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The data description
A study conducted in the US in 2012 to assess the impact of the social media on food culture revealed that the use of social technology has a great impact on many aspects food culture. The study aimed to determine how Americans were learning to cook, planning their meals, selecting food ingredients, and sharing their culinary knowledge with others in the society.
Half of the study participants (50%) were found to have learnt about food via social media, like Twitter and Facebook. Forty percent (40%) of the interviewees were found to have acquired information about food by visiting blogs and websites on the internet. About 47% of the participants aged between 18 and 32 years were found to rely on the internet as a source of information about food.
The data showed that individual experiences about food were being influenced by the use of the social media in the 21st century. This could imply that the culture which required individuals to learn about food from their family members is now being replaced by the use of the internet. Whereas people were traditionally considering cooking, eating, and buying opinions from their friends and family members, modern consumers are able to consider opinions of many people on the internet.
The impact of the social media is so great that even people eating at home frequently send their friends the images of their meals, influencing them what to buy, cook and/or eat in the process (Kaplan and Michael 60; Mangold and David 357). The data were chosen because the social media has been shown to impact other forms of culture. Therefore, understanding the impact of the social media on food culture could help to increase the knowledge on culture changes in the 21st century in America.
Relationship between culture and individual
The data show that the individual is playing great roles in changing food culture in the 21st century America. However, it has been found that children learn about healthy food practices from their teachers during early schooling long before they could use the internet to make their food choices. The knowledge obtained from teachers by students about food could be different from what parents could offer at home. Teachers are more knowledgeable, and they could recommend food based on nutritional components (Karrebæk 6).
Food socialization has been shown to impact children’s food culture in many ways. Cultural and personal differences determine the type of food children carry in lunch boxes. During food socialization, minority students could be influenced by the majority students on the type of food they consume. However, the persuasion by their peers could not be based on healthy food choices (Karrebæk 11). Children from rich families could eat expensive and unhealthy food for lunch.
On the other hand, children from economically average families could eat less expensive, but healthy food for their lunch at school. Children could be impacted on the foods they should consume by their teachers in school who should aim to introduce healthy food culture to their students (Karrebæk 21). However, the data on the impact of the social media on food culture show that teachers could play insignificant roles in impacting food practices to their students once they learn how to use the internet.
Relevance of the data to class readings
The data supports the general readings in class this semester. Social interaction by human beings could be defined by cultural roles and social situations. In addition, human beings have their unique ways of interacting with other people in the society. Individuals could identify personal information about the people they interact with in small societies while it could be difficult to understand personal attributes of many individuals in complex societies (Brenda 186-190).
However, the internet has changed the way people interact and learn about other persons’ personal information. Nowadays, millions of people across the world post their personal information on various sites on the internet. People could also post their food preferences alongside their personal information.
Most of the information posted by people on the internet is read by strangers (Kaplan and Michael 59). Strangers who access personal information regarding food might be influenced to practise what other people eat for their healthy lifestyles (Mangold and David 359). For example, many people could access food preferences posted by renowned individuals in the society like models, musicians, and other celebrities.
Such people could be influenced to change their food culture based on their exposure to online food information. In the 21st century America, people learn about food supplements via the internet. Food supplements are crucial at a time when there are many diseases that reduce the body’s ability to fight diseases. A food supplement is any food material with high nutritional levels. It could also contain some medicinal value for fighting diseases.
There are some people who have their personal websites that aim to educate people across the world on better and healthy food practices. Therefore, the internet acts a social platform on which food cultural changes take place. The internet has been shown to impact how modern workers behave at the workplace and their social identity (Brenda 186-190). Thus, the internet has many effects on cultural practices.
The use of the social media to bring changes in food culture could be thought to be related to some aspects of embodiment. Embodiment is based on eco-social aspects and the study of distribution of diseases (Krieger 350). Embodiment could be advanced when individuals recognize that they are both social beings and biological organisms. Social beings are programmed to interact with other beings in the society. Social media interaction is one of the interactions that advance embodiment (Krieger 350-352).
Social media platforms have been in existence for less than two decades, but they have changed many ways of life of the individual in 21st century America.
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The findings analyzed in this report are among the first to be described on changes of food culture in America in regard to the use of social media. Other cultural aspects have been shown to be affected by the adoption of the social media. The other aspects include marriages and education. The data depict that there is a lot to be studied in the future in relation to social media effects on food culture.
Further studies should aim to understand the long-term effects of food culture changes via the social media. Future studies should also aim to determine the factors that hinder people from adopting food cultural changes learnt via the social media. Understanding the factors would go a long way in adopting measures and/or strategies that would enhance individuals’ abilities to adopt healthy food practices learnt via the social media.
Brenda, Mann. “Identities, roles, and groups: [email protected]: jobs, identity, and the internet.” Conformity and conflict readings in cultural anthropology 1.1 (2012): 186-196. Print.
Kaplan, Andreas M., and Michael Haenlein. “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.” Business horizons 53.1 (2010): 59-68. Print.
Karrebæk, Martha Sif. ““What’s in Your Lunch Box Today?”: Health, Respectability, and Ethnicity in the Primary Classroom.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 22.1 (2012): 1-22. Print.
Krieger, Nancy. “Embodiment: a conceptual glossary for epidemiology.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 59.5 (2005): 350-355. Print.
Mangold, W. Glynn, and David J. Faulds. “Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix.” Business horizons 52.4 (2009): 357-365. Print.