Dr Weiyu Zhang delivers keynote lecture to youth in Korea

Dr. Weiyu Zhang was invited to deliver a keynote lecture titled “Change, Youth, Failure, Excellence” at the 22nd International Youth Forum on August 18, 2011.

The forum is an annual event organised by The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and The National Council of Youth Organisations in Korea. Over one hundred youth from thirty-one countries participated in this event.

The full transcript of the talk can be found at http://www.weiyuzhang.net/uploads/2/2/2/7/222747/a_talk_prepared_for_the_22nd_international_youth_forum.doc

Mr Gui Kai Chong addresses grassroots leaders on new media initiatives

CNM lecturer Mr Gui Kai Chong was recently invited by the People’s Association (PA) to give a guest presentation on how to make use of new media to engage better with residents in Singapore. Held on 26 July 2011, this “New Media Sharing Session” was organised by the association for grassroots leaders and PA’s staff involved in new media initiatives.

Mr Gui with Mr Yam at the Power Up! session

Mr Gui with Mr Yam at the Power Up! session

In the above photo, Mr Gui is with Mr Yam Ah Mee, the Chief Executive Director of People’s Association and the Returning Officer for Singapore’s General Elections 2011. Mr Yam became a overnight celebrity in Singapore after the General Elections because remixed music videos of his ‘monotone’ delivery of election results went viral online, causing a sensation in Singapore that was reported even in the mainstream media.

Call for papers for workshop – From SMS to Smartphones: Tracing the Impact and Developmental Trajectory of the Mobile Phone in Asia

Call for papers for workshop
From SMS to Smartphones:
Tracing the Impact and Developmental Trajectory
of the Mobile Phone in Asia

(DEADLINE: 15 September 2011)

Asia is widely regarded as a region that has enthusiastically embraced information technology. This observation is especially true of the region’s adoption and appropriation of the mobile phone. The affordability, versatility and ubiquity of the mobile phone has had a discernible impact on Asia. It has been widely deployed in virtually every aspect of everyday life, be it in commerce, politics, governance, education, religion, entertainment or recreation. Various noteworthy uses and ground-breaking applications of the mobile phone have emerged from both urban and rural parts of Asia. Going beyond the use of more basic mobile phone models and features, the smartphone, in particular, is diffusing through Asia at a rate exceeding the rest of the world. Bringing the idea of the ubiquitous web to fruition, the smartphone’s heightened connectivity and thriving app market are birthing yet more revolutionary uses of the mobile phone. While the rising adoption of the smartphone burgeons with potential for civic action, commercial enterprise, employment and educational opportunities and social service provision, challenges are also emerging for consumers, industries and governments alike.

Despite the significance of mobile phones in the Asian landscape, research on this topic  has been shaped by studies on the US and Scandinavia, while research on Asia is growing, but in its nascent stages. This workshop seeks to address the imbalance by bringing together researchers who are studying mobile phone trends in Asia and collectively, workshop participants will discuss and deliberate over the global implications of their research findings and the developmental trajectory of the mobile phone. The workshop aims to be multi-disciplinary and compact, comprising up to fifteen speakers who will have the opportunity for sustained discussion and engagement over two days.  The workshop will be held at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore from 13-14 February 2012. Selected papers will be developed and included in a special journal issue or edited volume.

Set within the Asian context, the workshop seeks to address questions including, but not limited to the following:

  • does a digital divide exist in Asia with regard to mobile phone penetration and usage trends and if so, how can and should they be remedied?
  • what are the implications of the development of mobiles — especially smartphones and mobile Internet — for contemporary media in Asia?
  • how is the growing proliferation of the smartphone facilitating unprecedented forms and scales of communication?
  • how are the location based services offered by smartphones altering user behaviour?
  • how does mobile Internet use complement and possibly complicate fixed location Internet use?
  • what implications does the growth of smartphone apps have for the cultural complexion of Asian countries?
  • to what extent do smartphones and the behaviour which they enable test the boundaries of existing regulatory frameworks?
  • how does the rising ubiquity of the smartphone and by implication, that of always-on, always-available Internet access challenge prevailing theoretical frameworks relating to inter alia, technology acceptance, mobility, communication, social influence and identity?


We invite those interested in participating in the workshop to submit original paper proposals which should include a title, an abstract of 500 words, a short biography of 250 words, and should be submitted using the Paper Proposal Submission Form. Please submit your proposal to Sun Sun Lim at sunlim@nus.edu.sg by 15 September 2011. Papers that have been selected will be notified by 30 September 2011. If accepted, the full paper must be submitted by 30 November 2011. Based on the quality of proposals and the availability of funds, partial or full funding is available for successful applicants. Full funding would cover air travel to Singapore by the most economical means, plus board and lodging for the duration of the workshop. Priority for funding will be accorded to applicants who are based in Asia.


Workshop Convenors

Associate Professor Sun Sun LIM (sunlim@nus.edu.sg)
Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore

Prof Gerard GOGGIN (gerard.goggin@sydney.edu.au)
Department of Communications, University of Sydney

CNM has BIG showing (again!) at FASS Awards Ceremony

Once again the CNM’s TAs had impressive winnings at the 2011 Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Awards Ceremony, which was held on 12 August 2011.

Six CNM-ers won Excellent Graduate Students’ Teaching Awards: Carol Soon, Goh Tong Jee, Jodie Luu (second time), Siti Nurharnani, Joshua Wong, and Anuradha Rao (not in picture).

The winners with Dr Millie

The winners with Dr Millie

PhD student Shobha Vadrevu wins one of top 5 paper awards at ICA

Shobha Vadrevu (first year PhD student at CNM) presented a paper at the ICA conference in Boston this year entitled “Teacher Identity and Selective Strategies for Mediating Interactions with Students on Facebook”. Judged one of the Top 5 Papers submitted to the Instructional and Developmental Communication Division, it won an award of US$400.

The paper focused on the implications of teachers’ use of social networking sites like Facebook to mediate communication with their students in informal contexts. It discussed the implications of teacher selection of Facebook menu options for teacher identity and interaction with students. Earlier work on identity, social penetration, and risk and opportunity in online settings was drawn on to develop a conceptual framework for analysing teacher strategies to control intimacy levels with their students. This paper drew on a study involving 12 secondary school teachers and their decisions regarding interactions with students on Facebook. It suggested that teacher selectivity of menu options, whilst enabling teachers to manage the dilemmas of merging their personal and professional identities in online social network environments like Facebook, also has the potential to generate ‘walled intimacies’ whereby some students have access to teachers and others do not.

Shobha is grateful to Dr. Dianne Carr and Dr. Wilma Clarke of the Institute of Education (London) as well as Professor Lim Sun Sun of the National University of Singapore for their guidance, insight and support.

Shobha presenting at the ICA

Shobha presenting at the ICA

CNM students impress IE Singapore with PR plan on China

by Choo Rui Qi and Bryan Fang

Like the other PR writing students, CNM majors Bryan Fang, Terence Han and Tan Chun En, together with Psychology major Choo Rui Qi, had tracked the issues concerning the ‘organisation’ of their choice, and developed a plan for addressing the issues all semester.  On 19 May, the four NM3219 students took their term project a step further and presented it to the corporate communications team at International Enterprise (IE) Singapore.

The 20-minute long presentation covered issues that the local business community may face when it came to investing in China.  These issues included corruption, intellectual property rights (IPR) and unfair trade practices such as the Yuan devaluation and protectionism.
Tracking and viewing from IE Singapore’s perspective, the group formulated numerous strategies and tactics which focus on equipping our local businessmen with the soft skills needed to operate businesses in China. Such skills include intercultural competence and IPR knowledge. Together with the goals and objectives, these strategies and tactics were part of the group’s proposed PR plan.

The IE Singapore hosts were impressed by the presentation. Ms Cheng Kiat Loon, Divisional Director for Corporation Communications, commended on the group’s “clear delivery of the presentation” and said that it was a “job well done overall”. She also mentioned that some of the ideas were already being implemented by IE Singapore and that these ideas were definitely feasible and implementable. Ms Cheng also offered feedback for improvement.

Overall, it was an enriching experience for the group and the students hope it is mutual for their IE Singapore hosts. Bryan said, “The interaction with the IE Singapore team has allowed me to gain a better understanding of the intense competition and real challenges that Singaporean businesses face when venturing into the vast Chinese market. It has taught me the importance of triangulating my data sources to be more in sync with the conditions on the ground.” Rui Qi added, “Ms Cheng’s idea of meeting up with businessmen was a really good one. We suggested that these Singaporean businessmen go over to China to experience first-hand how things are done there, yet we did not think of getting directly to our sources ourselves; speak with these very same businessmen to appreciate their concerns first-hand.”

The group hopes that more CNM students will have similar opportunities to present their ideas to external organisations, as it was truly an enriching experience for them.

NM3219 students visit IE Singapore

NM3219 students visit IE Singapore

Dr. T.T. Sreekumar publishes new book

Congratulations to Dr. T.T. Sreekumar on his new book entitled “ICTs and Development in India: Perspectives on the Rural Network Society.” Carried by independent international publisher Anthem Press, the book examines critically the social impact of ICTs in rural India.

For more information about the book, please see http://www.anthempress.com/index.php/subject-areas/browse-by-type/anthem-monograph-edited-volume/icts-and-development-in-india.html.

ICTs and Development in India

ICTs and Development in India

Research talk by Dr Tracy Loh

“The Effects of Normative Influence and Risk Content on Online Group Decision-Making”

Date and Time:
Monday, April 18th, 2011
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

CNM Playroom, AS6/03-38

This study looked into the effects of group identity and subject content on computer-mediated group and individual decision-making.  Drawing from traditional choice shift literature, it examines the concepts of choice shift and group polarization in an online setting.  It focused on online decision-making and examined whether normative influence is a factor in online opinion change.  In doing so it also looked at the effects of group identity as well as the effects of content on group and individual decision-making.  In particular, the purpose of this research was to examine (a) the effect of normative influence on individual and group decision-making; (b) the effect of consensus on individual decision-making and; (c) if the nature of the issue being decided had an effect on group and individual decision-making. Using multilevel mixed models, findings from this study indicate that the nature of the content being discussed affected decision-making and opinion change, with there being a significant difference between intellectual issues as opposed to risk and moral issues.

Tracy Loh was born in Singapore and educated in Singapore, England and the United States of America.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Sociology from the National University of Singapore, a Master of Science in Sociology from the University of Bristol, England as well a Master of Communication Studies from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.  She has recently completed her Doctor of Philosophy from Cornell University, USA.  Her research interests lie in breaching the boundaries between psychology, sociology and communication.  In particular, she is interested in the social implications of new media especially in relation to group and individual decision-making as well as health and risk communication.

Before entering academia, Tracy has also spent many years working in the fields of advertising, public relations and marketing communications.  Her expertise lies mainly in the hospitality and food and beverage industries as well as in the music industry.

Research talk by Ms Carol Soon

“No action, talk only?”: web 2.0 technologies and activating change.

Date and Time:

Wednesday, 27 April 2011
3 p.m. – 4 p.m.


CNM Playroom, AS6/03-38

Even as web 2.0 technologies have become normalized into political, commercial and social life, there remains a hazy understanding of what users of these technologies represent and their permanence in the communicative landscape. Early dismissals of bloggers as “just a bunch of guys in pajamas” (Reynolds, 2006) have lingered in the public mind, even as corporations, political campaigners and organisations design media campaigns around blogging. Carol’s study focuses on bloggers as individuals who leverage on different technologies to engender political and social change. Through in-depth interviews supported by a survey, her study uncovers the nuanced dynamics that shape technology use and activism participation. Building on a recent study by Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010), Carol’s study identifies a repertoire of collective actions facilitated by new media technologies, with applications beyond the political to the corporate sphere.

Currently an instructor in Communications and New Media, Carol’s research interests include how individuals and organisations leverage on web 2.0 technologies for change, as well as the galvanising roles of social networks and collective identity. Having published in several peer-reviewed journals and two book projects, Carol was also a recipient of the Association of Internet Researchers’ inaugural fee waiver award in 2009. Her latest work is a special issue in the Social Science and Computer Review, the fruition of a six-country project which involved researchers pursuing innovative approaches in network crawling and analysis. Upon graduation with honours in communication studies, Carol’s agency and corporate work included conceptualising and executing marketing and communication campaigns for profit and non-profit organisations. Prior to her doctoral studies, Carol was a freelance brand consultant with Activiste Brands.