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Social  Media   A Nus Undergraduate Responsibility Producer:Da  Xuan   [Oct  28  2013]  


l Social media  definition  and   classification     l How  to  promote  environment   project  using  social  media?     l Social  media  regulations  in  China   and  Singapore     l Social  media  cause  harm  to   independent  thinking     l Editor’s  note      


Social Media

Definition and Classification

Social media  is  a  new  way  to  communicate.  In  contrast  with  

traditional media  such  as  newspaper  or  radio,  social  media  enables  all   the  users  to  interact  instantly  and  generate  information,  owing  to  the   Web  2.0  technology  that  was  developed  about  a  decade  ago.  For   students  at  the  National  University  of  Singapore  (NUS),  social  media   plays  an  important  role  in  both  their  social  and  academic  life.  To   widen  their  social  circles,  NUS  undergraduates  make  use  of  social   networking  sites  such  as  Facebook,  Twitter  and  Instagram.  They  post   photos  and  updates  of  their  life  and  share  interesting  videos,  stories   or  their  favorite  books  and  movies.  By  exchanging  such  information   and  sharing  mutual  interest,  they  can  find  new  friends  as  well  as  keep   in  touch  with  old  friends.  Information  spread  really  fast  through  a   chain  of  sharing.  Thus,  some  campus  activities  are  organized  using   social  media  platforms  and  the  outcomes  have  usually  been   successful.  In  NUS,  social  media  is  also  used  to  enhance  learning.   According  to  Centre  for  the  Development  of  Teaching  and  Learning,  a   blog  site  called  Wiki  let  users  from  NUS  write  blogs,  comment  on  each   other  and  share  academic  resources,  especially  for  group  working.  It   changes  the  traditional  way  where  students  in  most  time  learn   individually.  In  Wiki,  students  share  their  work  and  help  each  other   tackle  problems.  It  increases  students’  learning  efficiency  and   improves  communication.  To  sum  up,  social  media  gives  NUS   undergraduates  a  new  method  to  communicate  in  both  interpersonal   relationship  and  in  academic  area.  Students  now  have  more   interaction  with  others  and  the  awareness  of  good  cooperation   increases.  


How to promote

Student interest  groups  devoted  to  

promoting the  environmentally   friendly  actions  in  NUS  should   consider  using  social  media.  It  can   raise  the  profile  of  the  group  or   organization  and  more  students  will   be  encouraged  to  join  the  activities   that  are  publicized  using  social   media.  A  good  example  is  the  Earth   Hour  Organization.  Their  success  in   using  social  media  platforms  such  as   Facebook  and  Instagram  win  them   official  support  from  Jamaica’s   government  in  2011,  

Environment Project according to  “Social  media  helped   promote  Jamaica’s  first  Earth   Hour”.  Facebook  is  an  ideal   platform  given  its  immense   popularity  among  undergraduates   in  Singapore  and  its  remarkable   ability  to  connect.  Here  is  how  one   can  achieve  the  goal  of  promoting   pro-­‐environment  behavior.  It  is   important  to  start  by  having  a   Facebook  account  with  an  attractive   design.  It  does  not  mean  to  have  as   many  unnecessary  decorations  as   possible.  

Instead, a  simple  and  clean  one  with   emphasis  on  the  topic  will  be  much   better.  Second,  update  frequently   and  interact  actively  to  get  more   attention.  Try  to  avoid  preaching  and   make  the  content  appealing.  It’s   important  to  show  enthusiasm   because  it  can  persuade  others  to   help  the  environment.  Further   interaction,  like  responding  to   comments  and  questions,  may  turn   momentary  curiosity  to   participation.    

Third, use  Wiki  to  complement   previous  efforts  on  Facebook,  as  all   NUS  students  have  access  to  Wiki.   Post  blogs  about  experiences  of   those  activities  or  start  a  discussion   on  wiki  to  attract  classmates  or   project  partners.  Based  on  the   experience  of  interest  groups   dedicated  to  promoting   environmental  causes  through  social   media,  the  steps  described  above  will   very  likely  work  for  any  one  with  a   similar  purpose  in  mind.  

Using social Media?  


Social Media Regulations in China and Singapore

China and Singapore are both


racial riot like the one in 1964. Like China, Singapore is determined to preserve social stability. According to Fann Sim (2012), in 2012 a Chinese scholar from NUS was expelled from his scholarship because he posted insulting remarks about Singaporeans without any qualification in his microblog. Such irresponsible behavior caused a lot of unhappiness and anger in society and both Chinese and Singaporeans suffered. Issues like this can go viral easily on the social media and the development will soon go beyond the student’s own control. Social media is powerful both in good ways and bad ways. As NUS undergraduates and responsible citizens, we have to take responsibility for our behaviors online.

famous for their strict regulations on social media and are both sometimes criticized for suppressing free speech by the West. Regulations in China focus on controlling potential challenges from politically ambitious organizations, such as Falungong. Thus the political censorship on the Internet is harsh. A number of certain political words cannot be posted because they are listed as “sensitive words”, including “Falungong”, “Tiananmen Square Protests”, ”corruption” and even “police”. The ruling party takes a cautious attitude towards social media because growing discontent may be fanned out of control online and may escalate to severe turmoil. The government in Singapore is cautious because it wants to avoid another


Social media Cause harm to Independent Thinking The immediacy of social media can bring harm to independent thinking. Information acquiring today is very different from what it was in the past. According to Titterton G. (2009), CNN and BBC now rely on ordinary people who are at the scene besides official or trusted sources to provide timely updates. People get immediate and flooding information from Facebook or twitter. Such fast pace leaves

them little time to dwell on one piece of information and in fact, they don’t care if it is true or not any more because the next wave of information keeps coming. Many people stop questioning, stop seeking truth and stop thinking critically. Getting Information has never been so easy and quick that people just grab and swallow it. People become extremely credulous when they quit 1     2   3     4  

thought about it independently. They just followed others blindly but their power pushed the US government to take actions that should have had further discussion. In conclusion, the immediacy of social media provides such an easy way to obtain information that people become too lazy to think. Their dependence on ready answers and information will eventually harm their independent thinking abilities.  

thinking. This also results in herd mentality. A good example lies in viral campaigns, like Kony 2012 from Consumerism Trumps Education: The Kony 2012 Campaign. When the video went viral online, billions of people became the campaign’s fanatical advocates overnight for reasons they were actually not clear about. They had little knowledge about the context of the issue and had hardly  




Editor’s notes Communication through social media cannot be effective if its users do not behave in a responsible manner. Responsibility does not only mean to obey basic rules and follow etiquette, but also means to take action actively. Social media is a very powerful tool. Good ideas get chance to spread while pernicious influences can be magnified for hundreds of times. As NUS undergraduates, it is our responsibility not to use social media for harm but to benefit the world. We have to be polite and respectful. Our language should not cause offence. We should not disseminate untrue facts or rumors. The consequences of these irresponsible online behaviors can be serious for it is well known that there are strict laws against offensive remarks related to race and religion. On the other hand, by observing the rules of appropriate use, we can benefit from the exchange of ideas through social media platforms such as Wiki which is designed to enhance our learning. Using social media to promote environment project on campus can bring significant positive influences to our life. We cannot simply define social media as good or bad. It is the trend of era, which we are not able to change, but what we can do is to use social media safely and responsibly. References • Author  unknown  (2011).  Correspondence:  “Social  media  helped  promote   Jamaica’s  first  Earth  Hour”Retrieved  from­‐soci al-­‐media-­‐helped-­‐promote-­‐jamaica’s-­‐first-­‐earth-­‐hour/   • Fann  Sim  (2012).  NUS  student  Sun  Xu  punished  for  'dogs'  comment.   Retrieved  from­‐scholar-­‐sun-­‐xu-­‐s-­‐scholarship-­‐termin ated.html   • Titterton  G.  (2009).  The  Immediacy  and  Power  of  Social  Media.  Retrieved   from­‐immediacy-­‐a nd-­‐power-­‐of-­‐social-­‐media/   • Author  unknown  (2012).  Consumerism  Trumps  Education:  The  Kony   2012  Campaign­‐luttrellrowland/consumerism-­‐ trumps-­‐educat_b_1337067.html            



SM2 Social Media Magazine  

Producer Da Xuan B17

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