Date of Award

8-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Babcock, William

Second Advisor

Veenstra, Aaron

Abstract

Social media usage is a paradigm shift in mass communication history, and members of the diasporic communities use social media for building and maintaining relationships. Social media have taken an important step by allowing the users to communicate in their native languages online. Because of this new step, communication through social media has become easier for the diasporic people who lack language and communication skills in their host countries. The diasporic people can communicate with the members of the same diasporic community in the host society and also with friends and family back home by using their native languages. Diasporic people have various motivations for using social media including gratifications. This dissertation examines patterns of use of social media among the South Asian diaspora living in the U.S. In doing so, the study uses a broader framework of bridging and bonding social capital to examine how South Asian people in the U.S. maintain relationships with friends both back home and in their host society via social media. Moreover, the influence of language for socio-cultural adjustment of the South Asian immigrant people was also explored in this study. An online survey following a snowballing technique was conducted among 535 South Asian people in the U.S. The results found that bonding relationships are related to native language use in social media, information sharing about back home and frequencies of social media use. Bridging relationships are related to relationship maintenance with friends in the U.S. and frequencies of social media use. The results of this study show the English language preference is not related to cultural and psychological behaviors in social media. However, English language preference is related to home country media related behaviors.

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