The Influence of Groupthink on Culture and Conflict in Twitter

The Influence of Groupthink on Culture and Conflict in Twitter

Godfrey A. Steele (The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago) and Niekitta Zephyrine (The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3784-7.ch009

Abstract

Groupthink puts pressure on individuals to conform to social norms, but anonymity has been found to reduce or lessen such influence. Apart from anonymity, the significance of the topic and self-censorship may or may not contribute to the influence of groupthink. Groupthink has been studied in the context of social media using various approaches, but to date it remains unclear how much and to what extent it influences the conflict among users within this cultural context. This chapter describes approaches to studying the influence of groupthink on the users of an open social media platform (e.g., Twitter) and proposes a methodology for conducting a study. Using data from a selected hashtag, it reports on the application of theory to research, considers the role and influence of groupthink, and discusses the implications of the findings for reconceptualizing approaches to the study of new media.
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Background

A Review of the Groupthink Literature in Newer Media Settings

Overview

This chapter presents the outcomes of conducting a keyword search of groupthink, social networking sites (SNS), culture, conflict and related terms in selected databases in communication, focusing on Twitter. The rationale for focusing on Twitter is based on the growing prevalence and use of Twitter as a social diary and as a popular site for intercultural connection and conflict interaction. Twitter is a medium for intercultural connections and expressions and conflict interactions that may be integrative and disruptive. In the absence of a comprehensive review of social media since the review of scholarship on SNS (Boyd & Ellison, 2008) and later research on social networking sites spanning 2004-2015 (Meng, Martinez, Holmstrom, Chung, & Cox, 2017), there is need for an overarching theoretical framework and a method for studying SNS as an evolving aspect of new media reconceptualization in human communication. Current concepts are presented in this first section. This presentation begins with defining groupthink, its precursors or predisposing conditions, and proceeds by defining culture, intercultural connections, conflict, conflict interactions, social networking sites and Twitter.

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