed conclusion. We have set 16 to 24 years old youth, who are the active Facebook users as our target audience. This group of target audience must have at least 1000 followers in their Facebook account because this shows they have more influence potential. We will ask the questions about the categories of the posts, photos that they shared, the averages of the ‘like’ that they gained in each post or photo, the number of followers and others. By using this method, we can analyze the data of the power of influences among the youth. We also will know the type of message that influences youth the most.

Qualitative research will also be utilized through interview to further acquire in-depth findings for this research and to obtain quality data. The respondents of this interview are randomly picked. We will ask for permission before the interview will be conducted. In this interview, we will ask them about the opinions, feelings and motives when they spreading or following the messages which they saw on Facebook. Besides, we also will ask them about how they judge or analysis the credibility of the messages on Facebook.

It is important that the qualitative interviews are used to identify and collect information regarding their experience in using Facebook. We can do analysis and find out the answer for our research.

8.0 References

Bedi, R.S. (2010, December 19) Heartbreak in Facebook world. The Star Online. Retrieved 21 March 2014 from http://www.thestar.com.my/story.aspx/?file=%2f2010%2f12%2f19%2fnation%2f7647966&sec=nation

Colwyn, S. (2013, December 3) Facebook pushing quality content to the top on its newsfeed. Retrieved 24 February 2014 from http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media- marketing/facebook-marketing/new-facebook-feature-newsfeed-content changes/

Freeman, L. K. (2011). Wall of me: Facebook self-disclosure and partner responsiveness resulting in confirmation or violation expectations and consequences for intimacy and relationships. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved 18 February 2014 from http://media.proquest.com.libezp.utar.edu.my

Lam, J. (2011, February 24) Malaysia: Suicide a Rising Problem. Global Voices. Retrieved21 March 2014 from http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/02/24/malaysia-suicide- a-rising-problem/

Muniandy, L., & Muniandy B., (2013). The impact of social media in social and poitical aspects in Malaysia: An overview. International Journals of Humanities and Social Science, 3(11), 71-75. Retrieved 21 March 2014 from http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_11_June_2013/8.pdf

Phillips, S. (2007, July 25). A brief history of Facebook. The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2007/jul/25/media.newmedia

Nistad, S. A. (2013). The Age of You: How to Understand and Benefit from Social Media and the Connected Society. Retrieved from 21 March 2014 http://books.google.com.my/books?id=Ivl03knZT14C&dq=definition+of+social+medium&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Scott, E. & Steinberg, L. (2008). Adolescent development and the regulation of youth crime. Retrieved from 21 March 2014 http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/highlights/18_02_Highlights_01.pdf

Bedi, R. S. (2010, December 19). Heartbreak in Facebook world. The Star Online. Retrieved from 21 March 2014 http://www.thestar.com.my/story.aspx/?file=/2010/12/19/nation/7647966&sec=nation

Lim, S. G. (2010). Youths lost in cyberspace. Retrieved from 21 March 2014 http://www.edvantage.com.sg/content/youths-lost-cyberspace

Muniandy, L. & Muniandy, B. (2013). The impact of social media in social and political aspects in Malaysia: An overview. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3, 11.



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