Social media and communication behavior

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This book is the result of the course 'CNM4881A: Topics in Media Studies: Social Media", taught in the communication program at the Department of Communication and New Media at the National University of Singapore. It is a class project, hopefully turning into a real wikibook at some later point in time.

The class was accompanied by

  • Some presentations on YouTube
  • Class readings, available on request from the contributors.



Preface 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019

Introduction 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

This class is a tour of the theories and mechanisms explaining some of the behaviors on social media.

  • What is big data? Why is social media a type of big data?
  • What is a social media platform? What is *not* a social media platform?

Concepts & Theories 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

  • Many communication theories were proposed before social media even existed. So why do we use communication theory to study social media?


Measurements 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

Case Studies:

  • Changi Airport’s social media strategy
  • Shawn Mendez’ rise to fame
  • Grumpycat.

Self-presentation on social media 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

  • Explain “imagined audiences” in your own words. What are some key findings about imagined audiences?
  • Explain “ego-centered” in your own words. What are some key findings about ego-centric networks?

Audiences & social ties 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

  • Explain Bordieu’s philosophy about social capital in your own words.
  • Explain Granovetter’s philosophy about social networks in your own words.

Networks & contagion 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

  • Explain homophily and identify instances of homophily in social networks.
  • Explain diffusion of innovation. Apply it to explain any one popular incident/common phenomenon on social media.

Designed affordances of social media 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

  • What is a public sphere? What are its essential features?
  • What is public deliberation? What are its essential features?
  • According to you, which social media platform is the closest to a deliberative public sphere? Why?

Social media in current affairs 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

  • Give three specific fields of social life where social media has had an impact.
  • Within these fields, identify instances where the impact has been positive.
  • Identify instances where the impact has been negative.

Algorithms in social media 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

  • Give some instances where recommendations based on algorithms (on social media or elsewhere on the internet) a good thing for everyone?
  • Give some instances where they can be a bad thing for the consumer?

Ownership & privacy 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

With the advent of the internet, with search engines and social web, with internet banking and hackers, the terms privacy and security have gotten a new meaning. To protect and control them has become an important issue.

  • Who owns the data that we post on a social network?
  • Who owns the survey responses once we submit them to a researcher?
  • What can we do to protect our data?
  • What can corporations/researchers do to protect the data we consensually give them?

Ethics in, of, and for social media data 100% developed  as of Dec 2, 2019[edit]

  • What is the minimum hourly wage in Singapore? What is the minimum hourly wage in the United States?
  • What is the minimum or average hourly wage for an Amazon Mechanical Turker in the United States?


Additional References[edit]

Appendices[edit]