Social media in rural life: Design innovation for participatory cultural communication in China
Authors: Hezhu Pan, Mengfei Liu
Abstract: The development of internet technology and social media has rapidly changed everyday experiences. Rural people benefit from new technology. They share their stories on digital social media platforms, and promote agricultural products on Live Streaming platforms and E-commerce platforms. Rural communities have been an active part of the booming social media phenomenon in the past few years, especially in China. The study is based on fieldwork in a rural village in the Hunan Province of China, which has a rich ethnic culture, including intangible cultural heritage such as Huayao cross stitch. Local communities partner with designers to create cultural product designs, digital cultural content, etc. Rural people in that village participated in this study and their related social media were retrieved, using a dataset collected from their widely used social media platform, we analyze rural people’s profiles, more than 120 online short videos and images they posted on their accounts within one year.By combining both quantitative data from surveys and qualitative data from semi-structured interviews, We explored the ways and new features of Chinese rural cultural communication in the Internet era, and summarized three deficiencies in the current cultural communication of Huayao. These Inadequacies helped us reveal how design innovation can provide new ways of enhancing the impact of participatory communication of rural culture.By establishing a rural cultural image, guiding rural people's content of the creation, and stimulating their subjectivity, design innovation could address the gap as a definer, planner, facilitator and promoter, and rural people could play a positive and important role in digital culture communication. Individuals and communities can benefit from the content made by rural people themselves on social media. Finally, design innovation could promote the infusion of local cultures into the global and build a sustainable way of rural cultural communication.
Keywords: social media, rural culture communication, design innovation, participatory communication
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