Social Media Week

September 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Socail Media Week for the second term of the year 2011 was passed by.
Couldn’t follow up much, but one thing interesting I found was the collaboration with i-Report on CNN.

There weren’t many intriguing report assignments posted than I expected, however.

One article from SNW blog caughted my eyes: Top 20 social media events of 2011.

They are the snapshots of outwardly different news stories; However, when epitomized under theoretical discussions, these are summarized into three: social media-empowered politics and democracy, social colllaboration under the problematic events, and transformation of mediated culture (i.e. celebrity) in social media era.

Watch “#digitalnation” at #PBS & some ramblings about being digitally connected..

August 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Digital Nation” is a follow-up documentary form the Frontline at PBS after the project “Growing up online”

I watched this to see if I can use it as a class material and it’s definitely recommended. A lot of critical issues on the Internet, including virtual life, addiction, medical use, and our cognitive change thanks to the digitally-all-connected life condition, are treated during 90 mins.

One of the most interesting parts to me was the topic dealt with in the first section., about the truth of “multi-tasking” capacity that our digital natives boast off. The cutting-edge researches are introduced and their conclusions are : ‘unknown’ at best, or, ‘worsening’ our brain down’ in a tragic perspective.

I’m studying comm technologies but to be honest, I’m one of the people who feel often choked whenever I realize that I’m hooked up in this all- connectedness. I feel pressured that I have to be on Facebook and follow and mind others’  business (although I recently stopped using for some period of time), I have to be connected to all the information flowing over twitter not to be lagged behind, and I have to be on the smartphone whenever I have brief free time to be “smarter”.  Once aggregating trivial acitivites I do on the Web for a day, they are not trivial portions of daily activities any more. 

Like my students were staggered at the amounts of time they consume everyday playing around the Internet after recording their daily media logs, I also feel a kind of vanity of my day when I find out that I actually haven’t THINK seriously about a thing or myself even for a few mins. I am disillusioned by my being busy online as if I became more insightful or smarter about this world. Without thinking, information out there do not have any meaning to me. To make it meaningful, time requires to focus on it, think about it, and reframe it into my cognitive pattern.  Only after the processing, what I see or hear on the web becomes a part of my episteme. 

As Sherry Turkle, one of the earliest virtual theorist who appears on the documentary, sighs during her interview, saying that she often spends a day without thinking at all yet fully busy checking out emails and what’s going on with others, I find myself wasting days without giving a serious thought on something steadily or even reflecting who am I.

In our time, it seems like it’s getting harder to find a serene moment even at the moment of sitting at my office ALONE!

We are social beings. We need to be connected with others out there. But, we are Homo at the same time. We need time to set stuffs away for a moment and to listen to what is in my own mind and heart, independently from others. Reflective self-appraisals are definitely parts of processes to define self-concept, but to complete a holistic self-concept… I don’t know, I feel like it is essential to remain in solitude for some time and try to engage in intra-communication, which might be more effective when Facebook and Twitter are turned off.

Evidence on collective intelligence

July 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

With prevalence of social collaboration tools, the power of collective intelligence, often mentioned as more effective than mere sum of individual decision-making, has been buzzed off. Is there it anyway? A publication in Science in 2010 confirms its exietence based on classical psychological experiments. Interesting to read.

From the class blog; students reflections on figiting with global digital divide

May 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m currently teaching a class titled ‘new tech in communication.’

The size is about 20+ students. As a newly beginning professor, I wanted to draw students participation in generating discourses about technologies at best. For this mission, what I did are two things. One, to let them update what is happening right now regarding media and technology culture from public information; second, to let them engage in group blogging to share their information and thoughts. Never expected to have all of my students to be active participants in this process, however, I am satisfied with the performance of my students so far.

One of the topics we learned important is the broadband-based digital divide across the world. As a reflection of what we learned, a student blogged about the rosy opportunity for Africa to be wired through West Africa Cable System (WACS), which is operated from Europe to it.

Then, a few days later, another student found a different article and speculated about the other student’s discussion.

I was excited not simply because that the news resources they shared are valuable and worth of attention but also that they actually engaged in reflective THINKING about what we learned during class. As either a social scientist or a liberal arts scholar, it is my the priority goal to have students engage in a critical discursive process when I offer a class. I felt good reading their posts as if I accomplished a small task.

#NetNeutrality – The New York Times

April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of the most recent article about #NetNeutrality.

It has a good summary about it…

Net Neutrality – The New York Times

via Net Neutrality – The New York Times.

#smallworld #network: an example of #Mormon missionaries during #Japan crisis

March 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

A recent news article talks about crisis management by Mormon groups. The effectiveness of Mormon missionaries’ coping with risk situations is characterized by a well-connected social networks that are composed of cohesive sub-groups each of which has a bishop who presides. Said in the article:

““When you break it down to that small a group, it’s not as if anyone has to contact thousands of people,” said Richard Hinckley, executive director of the church’s missionary operations. “With four or five calls from a bishop — using phone trees — we can locate any one of 14 million church members in the world in a matter of minutes.”

His commentary is a good explanation how the so-called “small-world” network works for the effective communication under the condition in which both rapidity and all-connectedness are required.

Small-world network is originated from the classical sociological reading, Milgram’s (1967) six-degree of separation is a well-known proposition.

Milgram conducted an exploratory study to what extent people are connected with others in a social world, even though these ‘others’ are not  known to ourselves at first hand. According to him and other followers, our social world is a composite of giant component that connects one another at a maximum of six-degree separation.  Number six is not the most important keyword in this proposition. The key idea is that we’re connected to one another  through relatively short paths.

‘Being connected by shorter path lengths’ is a network property which increases management effectiveness by maintaining both a large size of diverse members within a community and a cohesive communication network. Considering that diversity and cohesion are somewhat contradictory network properties, small-world network  is definitely an interesting typology. Scholars have examined the effectiveness of small-world networks, for examples scientific collaboration networks (Newman, 2001), diffusion networks of infectious disease (Watts & Strogatz, 1998), German corporate ownership (Kogut & Gordon, 2001), and Broadway musical collaborations (Uzzi & Sprio, 2005).

In my dissertation, I also examined whether small-world typology increases the effectiveness of mobilizing collective actions on Facebook. Consistent with other scholars’ work, those who have personal network with small-world tendency could mobilize their own friends for the advocacy actions (Kwon, 2011).

As you see the figure, the idealized small world topology    looks like a combination of long-chains and a small subset of  hubs that are linked by other members. Watts and Strogatz  (1998) formalized the condition for small world networks in  terms of two parameters: Clustering coefficients and average  path length (the average shortest distance betwen pairs of  vertices). Their study (1998) identifies that a small-world  network shows (a) a similar average path length to the  average path length of random network and (b) a  significantly larger clustering coefficient than that of a  random network.

Risk communication management has been an important  issue in recent years, along with various natural disasters. It  can be one interesting way of examination to see whether  the communication network is characterized by small-world and if so, whether the network shows any notable effectiveness, i.e. the speed and the wholeness of information updates, compared to other networks that are relatively ‘randomly’ generated.


Kogut, B., & Walker, G. (2001). The small world of Germany and the durability of national networks.  American Sociological Review, 66 (3), 317-335.
Kwon, K. H. (2011). A Network Approach to Web 2.0 Social Influence: The Influentials, Word-of-Mouth (WOM) Effect, and the Emergence of Social Network on Facebook. Unpublished dissertation, SUNY-Buffalo, NY
Newman, M. E. J. (2001). The structure of scientific collaboration networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS),98(2), 404-409.
Watts, D. J., & Strogatz, S. H. (1998). Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks. Nature, 393(4), 440-442.
Uzzi, B., & Spiro, J. (2005). Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem. American Journal of Sociology, 111( 2), 447–504.


March 20, 2011 § Leave a comment



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