Research Talk by Dr. Jahna Otterbacher, Open University of Cyprus, Nicosia CYPRUS

Public officials on Twitter: What are they tweeting and why might it matter?

 

Date & time: Monday, 12 November, 12:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Venue: CNM Meeting Room, AS6, #03-33

 

About the talk

As social media become a more common means for officials to communicate with constituents, it becomes crucial that we understand how they use these tools and, of course, how their use matters. I describe results from an ongoing project, in which we are following the Twitter activity of elected officials in three government bodies: the United States’ Congress, the European Parliament and the Korean National Assembly. As of August 2012, we had captured the tweets of 504 Members of Congress (MoCs), 174 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and 254 Korean National Assembly Members (NAMs). To date, our analyses have focused on two key questions: 1) What are officials trying to achieve through their tweets? 2) To what extent do officials interact with constituents?


In addressing the first question, we designed a robust coding scheme for the “actions” behind officials’ tweets. We then developed a method for automated classification of tweet actions, allowing us to study large datasets. In an analysis of all MoCs’ tweets posted over a three-month time period, we found that MoCs primarily use Twitter as a means to share information resources, as well as to position themselves with respect to issues or other politicians. In contrast, they rarely use Twitter to actually engage the public toward political action or to post pro-social comments.


In considering the second question, we performed a qualitative analysis of prolific MoCs, MEPs and NAMs tweets over a six-month period. This revealed that officials interact with constituents to varying degrees. Some tweet in a monologue style, yielding no control over the interaction to the public, while others engage in mutual discourse, initiating dialog and responding to citizens. We propose directions for further research, including extensions of current models of interactivity previously proposed by CMC scholars.


This is joint work with Libby Hemphill and Matthew A. Shapiro at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago USA.

 

About the speaker

Dr. Jahna Otterbacher (Ph.D., University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, USA) is a communication and information scientist who studies mass self-communication. Her research focuses on interactions between people in technology-mediated environments where the primary mode of communication is written text. She views writing as a social interaction, in that what and how one writes creates an impression as to one’s personality and credibility as a source of information. She uses mixed methodologies in her research, including quantitative and textual analyses. Her endeavour is to discover patterns in the use of language and other communicative devices in order to better facilitate interactions between people, enhancing their access to information.

Research Talk by Professor Mohan Dutta

Returning the White Man’s gaze: Reimagining social science research as politics of change

Date and Time: Wed, 7 November, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416, NUS

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

About the talk

Interrogating taken-for-granted assumptions and the paradoxes that underlie the abstract conceptualizations of terms such as democracy and liberty, the talk will first set up the ground for deconstructing the culturally rooted notions of key concepts that shape the landscape of communication research and practice, and will then set up the methodological terrains for social change projects based on the principles of dialogue and listening. Deconstructing contemporary discourses of social science research, we will examine the ways in which the social sciences are embedded within politics of power and control. A close reading of theory development and methodology in communication opens up the discursive space for performing scholarship of social change situated amid journeys of solidarity and dialogue.

 

About the speaker

Dr. Mohan J. Dutta is Courtesy Professor of Communication at Purdue University, and he is Professor and Head of the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore. At NUS, he is the Founding Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), directing research on culturally-centered, community-based projects of social change. He teaches and conducts research in international health communication, critical cultural theory, poverty in healthcare, health activism in globalization politics, indigenous cosmologies of health, subaltern studies and dialogue, and public policy and social change. Currently, he serves as Editor of the “Global Health Communication Book Series” with Left Coast Press and sits on the editorial board of seven journals. Before arriving to NUS, he served as Associate Dean of Research in the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University, a Service Learning Fellow, and a fellow of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy. Also at Purdue, he served as the Founding Director of the Center for Poverty and Health Inequities (COPHI).

Research Talk by Dr. Denisa Kera

Disruptive Prototypes and Grassroots Innovation in Southeast Asia

 

Date and Time: Wed, 17 October, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416, NUS

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

About the talk

You do not need to visit NASA or travel to Mars to experience future community resilient to extreme conditions. Group of artists, scientists, and farmers in Indonesia are setting up such unique experimental community around the Merapi volcano in Java. What is the connection between a hacked satellite, hay waste, pound of fish, farm, and one bioreactor? The Micro/Macronation project from Yogyakarta is a test of sustainable, future community, which will connect ethanol reactor fermenting waste with an auqaponic system on a farm, and intensively gather data on this experiment. These grassroots innovators already hacked environmental data from an Indonesian government satellite to define a precedence and cases for open government data project. The plan is to connect the hacked satellite data with what comes out of the two experimental villages  and define future scenario for Indonesia which is stet to be presented  in their parliament in 2013. Citizen Science initiatives and projects, such as Sustainable Living Lab (SL2) in Singapore, LifePatch.org and HONF in Yogyakarta, and Manila Biopunk Movement, novel forms of co-working spaces and labs in the region, such as Hackerspaces, Maker communities and Fablabs, all present an alternative approach to innovation and research in biotechnology outside of the official academia and industry walls. These DIYbio activities are inspired by the Open Source Software and Hardware movements, which are becoming increasingly influential political forces organized around the changing notion of how to produce and share data, information, and knowledge. Furthermore, they define policy as an iteration and design process involving prototypes and collective experiments rather than deliberation supporting the classical division between executive and normative powers. We will discuss and compare case studies from Singapore and Indonesia to demonstrate our main thesis, that the emerging culture of DIYbio, defined broadly as The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Do-It-With-Others (DIWO) approaches in citizen science, brings a revival of traditional, indigenous approaches to knowledge but also opens an opportunity for grassroots innovation and can serve as a model for public participation in science.  The emergent, alternative R&D centers revive a link between knowledge creation and community building and problematize the common, “East – West”, “Modern (Industrial) – Post-industrial – Pre-modern (indigenous)” distinctions, which are often used when knowledge transfer is discussed. By integrating community building with prototype testing, DIYbio and Hackerspaces in the region enable community-based innovation and provide a more resilient policy model for societies facing emerging technologies and various environmental and social challenges.

 

About the speaker

Dr. Denisa Kera is a philosopher and a designer, who builds design prototypes and critical probes to create tools for deliberation, reflection, and public participation in science. She follows and studies science community labs, alternative R&D places (Hackerspaces, FabLabs) and various DIYbio movements around the world as a philosopher of science and STS scholar. In them she sees a revival of tinkering and 16.century pre-modern science. She enjoys writing about these complex genealogies and original ideas of Academy of sciences, alchemy etc. as much as she enjoys working in these communities on various challenging ideas about future technologies (neuronetworking, food hacking, citizen science using DNA data). She has extensive and global experience as a curator of exhibitions and projects related to art, technology and science, and previous career in internet start-ups and journalism.

Research Talk by Dr. Iccha Basnyat

Contextualizing Culture and Health Research & Teaching

 

Date and Time: Wed, 10 October, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416, National University of Singapore

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

Introduction

In this talk, I will give an overview of my research and teaching that intersect health communication & communication management.  My work is rooted in culture & health. Particularly, my work examines structural and cultural context that constitutes understanding of health, and negotiation of health meanings in lieu of limitations to access/resources. I will contextualize this research and connect it to the work I do and plan to do as well as how it informs my teaching. I will also discuss how culture and health inform my work and how this line of research aims to connect research, teaching and practice for positive social impact by examining how the dominant health discourse is constructed and promoted.

 

Speaker’s bio:

Dr. Iccha Basnyat is a visiting fellow in the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore. She has a BA in Communication from the University of Utah and an MPH from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She joined CNM in 2008 after receiving her Ph.D. in Health Communication from Purdue University. Her research and teaching intersect in the areas of health communication and communication management. She teaches communication management modules while her research is rooted in culture and health. She has published her work in Health Education & Behavior, Asian Journal of Communication, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Computers in Human Behaviour, Health Communication.

Research Talk by Dr. Ganga S Dhanesh

Dialectics in Corporate Discourse on CSR in India

 

Date and Time: Wed, 3 October, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416, NUS

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

Abstract:

This paper aimed to generate greater understanding of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as constructed in non-Euro-American contexts, by examining dialectics in corporate discourse on key themes and drivers of CSR in India. Qualitative in-depth conversations with business leaders and senior managers who define thought leadership in the space, selected from the Standard & Poor India ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) Index, were the main method of data generation. Results, based on 19 elite interviews with leaders and senior managers from 16 companies revealed that participant understandings of key themes and drivers of CSR are riddled with multiple layers of dialectical complexities simultaneously negotiating the apparently contradictory notions of nation building and inclusive growth, paternalism and egalitarianism, and duty and consequences. The paper also proposes that the ancient Indian concept of dharma might be a probable theoretical framework within which duty and consequences, the dialectical drivers of CSR in India could be further understood.

Speaker’s bio:

Dr. Ganga S Dhanesh holds a doctoral degree in communications, a masters degree in business administration and a bachelors degree in English language and literature. Prior to entering the academe, she has had industry experience in corporate communications and employee relations in both the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Her doctoral research proposal won a competitive student research grant from the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, Singapore Management University and a paper that reported part of her research findings won the 2012 Bob Heath Top Paper Award awarded by the Public Relations division of the International Communication Association. She has presented her research work at international public relations conferences and has published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals in the areas of public relations and corporate social responsibility.

Talk by Ms Jodi Newcombe from Carbon Arts

“Data, Art and Sustainability: Some initiatives from Down Under”

Date: Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Time: 4:30 p.m

Venue: CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416, NUS

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

About the talk:

Ms Jodi Newcombe,  founder and director of Carbon Arts, will present the work of this non-profit organisation relating to the representation of environment and human interactions through open source data in the public realm. These projects seek multi-disciplinary approaches to improving decision-making in support of sustainability at all levels – from the individual to the political.

 

About Carbon Arts:

Carbon Art is a non-profit arts organisation working to facilitate an increased role for artists and creativity in generating awareness and action on climate change. A key aim of Carbon Arts is open conversation between the arts, economics, science, and technology. It is through this diversity and openness of dialogues between disciplines that Carbon Arts aims to progress the role of the arts in the greater climate change and sustainability agenda.

Research Talk by Dr. Alex Mitchell

“What I Talk About When I Talk About Interactive Stories”

 

Date: Wednesday, 29 August, 2012

Time: 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Venue: CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416, NUS

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

Abstract

In this talk, I will give an overview of my research at the intersection of storytelling, games and interactive media design. My early work looked at collaboration and storytelling, investigating the impact of a shared workspace on writers’ development of shared understanding. I have also developed shared virtual spaces for learning through storytelling and play, and games and interactive artworks which explore various aspects of interactivity. I will connect this earlier work to my recent research, which has focused on rereading in interactive stories, and discuss my plans to further explore the aesthetics and poetics of interactive media in the context of interactive storytelling.

 

About the speaker:

Dr. Alex Mitchell teaches interactive media design in the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore. He has a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, and recently completed his PhD at the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering, where he was attached to the Partner Technologies Research Group. Alex’s current research investigates various aspects of computer-based art and entertainment, focusing in particular on interactive stories. This work involves creating digital and non-digital interactive storytelling systems, using these systems to develop creative works, and observing how people respond to the resulting pieces. It also involves theoretical work to understand what is happening in and around this process.

 

 

 

Research Talk by Mr. Patrick Sharbaugh

“Look But Don’t Touch: Conceptions of Online Personal Privacy in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”

 

Date: Wednesday, 29 August, 2012

Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Venue: CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416, NUS

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

Abstract:

Is privacy as an idea and a practice a purely Western notion? Is it limited to developed societies? Is privacy incompatible with collectivist traditions? In an era defined by ever more ways of sharing the intimate details of our personal lives and ever fewer ways of controlling that information, these questions matter more than ever. Vietnam-based lecturer and researcher Patrick Sharbaugh shares the results of his recent study of how Vietnamese netizens think about online personal privacy, revealing a picture that seems to differ from many of the most commonly accepted ideas about what privacy means and why we care about it.

 

About the speaker:

Mr. Patrick Sharbaugh teaches and conducts research into new media technologies and practices at RMIT International University in Saigon, Vietnam, where he teaches Asian Cybercultures, Theories of Communication, and Negotiating Strategies. He has a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from his home state of South Carolina in the U.S. His most recent research is on the topic of Vietnamese conceptions of online personal privacy, which he presented this year at the 7th Global Cybercultures Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, and at the International Communication Association’s New Media and Citizenship in Asia preconference in Phoenix, AZ.

Research Talk by Mr. Gudur Raghavendra Reddy

“Multidisciplinary Approach to Designing for Ageing Population”

 

Date: Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Time: 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Venue: CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

Abstract

Designing accessible interfaces for older people is a very unique and multi-faceted challenge. Designers tend to simplify users into two groups: either “standard” users with perfect vision, cognitive processing, motor control, technologically savvy, or the “old” users, which are exactly the opposite. Recent research suggests that this is a wrong assumption mostly arising from studies that use very small sample sizes with one or two narrow age groups at the extremes of age continuum. This does not reflect nor it offers a useful model for the complex multigenerational reality. In addition, these studies tend to focus only on the effects of chronological age as variable and do not consider cognitive and social aspects of ageing as important. In reality, older people are a very heterogeneous group in terms of their capabilities but also in terms of their dynamically changing needs. To truly understand their needs and to design for them we need to support a multi-disciplinary approach to research that focuses less on the age variable and more on the source of age-related differences. In this talk I will present how my recent research comprehensively addresses these issues by leveraging my earlier industry and research experience in visual design, interaction design, product development and technology. I will further discuss my future plans in the field of design support of independent living for the elderly and self-care medical Devices.

 

Speaker’s bio:

Mr. Gudur Raghavendra Reddy (Raghu) is awaiting conferment of his PhD from Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology. His thesis research focus was on making contemporary technological products more accessible for older people. He also holds a Master of Design in Visual Communication from the, Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and a Diploma in Fine Arts from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University.
Before starting his PhD, for eight years, Raghu taught user-experience design, visual communication, new media content development and design project management modules at Communications and New Media Department, National University of Singapore. He was teaching after extensive industry and research work experience in interactive multimedia, online distributed virtual environment games, 3-D modeling, animation, information design, publication design and video production & post-production. He is also a fine arts photographer, working exclusively with traditional black and white techniques.

Computers in Human Behaviour to publish a research paper by CNM scholars

A research paper by Associate Professor Lim Sun Sun, Mr. Chan Yoke Hian, Ms Shobha Vadrevu, and Dr. Iccha Basnyat is to be published later this year in the Computers in Human Behaviour journal.

The article is now available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563212001732

Title

Managing peer relationships online – investigating the use of Facebook by juvenile delinquents and youths-at-risk

Abstract

While extensive research has been conducted on young people’s peer interaction via online communication, the focus has been on mainstream youths, with marginalized youth communities being understudied. To help address this inadequacy, the current study conducted interviews with Singaporean male juvenile delinquents (= 36) to understand the role of online communication in their peer interactions and the salient characteristics of such interactions. Our findings show that Facebook was the principal tool of online peer interaction. However, given the particular circumstances of juvenile delinquents, online social networking presents issues that may compromise efforts to rehabilitate them. These include extending the time and opportunities for unstructured and unsupervised peer socialization, peer endorsement of delinquent acts and the pressure of having to display group loyalty in the online space. Even after rehabilitation, youths who attempt to distance themselves from their delinquent peers are challenged by the persistence of their online social networks.