Communication Technology 2013 Abstracts

Faculty Papers

Are Alternative Farmers Yielding Success with Online Communication Tools for Their Social Capital and Business Viability • Katie Abrams; Abigail Sackmann To foster direct-to-consumer marketing, some alternative farmers are shifting to online marketing tools like social media. What is unknown, however, is how they are using them and what impacts use has on their business. The purpose of this study was to characterize and determine influences and outcomes of alternative farmers’ use of various marketing and communication channels to better understand what they stand to gain (or lose) from participation in online media activities as it relates to their farm business viability and social capital. Through survey data of 82 alternative farmers, it was learned that their personal use of social media was highly correlated with their business use. Most of their time on the Internet was spent finding farming information and finding and interacting with customers; these activities (along with several others) were positively correlated with online bridging social capital. Personal uses of Facebook were indicative of greater social capital, whereas business uses of any social media were not. For business viability, the more Facebook Page likes their farm had, the more revenue they had, but no relationships were found between their business use of social media and customer loyalty or customer relationship. In sum, alternative farmers’ use of online communication tools was positively related to their social capital and their use of Facebook Pages was positively related to farm revenue. This study provides critical benchmark data to later determine the impact of effective use of these tools.

Tell Me Who You Are, I Tell How You Use Facebook: Exploring the Relationship Between Motivational Reactivity and Moral Foundations, and the U&G of Facebook
• Saleem Alhabash, Michigan State University; Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam, Michigan State University; Geri Alumit Zeldes, Michigan State University A cross-sectional survey of 854 college students explored the relationship between motivational reactivity and moral foundations, as individual difference factors, and the motivations and uses of Facebook. Results indicated that risk avoiders scored highest on all moral foundations. Additionally, the moral values of harm/care and authority/respect significantly and positively predicted the intensity to use Facebook, yet the results varied among the different groups of respondents as a function of motivational reactivity. Seven motivations to use Facebook (information sharing, self-documentation, social interaction, entertainment, passing time, self expression, and medium appeal) showed different patterns of prediction as a function of moral foundations and motivational reactivity. Findings are discussed within the framework of extending the uses and gratifications theoretical approach to include both cognitive/biological and social differences as predictors of needs, gratifications, and media choices.

Implications of Content, Quantity, and Quality of Mobile Phone-Mediated Social Interactions for Life Satisfaction
• Keunmin Bae Wireless technology-enabled mobile phones these days are equipped with various interpersonal communication channels, such as voice calling, various SNS apps, texting, video calling, etc. Therefore, users are able to make the best use of it for social interactions via those channels, which provides better opportunities to overcome the communication barriers of time and space. Using an online survey technique, this study investigated the causal mechanisms involving individuals’ social interaction motives for mobile phone use, the quantity, the content, and the quality of mobile phone-mediated social interactions, and their implications for life satisfaction, based on the theoretical grounds of relationship theories, uses and gratifications theory and social capital. Results showed motives for contacting close friends were positively associated with mobile phone use and with mobile phone-mediated self-disclosure. Motives for contacting acquaintances were not related to mobile phone use but negatively related to mobile phone-mediated self-disclosure. Mobile phone use was directly, positively associated with perceived social support, but indirectly with life satisfaction via social support. Mobile phone-mediated self-disclosure was directly related to stronger life satisfaction. Theoretical and practical implications of the results were discussed.

Harnessing Peer Potency: Predicting Positive Outcomes from Social Capital Affinity and Engagement With Participatory Websites
• Valerie Barker, Journalism & Media Studies SDSU; David Dozier; Amy Schmitz Weiss; Diane Borden A survey of a representative sample of 1,417 U.S. Internet users investigating positive outcomes from three groups of participatory Internet sites: content communities, ecommerce and social networking, showed that flow (intense engagement in and enjoyment of an activity) promotes satisfaction, affirmation, focused and incidental-knowledge gain. Social capital affinity (the value placed on interaction and identification with online peers) was found to facilitate flow. Internet self-efficacy did not significantly moderate the experience of flow.

Posting About Politics: Media as Resources For Political Expression on Facebook
• Stephanie Edgerly, Northwestern University; Kjerstin Thorson, University of Southern California; Leila Bighash, University of Southern California; Emily Gee, University of Southern California; Mark Hannah, University of Southern California, Annenberg School This paper explores political expression on Facebook during, and immediately following, each of the three 2012 presidential debates. Our focus is specifically on the use of media resources (i.e., images, videos, links) and sharing practices in posts about the debates. Based on a hand-coded sample of 583 public Facebook posts, we find that media resources are commonly used in acts of political expression, and that posts with media resources receive fewer comments.

Modeling Reality: The connection between behavior on reality TV and Facebook
• Patrick Ferrucci, U of Missouri; Edson Tandoc, University of Missouri-Columbia; Margaret Duffy, U of Missouri This study investigates how reality television viewing is linked to Facebook. Utilizing a survey of 736 students, researchers examined whether viewers of different genres of reality television were more prone to problematic information sharing on Facebook. The study found that all viewers of reality were prone to problematic information sharing. However, viewers of drama-, competition- and crime-based shows were most likely to share problematic information. These results are interpreted using social cognitive theory.

Mobile phones and participation: An exploration of mobile social media versus mobile social networking
• Jill Hopke, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Itay Gabay, University of Wisconsin – Madison; Sojung Kim, High Point University; Hernando Rojas, University of Wisconsin – Madison Mobile communication technology is nearing one hundred percent adoption globally, with the majority of usage now taking place in developing countries. According to the International Telecommunications Union, mobile broadband in developing countries is cheaper than fixed-broadband services. With these trends, scores of people around the world are going online for the first time via mobile phones, with much of this use happening in a social media environment. In this study we test the relationships between political conversation with heterogeneous and homogeneous ties, political participation, and online expressive communication. Our findings show that using Twitter, a form of microblogging, on mobile phones among the urban adult population in Colombia is associated with a higher likelihood for both online and offline forms of political participation, as well as online expressive communication. Using Facebook, a form of social networking on the other hand, on mobile phones is associated with higher likelihood for online expressive communication only. Implications for future research are discussed.

Development and Initial Assessment of a Measure of General Technological Self-Efficacy
• Tobias Hopp, University of Oregon; Harsha Gangadharbatla The purpose of this study was to develop and assess a measure of technological self-efficacy (TSE). Three samples were collected for this purpose. Sample 1 was used to reduce an 18-item pool down to 12-item pool of potential TSE indicators. Sample 2 was used to reduce the measure to a 9-item scale. Sample 3 was used to test to the validity of the scale. Initial analyses indicated that TSE scale possesses good psychometric properties.

News Media Activity on Twitter as Social Networks
• Jiran Hou, University of Georgia; Itai Himelboim This study takes a social networks approach to examine traditional media use of Twitter. Specifically, it inquires to the extent to which news media organizations take advantage of this social media platform to break from the traditional one-to-many approach, reaching audiences that do not follow them directly. We found that overall national TV networks on twitter – organizational accounts and their affiliated journalist accounts – reached audiences indirectly more than national newspapers. Interestingly, networks created by individual journalists reached more direct audiences, while organizations reached beyond their immediate groups of followers. Examining the hubs that help reaching indirect audiences, TV networks on Twitter were more likely to have non-media hubs tweeting about them, than newspaper networks. We conclude, among others, that TV networks on Twitter taking better advantage of Twitter in terms of reaching audiences that do not follow them directly via non-traditional media actors.

Sex Role Stereotyping is Hard to Kill: A Field Experiment Measuring Social Responses to User Characteristics and Behavior in an Online Multiplayer First-Person Shooter Game
• T. Franklin Waddell, Penn State; Jesse Fox; James Ivory, Virginia Tech; Adrienne Holz Ivory, Virginia Tech; Marcela Weber, The University of the South; Kwaku Akom, Virginia Tech; Desmond Hayspell, Southside Virginia Community College Behaviors that are proscribed in face-to-face communication, such as sex role stereotyping, may be disinhibited in anonymous online environments. A virtual field experiment (N = 520) in an online game examined the effects of player sex and communication style on compliance with friend requests. As predicted by sex role stereotypes, women who communicated positively earned greater compliance than women who communicated negatively, whereas men who communicated negatively gained more compliance than men who communicated positively.

Psychological and Physiological Reponses to Stereoscopic 3D Gaming: Exploring How Experienced and Inexperienced Gamers React to Shifts in Gaming Features
• Anthony Limperos, University of Kentucky; T. Franklin Waddell, Penn State; Adrienne Holz Ivory, Virginia Tech; James Ivory, Virginia Tech Advances in gaming technology have been made over the past 5 years, including the introduction of stereoscopic 3D in commercial gaming. This research employed a mixed factorial design to explore the relationship between type of game played (2D; 3D), game player experience (experienced; inexperienced), and participant sex (male; female) on feelings of presence and arousal. Results show that positive responses to stereoscopic 3D are moderated by game player experience. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Some Like it Lots: The Influence of Interactivity and Reliance on Credibility
• Tom Johnson; Barbara Kaye, University of Tennessee – Knoxville This study examines how interactivity and reliance influence credibility perceptions of 16 sources after controlling for demographic and political variables. Reliance proved a much better predictor of credibility, impacting credibility in 15 of 16 instances as compared to 3 of 16 for interactivity. This study also examined credibility of sources that have received little attention in the credibility literature such as social network sites, Twitter and smartphone news applications.”

The Lure of Grandkids and the Desire for Online Privacy: Why Retirees Use (or Avoid) Facebook
• Eun-Hwa Jung, Penn State University; Justin Walden; Ariel Johnson, The Pennsylvania State University; S. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University This study draws upon in-depth interviews (N=46) to evaluate retirees’ perceptions of social networking sites (SNSs). Interviews revealed six primary reasons for using Facebook (keeping in touch, sharing photos, social surveillance, responding to family member requests, convenient communication, curiosity) and six primary reasons for not using Facebook (privacy, need for media richness, preference for familiarity, triviality of communication, time commitment, frustration with site tools). Emergent findings hold implications for future research and SNS design.

Seriously Social: Young Adults, Social Media and News
• Kelly Kaufhold, Texas Tech University A survey of two large college populations found a stark, significant negative correlation between social media use, news use and being informed. Two scenarios were tested: A complementary-use hypothesis in which social media use aids news use; and a displacement hypothesis in which social media use impedes news use. Social media use was found to be significantly related to less news use and being less informed.

Opinion Leaders in Online Cancer Support Groups: An Investigation of Their Antecedents and Consequences
• Eunkyung Kim, University of Georgia; Dietram Scheufele, Department of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jeong Yeob Han; Dhavan Shah This study investigates the relationship between opinion leaders and psychosocial health outcomes in online cancer support group by considering two overarching questions: 1) Who are the opinion leaders? 2) What role do these opinion leaders play in explaining health outcomes? The findings suggest that opinion leaders had more psychosocial health benefits than non-leaders. There were different characteristics between opinion leaders and non-leaders in terms of race, personality traits, and psychosocial factors.

Advertising Structure and Consumers
’ Willingness to Pay for Memberships on Video Sharing Websites • Joonghwa Lee, Middle Tennessee State University; Vamsi Kanuri, University of Missouri; Esther Thorson, University of Missouri; Murali Mantrala This paper introduces conjoint analysis to examine consumer preferences for how commercials are embedded in online video streaming sites like HuluPlus, Amazon Streaming, and Yahoo Streaming. The advantage of conjoint analysis is that it provides an analytical tool for optimizing the structure of whether consumers have a choice of which commercials they watch, the duration of the commercials, how many of them there are, and the trade-off between these variables and various levels of membership pricing for the video site. Using a novel one limit Tobit regression with repeated measures, we demonstrate that consumers’ willingness to pay, derived using the preferences obtained from conjoint analysis, is significantly affected by advertising structure on online stream sites. However, Ad Enjoyment, a psychological variable measured as a consumers’ general attitude toward advertising, which has been shown in the literature to have a significant effect on consumers’ purchase behavior, did not contribute to the prediction of consumer willingness to pay.

From Media Literacy (ML) to Meida and Information Literacy (MIL): Rationales and Practices
• Alice Y. L. Lee, Hong Kong Baptist University This paper proposes that media literacy should be integrated with information literacy and ICT skills to form a new literacy concept of “media and information literacy” (MIL). MIL is regarded as a set of essential millennial competencies that young people needed in order to operate well in the 21st century. By analyzing the technological revolution, the transition to knowledge society and the participatory culture of the Net Generation, this paper explains the necessity of cultivating young people’s MIL so that they can become competent knowledge workers and responsible citizens in the emerging knowledge society. The practice of MIL in the city of Hong Kong was examined as a case study to explore how the MIL movement can be better launched in the coming years.

Social Media and Strategic Communications: A three-year study of attitudes and perceptions about social media among college students
• Bobbi Kay Lewis, Oklahoma State University; Cynthia Nichols, Oklahoma State University In previous research of college students’ attitudes and perceptions of social media, Lewis (2010) found education and curriculum have a significant impact on college students’ attitudes and perceptions of social media. Through situated learning theory, the current study explores the importance of educating students on how to employ social media strategically in the construction of knowledge and reality. Similar to the first two studies, the findings suggest college students who are exposed to social media in their coursework, rated social media significantly more positively than those who are not educated on how to social media as a strategic tool. The findings have implications for both communications industry and education.

Perceived contextual characteristics of online social networks as predictors of openness, activeness and diversity of information exchange
• Xigen Li; Mike Yao; Yang Liu; Heng Lu This study investigates the effects of perceived network characteristics on information exchange of online social network users. The results revealed that perceived network characteristics partly explain the behavior of information exchange in online social networks. Perceived network density positively and heterogeneity negatively predict the openness of information exchange. Perceived network density and network openness positively predict the activeness of information exchange. Perceived network centrality and network openness positively predict the diversity of information exchange. The findings of this study highlight the importance of communication context and confirmed information exchange as a concept with multiple dimensions. The effects of perceived network characteristics of online social networks on information exchange varied by openness, activeness and diversity.

Exploring Podcast Use Intent: Theory of Planned Behavior and Social Network Communication
• Yi Mou; Carolyn Lin This study incorporated perceived descriptive norm and social-network communication to the framework of the theory of planned behavior to predict podcast-use intent. An online survey was conducted with 396 college students. Results show that social network communication, descriptive norm, injunctive norm and attitude-related-to-podcasting technology significantly predicted podcast-use intent. Perceived behavioral control over podcasting adoption was not a significant predictor of podcast-use intent. Implications for theory building and future research directions are discussed.

Conditional Effects of Digital Media on the Knowledge Gap in the 2010 U.S. Senate Election
• Jason Martin, DePaul University This study analyzed the conditional effects of digital media on political knowledge using a mail survey of a random sample of registered voters in a 2010 U.S. Senate election campaign. The goal was to determine whether six different digital media activities related to campaign news significantly affected voter learning, and whether interactions of digital news use and education privileged knowledge acquisition based on socioeconomic status. Analysis found that after robust controls, news media website use produced a significant positive association with political knowledge in regression estimation, and that education had a conditional diminishing effect on knowledge as news media website use increased. However, other digital news activities, including use of social networking sites, online expression, and blogs, did not produced any significant effects on knowledge. These results indicate that in a Congressional campaign context, digital news holds the potential for producing a more egalitarian distribution of political knowledge, while more socially focused digital media activities tend not to inform voters about candidates and key issues. The implications of these findings and avenues for further research investigating digital media and societal inequalities in a political engagement context are discussed.

Incidental Learning as a Function of Complementary Simultaneous Media Use: The Mediating Role of TV Engagement
• Rebecca Nee, San Diego State University; David Dozier Television audiences are increasingly using portable communication technologies to multitask, lookup information online, check social network sites, and comment on the programs being watched. Although multitasking can distract audiences away from the TV content, the use of a second screen in a manner that complements the mass communication content is a unique phenomenon that may lead to positive outcomes. This study, based upon survey data collected from a national stratified random sample (N = 1,417), supports a theoretical model linking frequency of complementary simultaneous media use to engagement, which mediates incidental learning. Findings may be useful for mass communication scholars and practitioners seeking to understand the effects of dual electronic media use.

Looking for Gendered Privacy: Do Men and Women Differ in Privacy Skill and Confidence?
• Yong Jin Park, Howard University This study investigates whether privacy skill and confidence differ by gender, focusing on data protection and release. Analyses of a national sample revealed that gender had a positive association with confidence and skill in protection; however, gender had no effect on the extent to which data release was managed. Implications are discussed in light of Internet skill required for building privacy, and the role played by gender in signaling the need for policy awareness.

Hyperpersonal recovery from alcoholism: Negotiating social support between online and face-to-face support group settings
• David Jackiewicz, Kellogg Community College; Stephen Perry, Illinois State Members of Alcoholics Anonymous have differing perceptions of the social support received through attending online vs. face-to-face (FtF) AA meetings? An online survey assessed social integration, nurturance, and informational social support. Results indicate that higher CMC meeting attendance provided lower levels of social integration and informational support. CMC meetings did, however, provide the same amount of nurturance support as FtF meetings. AA members who attended more CMC meetings valued transferring knowledge between contexts the most.

Community Characteristics Influencing Municipal Use of Social Media
• John Remensperger, UNC; Daniel Riffe, UNC This study examines community-level characteristics and use of social media by local governments to interact with citizens. A structural pluralism model, and a local media competition model, measuring quantity and diversity of media outlets, were examined in relation to local government’s use of social media to promote deliberative democracy. Local media competition, as well as lack of educational and industrial diversity, had a significant, positive influence on adoption of social media by city governments.

Emerging Mobile Media Platform: Exploring Consumer Perception and Use of Tablets for Media Content
• Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, University of Florida; Ronen Shay, University of Florida This exploratory study utilizes a self-recorded video diary methodology to assess actual tablet users’ entertainment or informational media consumption experiences. It seeks to address: how users use tablets to consume media content traditionally distributed on other platforms; users’ perceptions on tablets’ relative benefits, accessibility, compatibility, usefulness, ease of use, and fun; tablet substitutability and complementarity among other media devices; and what adoption factors are most important to tablet users.

Comparing relationships among self-disclosure, social attraction, predictability and trust in exclusive Facebook and exclusive face-to-face relationships
• Pavica Sheldon, University of Alabama in Huntsville; Loretta Pecchioni The aim of this study was to compare friendship qualities in two types of relationships: exclusive Facebook friendships and exclusive face-to-face friendships. The term exclusive was described as being a very close relationship that is carried out primarily through one means of interaction. Based on Altman and Taylor’s (1973) social penetration theory, Berger and Calabrese’s (1975) uncertainty reduction theory, and Parks and Floyd’s (1996) personal relationship scale, this study measured one participant’s self-disclosure to an exclusive Facebook friend and to an exclusive face-to-face friend, as well as his or her social attraction to each type of a friend, predictability of that friend’s behavior, and finally trust in them. Results show that trust and predictability have the most influence on how much we choose to disclose to both our Facebook and our face-to-face friends. In addition, we will also be more socially attracted to those friends to whom we self-disclose more. Facebook relationships, however, are not “pure” relationships, and individuals disclose more to and have more trust in their face-to-face friends.

“Candy Crush”: Understanding the relationship between sensation seeking, locus of control, life satisfaction, and motivations for playing Facebook games • Pavica Sheldon, University of Alabama in Huntsville Despite online games’ constant evolvement, there has been relatively little research studying the positive aspects of game-playing. This article explores the motivations for playing Facebook games and individuals’ differences associated with it. Using data from a survey of adults 19-76 years old, results revealed that one-fifth of all participants played Facebook games. The main motive for playing games was the challenge of it. In addition, findings showed that those who spent more time playing Facebook games scored higher in external locus of control and were less satisfied with their lives. Women spent more time playing games than men. Individuals 35 years old and older spent more time than younger adults.

In Control of Enjoyment: Gameplay Difficulty, Performance Feedback, and the Mediating Effect of Presence on Video Game Enjoyment
• Brett Sherrick, Pennsylvania State University; Mike Schmierbach, Pennsylvania State University; T. Franklin Waddell, Penn State; Keunyeong Kim, Penn State University; Frank Dardis, Penn State University Difficulty of video games is often connected to enjoyment, as well as the concepts of competency and presence. This study attempts to extricate game difficulty from perceptions of player performance through separate manipulations of difficulty and performance feedback in the context of a casual puzzle-based game. Results suggest that game difficulty is more important than feedback on player performance in determining enjoyment. Further analysis shows that difficulty works through presence, not competency, in predicting enjoyment.

Coping with Information in Social Media: The Effects of Network Structure and Knowledge on Perception of Information Value
• Dongyoung Sohn, Department of Media & Communication, Hanyang University The explosive growth of social media has intrigued many scholars to inquire into why people willingly share information with others. However, relatively little attention has been devoted to how people determine which information they share in the networked environment. In this study, a 2 (network density – dense vs. sparse) x 2 (knowledge – expert vs. novice) x 3 (information valence – negative vs. neutral vs. positive) online experiment was performed to examine how the three factors interact and cross over in shaping individuals’ perceptions of the value of information for themselves and for others in the network. Results show that individuals’ perceptions of information value are influenced not just by the norms arising from group situations, but also by how the network environment is structured.

Facebook Use and Political Participation
• Gary Tang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Lap Fung Lee, School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Some recent studies have illustrated a positive relationship between social media use and political participation among young people. Researchers, however, have operationalized social media usage differently. This article adopts a multi-dimensional approach to the study of the impact of social media. Focusing on Facebook, the most prominent and widely utilized social networking site in Hong Kong, this study examines how time spent on Facebook, exposure to shared political information, network size, network heterogeneity, and direct connection with political opinion leaders relate to young people’s online and offline political participation. Analysis of a survey of university students (N=774) shows that participation is explained most prominently by direct connection with political opinion leaders, followed by network heterogeneity. These two variables also mediate the impact of network size on participation. The findings thus suggest that the political impact of social media is largely dependent on with whom people are connected via the platforms.

Self-Efficacy and Interactivity: A Content Analysis of Weight Watchers
’ Online Discussion Board • Ye Wang, University of Missouri – Kansas City; Erin Willis, University of Memphis Online discussion boards can facilitate interactive conversation related to self-efficacy within online weight-management communities because of its textual, asynchronic, and anonymous features. Conducting a content analysis of Weight Watchers’ online discussion board, this study examined the relationship between content that may influence self-efficacy and interactivity. Findings showed that discussion threads with stronger focus on self-efficacy were more interactive, suggesting that content related to self-efficacy contribute to a more engaging experience with online weight-management communities.

To Unfriend or Not: Exploring the Interplay of Traits, Self-Presentation, and Voyeurism for Keeping Facebook Friends
• Shaojung Sharon Wang, Institute of Communications Management, National Sun Yat-sen University The goal of this study was to explore the tendency for people to keep friends on Facebook whom they do not maintain frequent or regular contact with. Drawing upon theories on self-consciousness and self-presentation and individual differences, the paths from the Big Five personality traits and the tendency to keep friends through public self-consciousness and Facebook self-presentation were examined. The paths from Facebook voyeurism to keeping friends on the list through public self-consciousness and self-presentation were also assessed. The paths from Facebook voyeurism to public self-consciousness and Facebook self-presentation were particularly salient. The direct and indirect effects further provide empirical support for understanding the fluid and unsettling notion of mediated voyeurism.

The Effects of Game Controllers, 3D, and Dissociation on Presence and Enjoyment
• Kevin Williams, Mississippi State University One hundred and forty-six college undergraduates at a large Southeastern university played a racing video game and completed measures of spatial presence and enjoyment. Controller type (steering wheel and pedals versus traditional handheld controller) and dimension of the display (2D versus 3D) were manipulated. Measures of players’ dissociation experiences were taken prior to game play. Results indicated that controller type increased interaction with the game environment (a subscale of spatial presence) and enjoyment. Dimension significantly influenced neither presence nor enjoyment. Dissociation did positively predict presence but not enjoyment. No interaction effects of any of the independent variables were found.

Usability, Content, Connections: How County-level Alabama Emergency Management Agencies Communicate with their Online Public
• Susan Youngblood, Auburn University; Norman Youngblood, Auburn University Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) in the U.S. operate at federal, state, and local levels with a common purpose (Homeland Security, 2008). Local EMAs (LEMAs)—which like federal and state EMAs work “to prepare for, prevent, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents”—lay the groundwork for prevention and other activities; they coordinate with nearby LEMAs and local entities, including private and non-governmental organizations (Homeland Security, 2008). LEMAs have been studied little; most research on SEMAs and LEMAs has been limited to content-based research, providing an incomplete picture of how they serve their online publics. Functionality, usability, and accessibility are critical elements in evaluating e-government: if users cannot get to or find the content, the content becomes irrelevant (Bertot & Jager, 2006). This study addresses this gap by evaluating Alabama LEMA websites, based on a combination of existing EMA content rubrics and usability heuristics, factors that can affect user trust, and thus a site’s usefulness. It also looks at how Alabama LEMAs are using social networking on their websites. Among other findings, this study identifies common problems with logos, navigation, and accessibility. Furthermore, it highlights the surprisingly common problem of legacy sites and unofficial sites that seemingly represent LEMAs and compete for users’ attention. Problems within sites could make it more difficult for users to access information about their LEMA; competing sites also could cause problems for users, such as presenting users with inaccurate or out-dated information during an emergency.

The fandom publics: How social media mediate the formation of political collectivities
• Weiyu Zhang This paper investigates how publics are formed in the era of network society, specifically, how socially mediated fans become publics to challenge the power balance. A longitudinal ethnographic work over ten years, supported by online surveys and in-depth interviews, provides a rich description of the process of constructing publics in contemporary China, where a state-initiated marketisation shapes the development of both new and traditional media. This paper tries to empirically examine how a fan object, movies, turns into a public issue and how the fandom around movies becomes activism against censorship and commercial exploitation, through the mediation of social media.


Student Papers

Factors Affecting College Students’ Disclosure Intention Of Location-related Information On Facebook: Comparing Three Behavioral Intention Models • Chen-wei Chang, The University of Southern Mississippi The present study tested three existing behavioral intention models (Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)) to explore which model better explains college students’ disclosure intention of location-based information on Facebook. The findings suggested all three models achieved satisfactory predictions for college students’ behavioral intention, with the constructs of “attitude” and “subjective norms” from TRA & TPB models and “perceived usefulness” from TAM being considered significant factors. On the contrary, “perceived behavior control” from TPB and “perceived-ease-of-use” from TAM did not influence their behavioral intentions. Regarding the explanatory abilities from different models, TPB (R-squared=.536) and TRA (R-squared=.535) predicted students’ intentions to disclose geographic locations on Facebook better than TAM (R-squared=.246). Theoretical and practical implications for social media companies were discussed.

Technology use and interaction: A case study of a coffee shop
• Erin Christie, Rutgers University This study focuses on 3 different locations of a major coffee shop chain in order to investigate the interaction, the work-like activities performed, and the technological tools used by social actors. This study also extends our understanding of how work is conceptualized by accounting for face-work. By observing and interviewing those who work in this space, how technology is used for work-like tasks and the erosion of the boundaries between public and private are explored.

The New Face of Political Engagement? : Factors influencing political activity of users on social networking sites
• Priyanka Dasgupta, Nanyang Technological University; Jianxing Chi, Nanyang Technological University; Jinhui Li, Nanyang Technological University This paper examines the factors that influence political activity of individuals on social networking sites (SNS). Political activity is defined as ‘liking’ a political comment or post of another user, posting a political update or status, responding to another user’s post or comment and ‘friending’ or following individuals with similar political views. Data from a subsample of a 2012 Pew survey about Americans’ Internet use is analyzed. The analysis shows that frequency of use, perceptions of importance of SNS in politics, ideological extremity and offline discussions positively influence political activity on these sites. On the other hand, exposure to dissimilar views has a negative effect. The regression model consisting of the above mentioned variables explain a total of 45.2% of the variance in political activity on SNS. The implications of this study are discussed and future research directions are suggested.

A Tale of Many Tweets: How Stakeholders Respond to Nonprofit Organizations
’ Tweets • Jeanine Guidry While the characteristics of nonprofits’ Twitter use are relatively well documented, researchers have confirmed a lack of academic study into types of Twitter practices that are most effective for nonprofits. Existing studies focus on how organizations use Twitter, not on how publics respond. As a result, it is not known which types of tweets elicit greater engagement from stakeholders. In this paper I examine what types of tweets produce more engagement by nonprofits’ publics.

It was a Facebook revolution: Exploring the meme-like spread of narratives during the Egyptian protests
• Summer Harlow, University of Texas at Austin Considering online social media’s importance in the Arab Spring, this study explores the role of narratives and new technologies in activism. Via a qualitative analysis of Facebook comments and traditional news media stories during the 2011 Egyptian uprisings, this study uses the concept of “memes” to move beyond dominant social movement paradigms and suggest that the telling and re-telling, both online and offline, of the narrative of a “Facebook revolution” helped entice people to protest.

Can Extroversion and Gender Make a Difference? The Effects of HCI and CMC Interactivity
• Yan Huang; Zhiyao Ye; Ariel Johnson, The Pennsylvania State University Based on the difference in interactants, interactivity is broken down into two types: human computer interaction (HCI) and computer-mediated communication (CMC) interactivity. We tested HCI and CMC Interactivity effects with extroversion and gender as two moderators in the context of a movie site. A four-condition (i.e., HCI, CMC, HCI+CMC, and control condition), between-subjects experiment (N = 99) was conducted. HCI interactivity was operationalized by offering hyperlinks on the interface, whereas CMC interactivity was operationalized by providing comment function. Results showed that extroversion significantly influenced the effects of interactivity on web attitude. Gender was also found to moderate the effects of interactivity on user engagement. Moreover, the analysis yielded a three-way interaction between gender, extroversion, and interactivity on perceived interactivity. For example, when comment function was offered, for female users, the more extroverted they are, the higher level of interactivity they will perceive; yet for male users, the more extroverted they are, the lower level of interactivity they will perceive. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Factors Influencing Media Choices for Interpersonal Communication : Comparing Cell Phones, Instant Messaging, and Social Networking Sites
• Eun-Hwa Jung, Penn State University The purpose of this study is to explain how people communicate with each other via different media (i.e., voice call on cell phone, SMS on cell phone, instant messaging, and social networking sites). To explain the communication phenomenon, this study employed the theories of media richness and uses and gratification approach. Based on the concept of these theories, this study primarily discussed the selection of communication media in different motivations through the attributes of a given medium. Additionally, the moderating role of self-monitoring in the relationship between motivations and attitude toward each medium was examined. The findings of this study contribute to understanding the interpersonal communication in the media convergence environment.

The Medium is the Mind: Personalized Algorithms, Habit and the Self-Confirming Cyborg
• Amanda Kehrberg, The University of Oklahoma In 2009, Google effectively universalized search personalization, a trend that many online services were soon to follow. In order to personalize search results to each individual user, Google analyzes data from a number of cues and past selections, including: search history, web history, use of other Google services, previous search and click behavior, location, and language and country restriction (Fox, 2007). Personalization has profound effects on both information access and identity formation in the networked age, suggesting an upheaval of the traditions of technological determinism as explicated by McLuhan (1964) and Postman (1985). Indeed, in an era of algorithms increasingly designed to mirror human neural pathways, it is instead the mind that is the metaphor for the medium. A theoretical framework is proposed for understanding the vast implications of the mind as medium, including key concepts such as: plasticity, memory, the cyborg, artificial intelligence, and Mead’s conception of the self. Potential for future research is suggested on the continued structuring of technology to replicate the mind’s natural tendency toward an epistemology of habit.

Advocacy, Entertainment and News
—An Analysis of User Participation on YouTube • M. Laeeq Khan, Michigan State University; Jacob Solomon, Michigan State University YouTube videos falling in three major classifications—advocacy, entertainment and news were analyzed. This paper studies the role of anonymity in commenting behavior on YouTube videos. Comments were categorized as being appreciative, criticisms, flames and spam. Contrary to the common belief that YouTube videos are characterized by widespread flaming, it was found that even with anonymous user names, a majority of comments posted were appreciative as compared to derisive. Analysis also revealed that anonymity played a key role in the overall frequency of comments. The ratio of comments type varies by video type; whereby criticism is most prevalent in news/politics videos, appreciation is most common in advocacy videos, while flaming is most prevalent in entertainment videos.

Silencing the Mainstream: The Online Public Discourse Constructed by Social Auto-sharing, the Long Tail and the Spiral of Silence
• Minjie Li, Louisiana State University Characteristics of media contribute to the form and direction of public discourse and influence people’s ways of thinking and behaviors. Auto-sharing, as a fundamental opinion expression mechanism of social media, reforms public discourse through transforming previously private activities into a new form of public message. With people’s fear of negative evaluation, the Spiral of Silence offline might be duplicated and strengthened online, which might weaken the Long Tail—the Internet’s ability to bridge non-mainstream products to target audiences—through reducing people’s willingness to share what they really like. The present study examined the existence and relationship of the Long Tail and the Spiral of Silence on the social music platform Spotify to see whether auto-sharing made the Internet more heterogeneous or homogeneous. The findings demonstrate that Spotify’s auto-sharing facilitates the discovery of and revenue from non-mainstream music. Also, the Spiral of Silence only exists when people listen to mainstream music.

Social Media and Civic Engagement in China: Microblogging Revolution and Policy Change
• Yang Liu; Dongya Wang While increased research attention has been given to the rise of the Internet in the context of China, the role played by social media and how it is enhancing the development of civic engagement have been less explored. Intending to fill this gap, this research examines how social media has promoted civic engagement in China and to what extent this new technology can bring changes to policies in this country. Based on first-hand information collected from tweets, the authors applied a qualitative research method to study how civic engagement focusing on the Wenzhou high-speed train collision was initiated and aggregated on Sina Weibo, the leading microblog service provider in China. The study elaborates about how Weibo users in China joined hands with mass media to exert influence policy changes.

Homophily and Proximity of Network Links of Chinese Journalists
’ Online Professional Group in the Micro-blogosphere • Yusi Liu, Tsinghua University The paper focused on the homophily and the proximity of linking patterns in the Chinese journalists’ online professional network in micro-blogosphere. Using the relational and attribute data mining from all 295 journalists in Sina Weibo to examine how the homophily factors, including the same gender, working media type and online discussion interest, and the proximity mechanism in terms of the same geographic location and work unit affected them to connect with each other in three situations of (1) linked network, (2) mutual network, and (3) cohesive network. Results showed that homophily and proximity linking had positive impact on the journalists’ online professional group network significantly. In the linked network, journalists from the same work unit, as well as whom shared the same topic, were the strongest two predicators, while the former one was outstandingly influential to build double-sided connections, the latter predictor became stronger for the journalists to consociate in the same cohesive subgroup, showing the potential of micro-blogosphere for the self-organization based on the same interests among professional group members of the Chinese journalists.

A Floor Analysis of Online News Discussion on Facebook and the New York Times Website
• Shuo Tang, Indiana University Using computer-mediated discourse analysis, this study focuses on how Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 media differ in the floor-taking pattern, especially in user participation and interaction, in news discussion CMC. Four threads of commentary on a news story from the New York Times website and its Facebook page were analyzed and compared. The results suggest that the difference between traditional online media and social media could not fully account for the variance in the floor-taking behavior. The form of CMC, synchronicity, and the format of thread interface also affect how participants take and control the floor. Therefore, social media platform might not necessarily creates more participatory democracy and reduces hierarchy in CMC.


Open Competition

Do You See What I See? Partisan Perceptions of Online News • Pamela Brubaker, Brigham Young University This study explores how hostile media perceptions are influenced by online news sources (blogs and online news sites) with and without source biases aligning with or opposing partisans’ issue positions. Partisans (N = 760) who strongly supported and opposed the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage participated in an online experiment, which was made available to blog readers. The news source’s bias and partisans’ political characteristics played distinct roles in shaping judgments of online media messages.

An Examination of Personality Factors, Motivations, and Outcomes associated with Smartphone Gaming
• Hark-Shin Kim; Juliann Cortese This study explores how motivations for playing smartphone games related to gamers’ psychological antecedents and outcomes of smartphone gaming (playing time and game genre preference). The regression analyses suggested that each motivation was predicted by a different subset of personalities and smartphone gaming behaviors were predicted by instability traits. Different motivations predict inconsistent smartphone gaming patterns between in a typical weekday and weekend. Each genre preference for smartphone games was predicted by different motivations.

Mobile Phone Interference with Life: Texting and Social Media Interruption during Studying
• Junghyun Kim, Washington State University; Prabu David, Washington State University; Jared Brickman; Weina Ran; Christine Curtis The smart phone offers an array of features that make multitasking and task-switching very easy. Though these features could enhance productivity in many ways, excessive task switching can interfere with work and efficiency. In this study we examined the effects of task-switching while studying among 1,053 college students. Specifically, we examined mobile phone interference in daily life (MPIL), which was operationalized as deprived self-control in regulating media use when trying to focus on a required primary task, such as studying or doing homework. Findings indicate that texting, social media, and music are the main activities that students switch to and from when studying. Active listening to music and participation in texting or social media while doing homework were predictive of mobile phone interference. Further, women and owners of smart phones reported higher mobile phone interference as did those with more Facebook friends. Given the lack of consensus measures of task switching of media multitasking, bundles of common multitasking activities, frequency of engagement in specific activities within a bundle, and the allocation of attention to specific activities within a bundle examined as separate measures. While these measures were significantly correlated, the correlation coefficients did not exceed .3, suggesting that these measures capture different aspects of the complex media multitasking experience. The findings underscore the importance of measuring both frequency and attention allocation in tandem for multitasking experiences. The results also raise the possibility that compulsive task switching may be symptomatic of dysfunctional use of technology.

Searching for sickness online: The new world of cyberchondriacs
• Carolyn Lagoe; David Atkin, University of Connecticut This study examined factors which may influence health information seeking intentions among adults. A sample of 245 American adults participated in the study. Most participants reportedly sought information from non-government health websites, online forums, government health websites and/or health professionals online. Results show that information seeking was positively predicted by health anxiety and Internet self-efficacy. By contrast, gender, neuroticism and Internet use were not found to be predictors of online health information seeking.

Using the Technological Acceptance Model to Examine iPad/Tablet Computing Adoption Intentions of K
–12 Educators • Ed Madison, University of Oregon; Tobias Hopp, University of Oregon This study used the technological acceptance model and partial least squares modeling to examine the adoption intentions and investment beliefs of K-12 teachers as they relate to use of iPads/tablet computing devices in the classroom. The results of the study indicated that perceived usefulness played a substantive, direct role on behavioral intentions to adopt iPads/tablet computing devices. Moreover, a mediation analysis indicated that perceived usefulness mediated the relationship between perceived ease of use and behavioral intentions. Finally, behavioral intentions were a significant and substantive predictor of teacher support for district investment in iPads/tablet computing devices.

Is Internet accessibility a complement or a substitute for other forms of communication in rural America?
• Adam Maksl, Indiana University Southeast; Esther Thorson, University of Missouri; Seoyeon Kim; Alecia Swasy This study tests complementarity, substitutability, and enhancement theories of new media use. We discuss how people in small-towns use the Internet, and what effect years of Internet use has on other communication behavior. We found those with more years of Internet experience showed increases in entertainment-based TV viewing, interest in news, interactive participation with news media, and several indicators of social capital. However, there was no change – particularly no decrease – in traditional news media use.

Heavy and Light Tweeters and Non-Tweeters Watch the Presidential Debates
• Esther Thorson, University of Missouri; Eunjin Kim; Alecia Swasy; Joshua Hawthorne, University of Missouri; Mitchell McKinney, University of Missouri This paper asks about the demographics and political orientations of those who tweeted during the 2012 Presidential debates. It also investigates their motivations for tweeting. Finally, it tests whether tweeters watch more of the debates, and whether they engage in other “social watching” behaviors in addition to tweeting. These questions are asked in the context of a developing theory of television consumption that involves “social watching,” that is, communicating with others either in person or digitally while engaging with television programming (Authors, 2013).

Social Media and Mobiles: Examining the Moderating Role of Online Political Expression in Political Participation
• Masahiro Yamamoto, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; Matthew Kushin, Shepherd University; Francis Dalisay, University of Hawaii-Manoa Results from a web survey conducted during the 2012 U.S. presidential election indicate that the effects of using mobile apps and traditional online media for political information on online political participation were stronger among those who express political opinions online more frequently than those who do not. Also, online political expression enhances the effects of using mobile apps, traditional offline and online media, and social media for political information on offline political participation.

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