Online Entertainment| The Globalization of On-Screen Sociability: Social Media and Tethered Togetherness
Social media have rapidly spread across the globe, and much has been written about how they promote civic engagement and commercial opportunities. Less has been written about their most common function: for socializing. This article examines the most popular social media and how they have become embedded in everyday life in four countries: the United States, Sweden, India, and China. The uses of social media take many different forms across countries and cultural settings; this article asks whether there are also commonalities between them. Even though social media are used most intensively among younger (and in India and China, affluent urban) populations, common patterns in everyday uses are emerging. These include reinforcing bonds by means of sharing an ever greater amount of visual content and constant tetheredness to others and to information. Globalization is mainly associated with macro social change, but social media allow us to also recognize globalizing patterns in multimodal micro interactions in everyday life.