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SYMC Presentation Session 2 @ Block 68E

Transcript of Session 2 @ Block 68E. This was mostly on Internet research.

Internet Dangers: Impact of Pornography & Violence on Youths
Prof. Angeline Khoo
National Institute of Education

• PAGI – Parents Advisory Group Internet
• Boys continue interest in porn compared to girls who decline
• Touch Community, MCYS: Use Peers to guide 15-16yrs

‘Blog Thyself’: What Singapore Youths reveal in Weblogs
Masturah Ismail
National Institute of Education

• “Push Button” democracy
• Most persistent expression of identity online: ‘liminal’ space between public & private
• Ongoing conversation; comments
• Blogs allow for continuity with past
• Blog variations: rejected publications, update friends on local / foreign issues / outlet for emotive / artistic expression
• Imprint Uniqueness by modifying templates
• Blog of Ex-government scholar now graduate student
• Political blogs
• Anonymity vs privacy vs credibility
• 12 year old schoolgirl
• virtual vs real selves: Xiaxue blog
• Why reveal factual details?
• Hyperreality require bloggers to validate using traditional documents that undersign identity
• Challenging authoritative discourse: Identity negotiation & experimentation
• Invite unique perspectives that challenge authoritative discourse (rebel)
• Challenging subjectivities
• Identity play – acts of identification & differentiation

SYMC Morning Panel on Youth & Media

Here is a transcript of this morning’s SYMC panel session on youth & media. The audio recording was way too soft for me to fix, so I’m not putting it up.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Minister for Education

Full speech now online
• Singaporean Youths labelled as Political Apathetic
• Not just a Singaporean problem, but an international issue as well
• Minister of Education and even the Prime Minister addressed this issue
• Advent of Web Blogs, Tsunami mobilization by students
• We need not just the dissemination of information, but a way to galvanize societies into taking action

Mr Han Fook Kwang
Editor in Chief
Singapore Straits Times

• Younger population not reading newspapers, though the actual figures are actually better than other countries in terms of penetration of young newspaper readers (92%)
• Internet is at the epicenter of 26th Dec Tsunami event
• Straits Times newspapers have to compete online, with CNN, Google News, Blogs
• How do newspapers stay relevant to a world of instant communication?
• Bill Gates predicted death of newspaper in 2000
• Engaging the young is a life and death business
• Tried very hard to tap broad readership of 1.3 million readers (15yrs onwards)
• Lifestyle and sports section most popular
• IN newspaper and Youth Inc for youth
• Govt wants youth to partake in active citizenship, get them to shape the future
• ST wants to encourage greater diversity to encourage the young to be engaged
• “To be yourself” means restless, questioning, non-conforming
• Great challenges = Great Opportunity

Mr Shaun Seow

• In US elections, more youths voted in 2004 than any other year
• Politics now at grassroots
• MTV’s Choose or Lose: Wanted 20 million, 21 million showed up
• Music for America
• Star Power for politics
• What media can do for youth involvement in politics:
– Act as catalyst – “Politics is Local” Tip O’neil
– Help to inculcate sense of community and belonging (this is where you live)
– Show diversity in views (we need to be inspired by hero and role models)
• DPM had a TV session with students; same as when Bill Clinton met students in a town hall
• TODAY newspaper: take outside contributions
• Believes in packaging of political content
• whack-a-pol – Interactive media
• Youth: age group most looked at, but least listened to
• Media is a cheerleader for youth pursuit
• Passion to act for fellow citizens; be a leader
• Singapore Idol example of activism, democracy
• Imagine channeling this energy to politics
• Jim Rohn’s quote: But not you

Mr Ang Peng Wah
Dean @ School of Communication
Nanyang Technological University

• Idealism
• Youth should channel their dynamism, energy
• About OB markers
• Singapore is one city, unlike US with many cities, thus Singapore is sensitive to change
• Sense of moderation is good for Singapore


MacRitchie to Bukit Timah Briskwalk
As featured on Zaobao Weekly
The sousveillance backpack as featured in ZaoBao Weekly, a Singapore Chinese newspaper. It’s part of my social cyborg project. Here’s a similar English article in a computer society magazine.

“… so just who’s this Kevin guy?”

Name: Kevin Lim
Affiliation: The Media Socialists (see our twitter crowdstatus)
Major: Communication (Internet Research)
Location: School of Informatics, University at Buffalo (SUNY)
Interests: Trendspotter, Mac Evangelist, Gadget Pornographer
Maxim: “Always remember how fortunate you are and contentment won’t be far”
Social Networks: View Kevin's profile on LinkedIn View Kevin's Friendster profile View Kevin's Facebook profile

Scott Johnson's "Kevin the Lifecaster" Kevin Lim studies and shares his interest in the wide-ranging cultural affordances of technology, focusing particularly on the pedagogical aspects of social media. Through the use of popular culture, he makes it easy to understand various online phenomena via his blog.

Presently in the field of communication, his research work has ranged from the anti-censorship of China, multi-dimensional regulation of online spam, social capital among online non-profit organizations, and the influence of blogs on purchasing decisions. He also gives social media related workshops and produces user-centric guides at the Teaching & Learning Center (TLC), located in the University at Buffalo (SUNY) [Google Map].

Challenging notions of virtuality, Kevin’s transformation into a social cyborg has him constructing a modular multi-camera networked backpack. This unique backpack allows him to experiment with lifecasting as a physical embodiment of ambient presence to his online readers. The setup also acts as a memory prosthetic, allowing him to “never forget” as first-person memories are captured and made “deep searchable” through a combination of keyframe tagging, thumbnail flipping, face & speech recognition, and GPS location awareness. See “How to never forget: The story behind Kevin’s wearable cameras“.

As a result of his eccentricity, Kevin has been spotted on:

Kevin has spoken at various public, academic and technology events, including:

Being a gadget pornographer, Kevin also enjoys doing product reviews which has since included:

Video reviews aside, he also produces a podcast / videocast called theorycast. There you’ll see interviews with cutting edge social science academics, folks who run Web 2.0 startups, as well as coverage of interesting trends in the physical and virtual world (my belief is that we live in multiplicity simultaneously, rather than distinctly disassociated worlds).

Some of his favorites books include Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace by Larence Lessig and The Cluetrain Manifesto by Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger.

Feel free to contact him for his take on social media. Kevin is also available for relevant interviews and speaking engagements.

My Personal Timeline
If you’re hungry for more, here’s some additional tidbits about me…

February 2008
Working on my dissertation about social discourse through the Internet in China. Taking into account how the Internet originates from Western libertarian ideology (it’s decentralized), this communication technology clashes with the Chinese society which lives as a Confucian civilization. The study will cover issues from the perspective of the PRC government, corporate stakeholders as well as the Chinese netizens as an interplay with the Internet being shaped by these social forces.

January 2007
Wow, my first time teaching classes of my own! I taught both COM125: Intro to Internet (Social Media) and COM242: Effects of Mass Media at the UB-Singapore program, located at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). I love the faculty, staff and all 75 of my students! Check out these photos to believe…

June 2006
Don’t do a PhD. If you’re not sure, don’t even try. It can be a lifesucking experience if you’re not the person for the job. I’m honestly trying to measure up to expectations, and the advice I get from those who’ve finished their dissertation is the same: Don’t Give Up. Interestingly, most of them tell me it took them two years to get their dissertation done. I hope to finish mine faster than that.

November 2005
I put up a Google Map + Blog Aggregator mashup to track Singaporeans in the North American region at

September 2005
I felt the need to share my knowledge, so I organized an evening workshop to Singaporeans in Buffalo to show them the virtues of blogging. Once they got comfortable with the idea, I tried to foster greater community spirit by creating a specialized blog aggregator at

July 2005
A lot has happened since 2001… I’ve finally settled down on theory.isthereason, using this blog as a place for collecting personal and public memories. Now that I’ve been studying for five years straight, for some reason I feel less innovative than before where I was engaged in various different ventures.

September 2003
I started an online portfolio for my videography at

February 2001
I started blogging through Blogspot and FTP at (it’s been hijacked since).

August 2000
I leave my beautiful home, Singapore, for my overseas undergraduate studies. I miss home… love it being a densely “wired” country. For now, I focus on my Communication degree, here in the University at Buffalo, the State University at New York (SUNY). Buffalo’s a quiet little place, not as happening as Singapore nor York City itself, but this is a good locale for studying.

February 2000
Completed my National Service on February 2000… It was a fantastic experience! We even got to learn riding dirt bikes (scramblers) through rough terrain. I’ve been trained as a 3rd Guards Brigade Reconaissance Specialist, Deputy (2nd Commander) in a tactical team of four. Having been through months of training, I’ve experienced physically and mentally challenging situations. The Jungle Hat is a hard-earned symbol of our pride in the School of Military Intelligence.

June 1999
I’ve always loved the breaks that DJ Tony Tay spins at Phuture (Zouk). Never did I imagine that a whole new music scene of local jocks would soon emerge. Spinning progressive dance tunes that were never heard on local radio, these fresh and alive local jocks tore the floor up with scorching sounds of Techno, melodic high of trance or the dirty “digging” sounds of breaks. The scene became hypervibrant with people bringing back ideas to Singapore from their overseas studies. I guess it was only natural that a dozen of us formed a music organization called Frontal, to help drive the DJ scene even further. Like the other music groups, we setup gigs at all sorts of places, talked to people from all sorts of industries and marketed our sounds to the “up-for-it” public. Frontal is now made up of various DJs spinning trance, techno and breaks. For some of our DJ mixes, check out our site at

February 1997
My friends and I enjoyed listening to local indie bands so much that we decided to do something to help promote the music scene. So the three of us got to know our favourite bands better and came up with the non-profit music web site called Greg did most of the editorial stuff (he had a band too!), Racheal did the marketing/PR while I did the technology bits. Substitute featured stories, interviews, how-tos with loads of images, and streaming audio. Due to Racheal’s amazing marketing efforts, we got a little fame on newspapers, music magazines and radio shows. Singaporeans around the world began to listen in to Substitute as their primary source of local flavored music. The response was fantastic and we soon found ourselves overwhelmed as more bands and fans wanted more… I guess we became the first real dot.bomb as we felt that we couldn’t keep up the pace. We enjoyed working at it but the grunt work came too much to bear. Substitute’s still up till today thanks to the generosity of WebVisions, a great web hosting company.

Blogging Beyond Yourself…

Now that the Singapore Youth & Media Conference 2005 has concluded, I discovered (literally to my horror) how youths in Singapore view blogs as simply a way for people to keep online (very public) diaries or journals. Even more interesting was how factual such blogs are, complete with the young blogger’s name, location (e.g. school), age and even contact, instead of using a moniker! I asked weblog presenter Masturah Ismail from the National Institute of Education whether this was an “Asian thing”. She remarked that she doesn’t view blogging as having geographical distinction, but I seriously beg to differ. I think this is a cultural issue that might be worth investigating… that is, do youths use blogs differently depending on culture?

While personal blogs are very popular, political blogs truly are an excellent example of how blogs can really be effective towards communicative action. It is a form of activism which I see as not only healthy, but essential. While political blogs exist in Singapore, they are not the only way in which blogs can be used. There are research blogs, which mine tries to be but tends to be personal in nature too. As my professor says, personality adds a sense of authenticity to your work… your signature. Just what other kinds of blogs do we have? I’m sure much more, but to end for now, consider the potential of educational blogs. While not new, deploying it on a mass scale to all students in a particular school can be a daunting undertaking. Just read this news article from BBC today…

On a number of campuses in the United Kingdom, blogs have begun to migrate from the technology fringes to the mainstream of educational tools. At the University of Warwick, more than 2,500 students and staff have signed up for the university’s blog service, making it one of the largest academic blogging operations. John Dale, head of IT services at Warwick, said, “We believe that blogging may open new opportunities for students and staff.” Robert O’Toole, a Ph.D. student at Warwick, said his blog has allowed him “to speak to academic communities across the U.K. and [to gain] knowledge from strangers. Blog[ging] has allowed me to write in a single place almost daily and develop things in fairly cohesive fashion.” Esther Maccallum-Stewart, a history researcher at Sussex University, uses a blog in her research and her teaching. She said her blog has become an invaluable part of her work and argued that academic institutions need to avoid becoming “too insular, constructing their own language and cliques which do nothing to promote the getting of knowledge.” On the other hand, David Supple, Web strategy manager at Birmingham University, cautions universities not to rush into new technologies. He advises considering how best to implement tools such as blogs “without creating legal and reputational issues for the institution.”

Source: BBC, 23 January 2005

In the US and European countries, I’ve seen how blogs are used as a “swiss-army knife” communication platform. How a blogger uses it depends very much on his imagination. Perhaps Singaporean youths have not realized the potential democratic/equalizing power blogs have to offer as an alternative media to the mainstream. Perhaps this is due to the diffusion of innovation issue of blogs being invented in the US and has not been fully realized in Singapore?

Singapore Youth & Media Conference 2005

I’m all set to give my SYMC presentation tomorrow on our research study entitled “The Internet & Social Capital: Exploring the Web presence of Youth Organizations for Civic Engagement”. There’s quite an interesting lineup of presenters at this conference, which will be attended by fairly well-known personalities in the various media and governmental agencies. Prof. Pauline Cheong and I have been working continuously on furthering this study. We’ve recently managed to interview a few organizations in our sample on how they use the Internet as a means for communicative action with their community of members. We certainly hope for SYMC to provide good exposure for our study so that we can improve our work by making it more relevant to community-based organizations.

If you’re interested in our study, you may download our report on “The Internet & Social Capital” below. I only ask that you leave your contact should you wish to be updated on our research:
Research Paper (PDF)
Related Appendices (PDF)
Quick Definition on Social Capital (Web Link)