Online lead users and social change in Arab conservative societies: the case of Saudi Arabia
Rawas, Randalah M
This research examines the social use of the Internet at the level of specified online users in conservative Arab societies, who are called in this thesis online lead users. These specified lead users are the ones who are influential in shaping the innovation processes due to their leading role of practice in finding solutions to their needs and problems they have experienced before the emergence of online social networks such as the lack of public sphere and independent civic organizations etc., which led them to utilize the Internet as their new public space to pursue their goals through their online initiatives and collective actions to apply the social change they seek for their societies under the existence of society social norms and censorship.\ud \ud The research has been carried out as mixed-method study, the gathered data done through means of quantitative and qualitative methods, and the chosen country to conduct the research were Saudi Arabia. A survey questionnaire link were distributed among the targeted online lead users in the country under study, and the author chose three cases form the country under study for the qualitative part. The research sought to examine to what extent society social norms and censorship influence online lead user’s expression and behaviours, and their effect on the formulation of their online activities and collective actions, and analyzing the characteristics of online lead user’s.\ud \ud The significance of this study lies in the fact that it contribute to the gap in the literature on the use of Internet in conservative Arab societies by providing insight into the roles that social norms play in influencing online behaviour, particularly in communities that are seeking to discuss social issues or mobilize collective action, and analysing online lead users characteristic to distinguish between conservative and cosmopolitan ones using the Right-Wing authoritarian measurement.
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