IAFOR Publications Executive Editor: Joseph Haldane The International Academic Forum
IAFOR Keynote Series Gary E Swanson Mildred S. Hansen Endowed Chair and Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence University of Northern Colorado, USA Editor: Melissa Choi Assistant Editor: Mai Hasuno
Published by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Japan IAFOR Publications. Sakae 1-16-26-201, Naka-ward, Aichi, Japan 460-0008 Executive Editor, IAFOR Publications: Joseph Haldane Photo provided by Alexander Pratt, Japan IAFOR Keynote Series Summer 2013 IAFOR Publications ÂŠ Copyright 2013 ISSN: 2187-4905 (Online) http://iafor.org/keynotes.html
MediAsia 2011 The Asian Conference on Media and Mass Communication Osaka, Japan Keynote Address, November 5 2011 Professor Gary E. Swanson
Last year, as part of its Digital Diaries campaign, Internet security company AVG alarmed parents with its discovery that, on average, children have an online footprint by the time they're six months old. The company found in its research even more eye-opening statistics about how much more adept kids are at digital skills than “life skills”. According to their study, a whopping 69 percent of 2-to-5 year olds can operate a computer mouse, but only 11 percent can tie their own shoelaces. As computers have increasingly provided new channels of communication, scholars have taken an interest in CMC, or computer-mediated communication in general, and the impact of personality traits and other previous circumstances of preference for face-to-face or computer channels. The field of communication has been responsive to the profound changes that have occurred since the advent of online communication. Some communication scholars identify “computer-mediated communication” as their specialty; journals have been created; and professional associations, such as the International Communication Association, have divisions devoted to the study of communication technology. -2Increasingly, introductory textbooks include chapters or sections pertaining to the impact of technology on communication in interpersonal, small group, and organizational contexts. An examination of published research, however, reveals few standardized measures various CMC-related constructs, which presents a problem for scholars interested understanding the attitudes and dispositions of large populations. The limited number appropriate measures is no doubt due, in part, to the relative youth of the field as well to researchers’ needs to tailor instruments to their specific studies.
of in of as
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau as early as 2005 indicated that 67.8% of the population of the United States uses the Internet. Extensive survey data gathered as part of the Pew Internet & American Life Project concluded that: “E-mail is the most common use of the Internet at home” and ”Many American youth say that instant messaging, has become an essential feature of their social lives. Relationships are now nourished by the
ease and speed of instant message exchanges and e-mail messages. Difficult conversations with friends are now mediated by the emotional distance the Internet provides”. -3TEXTING Text messaging has become the easiest and most common way that young people communicate with one another. In 2010 it was reported that 75 percent of young teens ages 12-17 own cell phones and nearly the same number of all teens are text messagers. Text messaging is a more preferred form of communication among this age group than using voice communication over a cell phone, talking on a landline, face-to-face conversations, social networking sites, or e-mail. Of teenagers who are text messagers, onehalf of them send 50 or more text messages a day and 14-17 year old girls are the most active text messagers. We interviewed one male student from the University of Northern Colorado who admitted to texting 26,000 text messages in one month. That’s an average of about one text every minute for 15 hours straight, every day, for 30 days. FACEBOOK A study conducted by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research found that one-third of women ages 18 to 34 check Facebook first thing in the morning, even before brushing their teeth or going to the bathroom (Webley). Additionally, of more than 1,600 adults surveyed on their social media habits, 39% are self-described ‘Facebook addicts’, about 57% of women in the 18 to 34 age range say they talk to people online more than they have faceto-face conversations, and 21% admit to checking Facebook in the middle of the night (Webley). -4Another study conducted by two psychologists, and reported by MSNBCNews, showed that college students who use Facebook while completing their homework “wind up getting 20 percent lower grades than students who don't have the social networking site in visual range, or even running in the background”. Facebook users had a typical grade point average of 3.06, while “non-users” had an average GPA of 3.82 in the 19-54 age group of the 219 university students polled (Choney). ON-LINE GAMING On-line video games can be just as addicting as Facebook. The danger is that a player often has a disregard for consequences since actions can be repeated and are reversible. The emphasis in these games is on the thrill of the moment and ultimately getting the prize. Young people, who often feel powerless in their daily lives, suddenly have the ability to command armies, drive and crash cars, and wreak havoc on a virtual world with no real-life consequences (What).
World of Warcraft, released in 2004, is arguably the most popular computer game in the world. It is also a form of social networking. Commonly referred to as WOW, the game has over 11.5 million subscribers worldwide. Four of five WOW players are male and on the average will spend 22.7 hours per week competing. Online interaction is quickly replacing real-world interaction for many who play online games and a recent study of World of Warcraft “revealed that 39.4% of the men and 53.3% of the women felt their online gaming friends were equal to or better than their real-life friends. -5The same study however suggests that players spend most of their time playing by themselves rather than interacting with other players”. (Chen and Duh) YOUTUBE YouTube, another innovative form of social media was launched in 2005. It’s video-sharing website has most recently been used to display videos of war in the Middle East and criminal activity. So-called Citizen journalists are able to report in areas the typical news media don’t have access to and readily post to the internet website. YouTube is viewed in 51 different languages and exceeds 2 billion views a day worldwide on computers and over mobile cell phone devices. What effect does all this media exposure have on people? Common Sense Media reports that the average child spends 45 hours per week watching TV or using other electronic media. While the average play-time of video games is about eight hours per week, some 8.5 percent of America’s youth are “clinically addicted”, averaging about 16-18 hours a week (Video). It’s also reported that this overexposure of media is leading to obesity, tobacco use, pre-mature or undesirable sexual behavior, drug use, alcohol use, depression, low academic achievement and ADHD. Ezekiel Emanuel, lead researcher for a New York Times study says, “The results clearly show that there is a strong correlation between media exposure and long-term negative health effects to children”. -6RATIONALE FOR SCALE DEVELOPMENT It is no surprise, given the pervasiveness of computer-mediated communication or CMC, and in all it’s forms, that scholars are intrigued with its potential to affect individuals in myriad ways, as well as with understanding individual differences in the use of electronic communication. What leads some people to engage in CMC extensively and others to shun online communication (deemed “net evaders” or “net dropouts”) is an important question. Undoubtedly, there are many factors that influence the use of CMC, including affect for computer-mediated communication channels. That is, individuals develop positive or negative affect toward channels of communication through their experiences with and perceptions of these channels.
However, there is no published measure of affect toward e-mail or other forms of computer-mediated communication. E-mail, is an asynchronous (delayed) form of CMC, whereas instant messaging (IM) is a synchronous (immediate with delayed response) online form. Face-to-Face communication is synchronous but nonmediated. Whether one develops positive affect for a particular channel clearly depends on its characteristics. For example, the asynchronous nature of email can diminish the potential anxiety associated with the demands of spontaneity (Kelly et al., 2004), thus reducing perceived face threats, increasing self-perceived competence, and producing positive affect for e-mail. -7There are two areas of CMC-related theory and research that would likely benefit from a standardized instrument assessing affect for computer and other communication channels: The first area is communication reticence and cognate constructs such as shyness and communication apprehension. A considerable percentage (48%) of young adults in Western societies report shyness; thus, large numbers of people experience fear and avoidance of face-to-face (FtF) communication. Shyness experts Carducci and Zimbardo in 1995 offered the provocative and, on the surface, contradictory claims that technology is “ushering in a culture of shyness” and yet that computer-mediated communication may be ‘‘the perfect medium for the shy”. The field of communication has studied reticence, which has many similarities to shyness in that both are problems with cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. My colleague James Keaten from the University of Northern Colorado & co-author Lynne Kelly from Harvard University define reticence in their study as the following: (PP) “When people avoid communication because they believe it is better to remain silent than to risk appearing foolish”. Reticent individuals tend to avoid FtF communication, particularly in face-threatening situations. At issue is whether those who are reticent (or shy) use CMC in place of other “richer” media such as FtF communication or the telephone. Do they choose to use CMC as a replacement for FtF communication? -8How might this affect their personal and professional relationships, and what is it about computer-mediated communication that draws them to it? A second area of communication theory and research that could potentially benefit from a new measure of affect toward CMC concerns media choice in general and channel preferences for interpersonal communication (e.g., Kelly, Keaten, & Finch). This line of research and theory addresses individuals’ choices of communication channels and the reason they make the choices they do.
Dr. Keaten conducted a survey at a mid-sized western U.S. university involving 238 undergraduate volunteers consisting of 65% females and 35% males. The average age of participants was 19.7 with 90% of the sample ranging from 18 to 22 years. Of the choices regarding dislikes associated with CMC three dominant themes emerged accounting for 72% of the comments offered. (PP: Impersonal, Technology-based, and Lack of immediacy). The primary dislike (38% of comments) was the impersonal nature (Theme #1) of CMC (e.g., cold, no emotion; businesslike; less genuine; not as much personality). -9Percentage of Comments About CMC Likes and Dislikes by Reticent Group ___________________________________________________________________
No. Category Reticent (%) Nonreticent (%) _____________________________________________________________ Likes associated with CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Speed Control Efficiency and convenience Reduction of negative affect Meeting new people Directness Overcomes distance Small talk Miscellaneous
21.8 7.7 42.3 17.9 1.3 3.8 0.0 1.3 3.8
27.0 4.1 54.1 4.1 0.0 4.1 0.0 1.4 5.4
Dislikes associated with CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Impersonal Deception Separation Trivial Misunderstanding Immediacy Technology Inconvenient Miscellaneous
34.1 2.4 7.3 2.4 7.3 19.5 14.6 12.2 0.0
39.7 6.3 4.8 3.2 4.8 11.1 23.8 0.0 6.3
Journal of Communication 2007 International Communication Association
Typical comments included, “It’s like talking to someone who isn’t there,” “Through the computer it [communication] is just words on a screen with very little, if any emotion,” and “It can be troublesome to write a personal message to a friend, especially if it refers to a problem!”.
-10The second most common theme (20%) was technology based (e.g., problems with technology, junk mail, not as reliable, computer illiteracy, security). Frequent comments included, “Computers are just too unpredictable to count on,” “I don’t like all the junk mail I get,” and “The only thing I dislike is computers because I don’t know how to use them”. The third theme (14%) pertained to the lack of immediacy when using CMC (e.g., no nonverbal cues, cannot hear the other person’s voice, no interaction). Although this theme was similar to the first theme (impersonal), it was distinct because participants referred specifically to a lack of nonverbal information (e.g. tone of voice, facial expressions). The following three comments illustrate: “Nothing can substitute for facial expressions and body language”, “I don’t like communicating with friends by e-mail because you can’t see their feelings” and ‘‘The biggest problem with computer communication is not being able to see a person’s reaction to what you said”. Statistically, the healthiest children are the ones who spend less than two hours a day on electronic media. Most teenagers would probably struggle with the idea of having such a limited amount of time in a day to watch TV, Facebook, text, go on YouTube, or play video games. It is nearly impossible to completely remove social media from our lives; so the trick is to maintain a healthy balance so that the problems associated with media overconsumption do not become a part of our lives. -11In summary, computer-mediated communication (CMC) research is important in general and in both theory and research focusing on communication channel preferences. Reticence as a predictor of online communication would likely benefit from the development of a standardized measure of affect toward communication channels. It is imperative that we find a standardized method for evaluation to be able to scientifically document the positives and the negatives of social media usage with this cohort and with future generations. Thank You!
Gary E. Swanson is currently the Mildred S. Hansen Endowed Chair and Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at the University of Northern Colorado, USA. From 2005-2007 Professor Swanson was a Fulbright scholar to China and lectured at Tsinghua University and the Communication University of China. In summer 2008 he was Commentator for China Central Television International (CCTV-9) and their live co coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games. Swanson repeated his assignment covering the London Olympics for CCTV-4 this past summer. Previously, he was professor and director of television for nine years at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University where he taught mostly graduate broadcast students. He has been an educator for 26 years – 20 years spent teaching at the university level. Swanson is an internationally recognized and highly acclaimed documentary producer, director, editor, photojournalist, consultant and educator. He has given keynote speeches, presented workshops and lectured at embassies, conferences, festivals, and universities throughout China, South Africa, India, Papua New Guinea, Japan, The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Greece, Germany, Jordan, Spain Spain, Portugal, Peru, the United Kingdom and the United States. Swanson has compiled a distinguished professional broadcast career spanning 13 years: From 1978 to 1991, Swanson worked for the National Broadcasting Company where he was honored with national EMMY’s for producing and editing: “The Silent Shame,” a prime-time investigative documentary; “Military Medicine,” a two-part investigative series on NBC News; and “Hotel Crime,” an investigative news magazine piece. Swanson was an editor for “breaking news” and features for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, the Today Show, Sunrise, Sunday Today, NBC Overnight, A Closer Look, Monitor, and other prime time news magazines. Swanson covered “breaking news” in 26 states and Canada for the network including trips and campaigns of presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Bill Clinton. Swanson was the Fulbright distinguished lecturer and consultant in television news to the government of Portugal in 1989. In 1992, he covered the XXV Olympics in Barcelona, Spain for NBC News as field producer and cameraman. Swanson has earned more than 75 awards for broadcast excellence and photojournalism including three national EMMY’s, the duPont Columbia Award, two CINE “Golden Eagles,” 16 TELLY’s, the Monte Carlo International Award, the Hamburg International Media Festival’s Globe Award, the Videographer Award, The Communicator Award, the Ohio State Award, the CINDY Award, the 2011 Communitas Outstanding Professor and Educator award, the 2012 Professor of the Year award, and many others. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana with a Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1974, and a Master’s degree in Journalism in 1993. The keynote address was delivered at the Third Annual Asian Conference on Media and Mass Communication on November 4 2011 in Osaka, Japan.
iafor keynotes ISSN: 2187-4905 www.iafor.org