Understanding the Culture of Young Internet Users in a Rapidly Changing Society

Understanding the Culture of Young Internet Users in a Rapidly Changing Society

Jessica Lichy (IDRAC Business School, Lyon Cedex, France) and Maher Kachour (IDRAC Business School, Lyon Cedex, France)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/ijthi.2014100101
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The context of this study is Internet user behaviour among young people, at a time when information and communication technologies (ICT) are rapidly transforming how individuals behave in the online environment. The intention is to provide a snapshot of Internet user behaviour, with particular reference to social networking, in order to further our understanding of the various activities pursued by young Internet users in a non-Anglophone perspective. The study uses survey method to gather data on the thoughts, experiences and behaviours of young Internet users in order to explain their online routine activities. The findings reveal the extent to which certain national differences are indeed apparent when using the Internet, suggesting that the widespread adoption of Internet technology has not generated ‘standardised' Internet user behaviour.
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The challenge of understanding the culture of young Internet users in a rapidly changing society is two-fold. It requires not only ongoing monitoring of the Internet user behaviour of this segment, but also an awareness of technological developments. This study explores the factors that determine the Internet consumption of younger Internet users, the so-called Generation Y, with reference to web 2.0 technologies. The study is set in a cross-cultural context, and thus the aim is to further our understanding of the determining factors that influence the consumption of web 2.0 technologies, particularly social networking sites (SNS).

Consumers react differently to technological change; younger tech-savvy consumers, Generation Y, seem generally more capable of embracing change and taking advantage of high-tech innovation. They are driving the pace of change, demanding more powerful technology and challenging current management thinking. This younger generation is confident, independent and goal-oriented; they will undoubtedly influence styles and trends in the business environment, while learning from the mistakes and successes of the previous generations.

Innovation in ICT (information and communication technologies) invariably produces new patterns of consumer behaviour in the online environment, in other words, new Internet user behaviour. The challenge for businesses is to develop a new approach or business model which can meet the needs and wants of consumers whose expectations and behaviour are constantly evolving. Technology and consumer behaviour have always been dynamic but the difference now is that the pace of change is accelerating, as innovation shortens product life cycles. The challenge is further magnified by the fact that today’s business environment is both global and virtual, crossing different languages and cultures. Digitization has radically changed the communication process by shifting media from mass to social. Business concepts are evolving; thus the traditional definition of a market is changing as new ICT is introduced, creating new consumer behaviour, new philosophy and new business models. New theories and models are required to help understand the complex dynamics of change within organizational networks seeking to harness the power of modern ICT. More specifically, much of what is taught in business schools today is likely to be obsolete within the following eighteen months or less.

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