Monday, 2 November 2015

Journal of Media Watch: September 2015

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77886
It’s not only ‘social’, but sourceful!

Rohini Sreekumar
Issue Editor
School of Arts & Social Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia

Let’s go a few years back. In 2003, ‘Salam Pax’ hosted a blog from Baghdad named ‘Where is Raed?’ to give accounts on the Iraq War to his friend, Raed who was in Jordan that time, about the situation in Baghdad during that period. Though the blog became popular, the authenticity of the regular posts on bombings and war proceedings in this blog was viewed with suspicion by the news world and the larger social sphere until a deliberate endeavour by The Guardian newspaper came out with a flashing report that Salam Pax is not an imaginary character, but a real person named Salam Abdulmunem, an architect by profession. This resulted to an end of all speculations regarding the blog and soon Salam Pax became the most sought out person in the media world both as a source of information and as an interpreter of Iraq war. This was one of the frost instances that world come to know the real power of a common man wielded with the power of new media. While a large majority view it as the ‘next big thing’, for a few it is already part of our routine system of work and life.  The Guardian’s ‘Mood of the Nation’ research (2014) conducted on UK citizen found that using social media makes the people happier when compared to money and family. The privilege or choice of being connected to a world outside one’s reach is the core principle that makes these social sites an immediate advantageous tool for marketing or any other online undertakings. With the rapid growth of internet and associated network technologies with a huge rise in the use of tablet and mobile phones, social media is becoming even more ubiquitous and exhilarating. The consequences of these change and evolution are influencing every aspects of human life.
As far as traditional media are concerned, online social platforms like Facebook and Twitter with its ubiquitous influence proved to be a threat to their existence. The increasing preference and participation of youth on the online social platforms was seen as a warning alarm, which is met by them by making their presence increasingly felt in the social media platforms as shares and postings. A recent New York Times’s article titled ‘Brian Williams Scandal Shows Power of Social Media’ rightly points to the fact that it is through social media that news get contested, questioned, and investigated to reveal the real news. While taking about the influences that social media make, it is the very redefinition of the concept of ‘informer’ that comes into play if we consider the 140 character word war or hash tag revolution. What we are witnessing now is a conversational news culture--a move back to the old Coffee house culture. To put it in another way, it is the laymen or public who is largely involved in the creation and the dissemination of news. This met with changes even in the craft of Journalism; online editions have snippet news, more illustrations, and options to link to social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. On the other hand, social networking sites are increasingly trying to gather as much as users into their bouquet. Facebook’s acquisition of Watsapp, a text messaging service is viewed by the world as a clever move to tap even the non-facebookies who regularly use internet for messaging.
Facebook has also come out with many ambitious measures and innovations to make the users hooked to its web as long as they are online. Its ‘Instant Article’ facility, author tag and control over individual news feeds are making use of possibilities that could not only provide quality news experience, but also bring back the disillusioned facebookies who abandoned it for its over-loaded news feeds and unauthenticated news feeds. Major media corporates like BBC, New York Times and The Guardian have already signed up with the ‘Instant Article’ provision that would deliver quick loading of their news articles from the Facebook page rather than linking it to their respective news website.   
While shared news and tagged photographs rule the public sphere, they are always questioned for their accuracy, authenticity and attribution. This crucial factor along with the untrained ‘prosumers’ (a discursive word coined to denote the online users who are the producers and consumers of news) pose a setback for the social media (on the other hand a merit for the traditional media).
Keeping apart all these obvious terrains of social media explosion, what makes social networking significantly popular in the academic world is its potential in redefining space, society and identity. Being ‘social’ is a comprehensive expression holding many meanings at different point of references. As social media form a major part of a Company/Institute’s reputation, marketing and social identity, their presence online is given much prominence and precision, whereby the employers’ social presence is also being scrutinized.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77888
Cultivating Connections in 140 Characters: A Case Study of Twitter Relationship Building

Wichita State University, USA

Social media use is ubiquitous in the United States. Not surprisingly, an academic debate has emerged about whether or not computer-mediated communication facilitates or hurts interpersonal relationships. This exploratory case study adds to the conversation by assessing how Twitter users in the Wichita, Kansas community view the impact of Twitter on their social lives, specifically, communication and relationships. Using a grounded theory approach and inductive thematic analysis, this paper analyzed data from a two-phase study involving key informant interviews (N=15) and six focus groups (N = 32). Three themes emerged: Twitter and professional relationships; Twitter and personal relationships, and Twitter and community. Analysis indicated that Twitter is a robust tool used to build and maintain interpersonal and community relationships that range from shallow and impersonal to deep and meaningful, depending on the desires of users, all in 140 characters or less.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77890
Capturing Trends and Identifying the Emerging Cool: A Study of Indian Bollywood Celebs on Twitter

Falguni Vasavada, Santosh K. Patra, Palak Gadhiya & Krishna Mishra
MICA, Ahmedabad

People actively participating on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are questioning the age old logic of boundaries and space. Virtual networks like twitter have given space which not only explores individual self but also connects to a mass phenomenon emerging through thought leaders, celebrities or ‘trend setters’. This study is an attempt to take the argument further and identify the emerging ‘trend’ in India through the celeb-tweets. To verify the argument empirically tweets of ten celebrities on twitter from Bollywood which include actors, choreographers, musicians, and producers were collected over a period of one month and tweet analysis was done by adopting hermeneutics as the method of data analysis. Appropriate codes were considered to address the major question of the paper on ‘social trends’ and the notion of ‘being cool’ to validate the question raised in the paper.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77892 
Liberalisation of the Malaysian Media and Politics: New media, Strategies and Contestations

Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

On 28 April 2012, ‘Bersih 3.0’, a rally calling for freer and fairer elections estimated that 250, 000 people gathered to support its cause. Government controlled newspapers the New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia accused this rally attended by 20, 000 demonstrators as a plot to destabilise and overthrow the ruling coalition through chaos and disorder. Online news portals Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider however reported that the rally attended by 150,000 demonstrators began peacefully but ended chaotically as demonstrators, journalists and police personnel were attacked and manhandled. While the conflicting reports of Bersih 3.0 and other news reports unpublished by the state controlled media through the new media suggests political dissent and possible media liberalisation, it does not necessarily mean that press freedom is well and alive. It however marks the beginning of a larger movement in cyberspace that threatens the hegemony of the ruling coalition. This paper examines the proliferation of the new media within the political economic structure of the Malaysian society and media; selected representations and messages in the old and new media; and whether the strategies and if representations in the new media are counter hegemonic tools capable of creating space for diverse voices, dissent and transformation.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77893
Impact of Social Media on the Vanity Level of Youngsters in India

Ruchi Tewari1 & Santana Pathak2 
1Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad
2Centre for Heritage Management, Ahmedabad

This paper is an attempt to measure the impact of social media on the vanity level of youngsters in India. An experimental research was conducted on a controlled group of 40 participants with an average age of 23 years. Netemeyer’s vanity scale was administered on the participants and their vanity was measured. A month later, the participants in the research were put under controlled conditions for two hours and exposed to social media. They were instructed to log into their social media accounts and instructed to engage into activities like updating their status, uploading new photographs, reading comments and going through the number of likes which had been made on their earlier loaded statuses and photographs. Post two hours, their vanity level was measured. Data was analysed using paired sample t tests as well as confirmatory factor analysis and comparison was made along the factors of Netemeyer’s Vanity Scale pre and post the exposure to social media activity.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77894
Social Media Usage and Physical Inactivity among School Children

BANINDER  RAHI, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi

The power of social media is virtually untameable. The advent of social media has shrunk the world to what Marshal McLuhan once termed ‘global village’. This paper has examined into the amount of time government and private school students spent on social media vis-à-vis on physical activities. It has attempted to answer the questions: (i) How much time government and private school students spend using different social media applications?, (ii) Is there any association between government and private school students regarding time spent on social media applications?, (iii) Whether they use social media applications primarily to communicate with others, and (iv) how much time, on an average, school students spend on outdoor games after school hours. For the purpose of the study, a self administered survey was conducted among five government and private schools each.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77895
Influence of Facebook in Pakistani Pedagogy

Tazeen Hussain, Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, Karachi, Pakistan

This study grounds itself in the communication, information sharing, discussion and co-creation potential of ICTs with reference to social media-Facebook. Taking a qualitative approach, it explores the above as building blocks of new educational paradigms of learner autonomy; learner-centered education and co-creation of knowledge through discussion and collaboration, by exploring the various ways and reasons teachers use Facebook as part of pedagogy in Pakistan. It suggests that, in order to understand fully the potential of Facebook as a pedagogical tool, being egalitarian, autonomous and emancipatory, there is a need to review the ways in which learning is viewed and evaluated.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77896
Social Media and Image Management: An Analysis of Facebook Usage in Celebrity Public Relations

BHAVNEET BHATTI, Panjab University, Chandigarah

Creation and maintenance of a favourable image is an essential function of public relations and social media is emerging as an important weapon in this image management armoury. The social media environment provides an opportunity to reach out to a variety of public in a more intimate and interactive way especially in the case of celebrity image management. Social media accounts of celebrities serve as a medium to blur the boundaries between the public and private spheres of their lives and content posted on these accounts also serves as a credible source of information for mass media. Since the social media presence of celebrities plays a crucial role in their image creation. This paper is an attempt to explore the emerging trends in social media usage by celebrities. The objectives of the paper were to look at the Facebook usage of celebrities from different walks of life (including politics, sports, music, cinema and television) and analyse this usage in terms of dominant subject matter, presentation, language used, frequency and continuity. The method used was a content analysis of the Facebook accounts of celebrities for a period of one year for the theory purpose a total of 1469 Facebook posts for one year to provide an insight into social media usage in the practice of celebrity public relation and potential that lies untapped were analyzed. 

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77898
Non-Embodied Embodiment: Transgenderism, Identity and the Internet

Joe Weinberg

Online, no one can tell that you’re a dog. When in the third space of the internet, the body is left behind, allowing people to explore their own identities and to engage in identity tourism with different possible bodies. It is the representations we choose for ourselves online that allow this exploration, the icons and avatars we create that produce embodiment in online environments. Those groups that exist on the fringe of identity, or in a state where identities are in flux, such as: the transgendered community. By examining what embodiment these icons and avatars allow, we can better understand how identity works online.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i3/77900 
Romanian Public Service Television: Struggle for Existence in the Digital Era
Bianca Mitu, University of Wolverhampton, UK

The increasing use of the internet has brought new challenges for the public service television system all around the world. Despite the free access to information and the use of digital technology, the Eastern European public service television is still in a shading cone mostly because of the small scale of their broadcasting markets. This article tells the story of the Romanian public service television’s (TVR) path towards an uncertain future in the digital age. The article offers an overview of the major changes and challenges of TVR (in terms of remit, purpose, values, and objectives) since the fall of the Communist regime in 1989 and aims to address the following questions: Is public service television still relevant in the digital era? What are the present challenges and what is the future of the Romanian public service television in the digital era?
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Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Sony Jalarajan Raj
Managing Editor: Deepak Ranjan Jena