Yang, Kenneth C. C.; & Kang, Yowei (2015). Exploring Big Data and privacy in strategic communication campaigns: A cross-cultural study of mobile social media users’ daily experiences. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 9(2), 87-101. 


The combination of social networking and mobile technologies presents a fascinating phenomenon because the pervasive nature of mobile technologies significantly impacts on users’ privacy concerns about highly personal social media. The massive amount of data collected from users’ mobile social media usage behaviors is beneficial to strategic communication professionals and practices. However, there are significant privacy concerns as a result of these Big Data applications. Cultural context provides individual consumers to determine what is considered to be private and how individuals should respond to any infringement with their own privacy. This study used Geert Hofstede’s 5-D cultural dimension framework as an interpretive framework to understand cross-cultural consumer data collected from the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). The qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed by examining country-specific differences in mobile social media users’ experiences, particularly, concerns over privacy among these cross-cultural mobile social media users. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.


The research used a modified Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to collect and analyze mobile social media users from the United States and Taiwan. The ESM is a quasi-naturalistic method that sends signaling questions to participants at random times throughout the day to collect people’s daily experience in a natural setting. Once prompted, the 113 college student participants were asked to complete the corresponding questionnaire in the booklet that was distributed prior to the study. This mixed method helps collect users’ daily experiences with mobile social media in different periods of a day.

Key Findings

  • The higher a participant’s individualism index, the more they feel they should have more control over their private information.
  • The majority of participants across cultures have expressed their concerns over the commercialization of their personal information for business decision-making processes.
  • Perceived Control over Privacy Rules, Regulations, and Criteria was found to predict the frequency that participants check their Facebook and how many minutes’ participants spend on Facebook per day.
  • Both Perceived Control over Privacy Rules, Regulations, and Criteria and Perceived Control of Private Information Flow were found to predict total months of Facebook use.

 Implications for Practice

Increasingly, advertisers and marketers are monitoring what consumers say about their brands, their campaigns, and other strategic communication efforts. The ability to capitalize on Big Data depends on whether advertising and marketing professionals are able to convert these data into marketing insights. However, privacy issues are both ethical and legal challenges faced by many advertising agencies. This study provides insights into what mobile social media users think about privacy issues related to Big Data in their daily lives.

Article Location

The full article is available at:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1553118X.2015.1008635#.Ve3En_lVhBd

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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