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4-5 page paper with the required sections (such as Introduction with thesis statement, literature review, methods observations, conclusions) 

The paper should address the digital coverage of online schooling during covid-19 pandemic. Digital coverage can be sources like videos from social medias(facebook, youtube, instagram etc)and articles in the web related to the reality of online schooling during pandemic.

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Digital Ethnography

Thesis

The increased use of technological communication devices such as smartphones and tablets and increased access to internet services have transformed how mass communication is achieved. In the age of technology and the internet, social media is the primary source for disseminating information (Ahmad and Murad). Information spreads on social media very fast, reaching many people within a very short time. Given the structural organization of social media platforms, social media users often have the rights to share information and comment on other users’ shared data. In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are seeking information about COVID-19 on social media. However, there are numerous sources of COVID-19 details in social media as thousands of users spread their own versions of details, which means that the information shared could be rumors, misinformation, or disinformation (Duraisamy, Rathinaswamy, and Sengottaiyan). According toLeong, Ractham, and Pan, social mediaempowers a community in various ways, including structural, psychological, and resource empowerment. It also enhances group participation, a shared identification, and collective control measures among community members. Thus, social media has a great influence on the behavior exhibited by individuals within a community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the public is urged to engage in preventive measures to curb the virus’s spread. That includes wearing of masks, social distancing, and frequent washing of hands. How social media users portray these measures in the media platforms impacts community response to the pandemic. This ethnographic study seeks to examine whether Facebook users wear face masks.

Literature

With the unpredictable spread of COVID-19, it is necessary to understand the geographical spread of the disease. Social media platforms such as Facebook offer important means for disseminating and gathering information about the virus to enhance citizens’ safety in the United States. The establishment of Facebook AI facilitates the easy accessibility of COVID-19-related services by those in need. It also tries to direct users seeking information about COVID-19 to reliable information sources. However, in many cases, users are linked to information spaces that are not related to health and science web sites. Social media companies were initially unaccountable for the content published on their platforms, but with time, they have established ways of ensuring the reliability of the published content. Facebook engages its newsfeed function to direct users seeking information about COVID-19 by directing them to WHO and local health authorities’ websites. A Facebook user influences their friends and followers by presenting themselves physically, their public statements, arguments, or advocacies. When leaders fail to exemplify how the public should behave in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they raise issues with the measures developed (Grint). Some will react negatively as they tend to think that the measures are only meant to curtail their freedom or regard the pandemic as a conspiracy.  

Method

Facebook’s social structure includes small to larger groupings denoting communities that are defined by networks of individuals partitioned by the shared characteristics (Traud, Mucha, and Porter). Ethnographic research involves obtaining new knowledge by passive participation or observation of a phenomenon (Naidoo). This research will involve observing whether people on Facebook wear face masks, what they are posting and the discussions they are having concerning COVID-19. Purposive random sampling will be used to identify ten Facebook users who have more than fifty thousand followers and were actively engaged in COVID-19 aspects. The ten users will be observed for a period of one week.

Data and Analysis

The ten users observed posted videos and comments and shared links to information about wearing face masks. However, most of the videos which the study participants posted, which included personal recordings, showed the participants without face masks. Only two users wore face masks when they posted their videos, and even so, this was noted on only one video among many posted across the whole week. Some of the participants’ posts criticized some leaders for not wearing masks. Others criticized those who wore masks in public spaces that were not crowded. One of the participants shared a link to his friend’s story that argued against masks wearing, claiming the masks were depriving them of oxygen. This story had attracted over one thousand likes and ninety percent of the comments supported the claim. Still, others shared links and comments that reminded their friends to stay safe by wearing face masks whenever they were in public spaces.  One of the participants narrated a personal story where she had to avoid entering a store because it did not advocate wearing face masks.  

While all the participants acknowledged the necessity of wearing masks to avoid contracting COVID-19, they did not practically illustrate the need to wear them. On the contrary, the participants were quick to condemn leaders for not wearing masks. However, this observation could be explained by the space in which the users record the videos, that the participants could maintain social distance in the spaces. Some of the participants considered wearing a face mask in an area that was not crowded as an indication of having COVID-19. Facebook stories that support the hidden wishes of not wearing a mask due to the associated discomfort draw a lot of support from other Facebook users. However, it is necessary to understand that such negative publicity encourages the public not to wear face masks.  The U.S. cultural war has seen some stores hindering entry to customers wearing face masks. This relates to the findings of Betsch, Korn, and Sprengholz where they indicated that voluntary mask-wearing policy results in insufficient compliance and stigmatization.   

Conclusion

The findings from the ethnographic study indicate that Facebook users influence one another on the issue of mask-wearing. That shows that social media influences behavioral changes. Wearing masks is largely an individual’s initiative. Facebook users are concerned for the safety of close friends and family members. Pro-social desires to protect the community is not the major influence for mask-wearing activism on Facebook (Banker and Park). Mandatory policy on the wearing of masks in public places is required to ensure sufficient compliance and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Works Cited

Ahmad, Araz Ramazan, and Hersh Rasool Murad. “The Impact of Social Media on Panic During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Iraqi Kurdistan: Online Questionnaire Study.” Journal of Medical Internet Research 22.5 (2020).

Banker, Sachin, and Joowon Park. “Evaluating Prosocial COVID-19 Messaging Frames: Evidence from a Field Study on Facebook.” SSRN (2020). Document.

Betsch, Cornelia, et al. “Social and behavioral consequences of mask policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.” PNAS 117.36 (2020): 21851-21853. Document.

Duraisamy, Brindha, Jayaseelan Rathinaswamy, and Kadeswaran Sengottaiyan. “Social Media Reigned by Information or Misinformation About COVID-19: A Phenomenological Study.” SSRN Electronic Journal 9.3 (2020): 585-602.

Grint, Keith. “Leadership, Management, and Command in the time of the Coronavirus.” Leadership 16.3 (2020). Document.

Leong, Carmen Mei Ling, et al. “ICT-Enabled Community Empowerment in Crisis Response: Social Media in Thailand Flooding 2011.” Journal of the Association for Information Systems 16.3 (2015). Document.

Naidoo, Loshini. “Ethnography: An Introduction to Definition and Method .” Naidoo, Loshini. An Ethnography of Global Landscapes and Corridors. London, UK: IntechOpen, 2012. 1-8. Book.

Traud, Amanda L., Peter J. Mucha, and Mason A. Porter. “Social structure of Facebook networks.” Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications 391.16 (2012): 4165-4180. Document.

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