Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorStanger, Nigel
dc.contributor.advisorPearson, Erika
dc.contributor.authorAlnaghaimshi, Noorah
dc.identifier.citationAlnaghaimshi, N. (2016). Influence of non-technical elements on the choice of and engagement with social media platforms: Culture and religion and their impact on how young Saudi adults use social media (Thesis, Master of Science). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores how young Saudi Arabian social media users engage with social media platforms in relation to their social, cultural and religious values. This thesis argues that these elements influence the users’ self-presentation, level of engagement, sharing practices, online identity, and even their community’s acceptance of certain media platforms, alongside the technical and aesthetic design of the platforms. This thesis argues that these non-technical aspects of user engagement need to be considered when designing for user experience, in that they shape behaviour, expectations, and restrictions on users. This research emerged out of earlier work that suggested a gender difference in social media use and uptake by Saudi youth, which was significantly different from the general Saudi population. This research extends that earlier work by comparing social media use by gender and region within Saudi Arabia. Platforms studied are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. One key influence on Saudi culture is religion, which is, generally, an underexplored area in prior research especially in Saudi social media research. This thesis developed a religiosity scale to assess how and to what extent religious practice influences social media use and to provide a better understanding of the impact of religion as a part of culture. Other influences emerged from the religiosity scale and the wider research: those of family, friends, religious leaders and the wider culture. To further understand various aspects of cultural influence on social media use, this thesis also developed Hofstede’s ideas on collectivistic cultures and power distance. Further evidence shows that spending time in an individualistic culture has little to no bearing on cultural behaviour of members of a collectivistic culture with regards to social media use and uptake. Data collection was through cultural and religious scales, interviews, social media profile analysis and analysis of public data such as local news coverage and public Imam profiles and comment threads. From this, an overall picture of social media use in Saudi Arabia was synthesized. Female participants were recruited from across three regions in Saudi Arabia and compared with a matched group of male Saudi students living in New Zealand. This research is important because with the increasing use of social media in Saudi Arabia, it is critical to evaluate the impact of culture on the use of social media, which will help inform the design of user interfaces and tools. It will also help business and government in respect of communication and policy development, such as for privacy. This thesis includes several recommendations for both businesses and social media developers, and recommends areas for further research.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectsocial media platforms, religion, culture, collectivism, Saudi Arabia.
dc.titleInfluence of non-technical elements on the choice of and engagement with social media platforms: Culture and religion and their impact on how young Saudi adults use social media
dc.language.rfc3066en Science of Science of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
 Find in your library

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item is not available in full-text via OUR Archive.

If you would like to read this item, please apply for an inter-library loan from the University of Otago via your local library.

If you are the author of this item, please contact us if you wish to discuss making the full text publicly available.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record