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A Semester in Review

Fall 2018 has seemed to zip by very quickly. During this Thanksgiving season, the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication staff are reflecting on the active and exciting semester that is now drawing to a close. The CCMC is very fortunate to have Fellows and Affiliates who are engaged in the intellectual life of the Center. Here are some of the highlights from this past semester that we are thankful for:

1. We had the opportunity to host thought-provoking and exciting talks from Fellows at IU and our Affiliates in far-flung universities.

We were able to host three events – two talks and a panel. Dr. Jing Ge from the University of California, Berkeley presented her recent research on emoji sequences and the way emoji use is taking on characteristics of language. The audience for her talk overflowed the presentation room. It was also exciting to see so many Fellows and Affiliates from different universities and disciplines demonstrate how our intellectual community is tackling important societal problems during the panel we organized on Authenticity, Believability, and Deception. Each of our panelists -- Dr. Alan Dennis, Dr. Fil Menczer, Dr. Asta Zelenkauskaite, and Dr. Massimiliano Demata -- approached the problem of fake news, trolling, and political discourse from different approaches and perspectives. The panel inspired us to think about how research can make real-world contributions. We were also very fortunate to be able to co-host a visit by Dr. Jannis Androutsopoulos from the University of Hamburg during the last week of October, during which he gave two talks. His presentation on Style in Digital Punctuation illustrated how non-standard punctuation in online communication can be used to accomplish interactional goals.

2. We welcomed a number of new Fellows and one Affiliate to the Center.

New Student Fellows:

Jason Yi-an Chen – 1st year Ph.D. student, Linguistics
Brent Hale – 4th year Ph.D. student, The Media School
Holly Lopez Long – 1st year Ph.D. student, Information Science
Yijun Shi – Visiting scholar, Information Science
Ying Tang – Visiting scholar, Information Science
Shuo Tang - 4th year Ph.D. student, The Media School
Meina Zhu – 2nd year Ph.D. student, School of Education

New Fellows:

Dr. Danielle Kilgo – Assistant Professor of Journalism, The Media School
Dr. Jessica Lester – Associate Professor of Inquiry Methodology, School of Education
Dr. Filippo Menczer – Professor, Informatics
Dr. Sung-Un Yang – Associate Professor of Journalism, The Media School

New Affiliate:

Dr. Jing Ge – Postdoctoral Researcher in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

We are pleased to welcome these bright Ph.D. students and innovative faculty researchers to the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication’s intellectual community.

3. We got to catch up with some of our Affiliates and Fellows and learn about the exciting research they have been working on.

For instance, Dr. Trena Paulus has been advocating for language-based research methods through her research examining service interactions via chat and narrative construction on crowdsourcing platforms. Dr. Lionel Robert is researching how people interact with robots in small group communication. Dr. Deborah Chung has been researching citizen journalism and how professional journalists view their contributions to the field. Dr. Alan Dennis’s current research is contributing to our understand of the role that biases play in the spread and consumption of fake news. Each of these scholars is adding to the way we understand the effect of digitally-mediated communication on society. We appreciate the diversity of expertise and innovation that they bring to our intellectual community.

Looking back on this semester, we feel grateful. We can’t wait to see what the next semester brings!

Talk by Dr. Jing Ge, University of California, Berkeley

On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, Dr. Jing Ge will give a talk titled, "Communicative Functions of Emoji Sequences on Sina Weibo."


A focus on the meanings, functions, and social uses of single emoji can no longer capture and portray the full picture of how emoji function in computer-mediated communication (CMC). In addition to modifying, illustrating and substituting for words, social media users string emoji together creatively to form sequences that function like utterances in online conversations. The innovative and complex ways that users employ emoji sequences raise challenges for theoretical and practical understandings of emoji use and for the design of graphical elements in CMC. This talk reports on a study that analyzed the pragmatic meanings conveyed through emoji sequences and their rhetorical relations with accompanying text, focusing on posts by social media influencers and their followers on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site. The emoji sequences were found to function like verbal utterances and form relations with textual propositions, although their usage differs from textual utterances in several respects. Moreover, Weibo users innovate in creative ways that make the sequences more language like. Thus although there is not (as yet) a fixed grammar of emoji sequences, the evidence points directly to the creation and use of an emergent graphical language in CMC. This research provides a conceptual map for non-Chinese users to effectively deploy emoji to communicate with Chinese social media users and generates new insights to inform emoji design in social media systems.

Biographical Note:

Jing Ge is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Anthropology Department and Co-Chair of the Tourism Studies Group at University of California, Berkeley. She has a Ph.D. in Marketing Communication from the UQ Business School at the University of Queensland, Australia and has close to 10 years of online communication industry experience. Her research focuses on computer-mediated communication (CMC), the language businesses and consumers use on social media, and humour. Her current interests include visual semiotics and graphicons in CMC. In her times away from research, Jing does long-distance trail running and drives a high-performance car on the track.

The talk will take place 3-4:30 pm in room GA 1060 (first floor, Global and International Studies Building).

Fall 2018 Graduate Course: Content Analysis for the Web

Course number: ILS-Z642
Instructor: Susan Herring, Ph.D.
Day and Time: Tuesday 5:45 - 8:30 pm
Location: IF 0002
Contact Information:
Office: IF 0115
Office Hours: T 4:15-5:15 pm and by appointment

Web Content Analysis, narrowly defined, it is the use of traditional content analysis methods to analyze text, image, and video content on the web. Broadly defined, Web Content Analysis can also be the analysis of all types of web content (including links, tags, interactional features, history logs, etc.), using a range of analysis methods, including, but not restricted to, traditional content analysis.

This course covers both perspectives, through guided hands-on analysis of samples of web data of the student’s choice. Methods are first presented through the readings and lectures, focusing on features and links, text, images, and video. Students then apply the methods to their data samples, share their findings in brief oral presentations, and write them up in 3-4 page reports. The final term paper applies one or a combination of the methods in a conceptually-focused analysis of a larger data set.

Fall 2018 Graduate Course: Social Media and Organizations

Course number: ILS-Z604
Instructor: Younei Soe, Ph.D.
Day and Time: M,W 4:00 - 5:15 pm
Location: IF 0002
Contact Information:
Office: IF 2111

This course examines how users of social media and involved organizations employ information acquired through social media. It covers a theoretical understanding of communication and information exchanges with new media, analysis and evaluation of social media use within various kinds of organizations, and discussions of social and cultural issues that pertain to social media use.

In this course you will learn how to evaluate organizations’ social media strategies and identify issues in those strategies, critique arguments and contentions relating to social media use, use social media analytics tools and make suggestions for improving social media strategies for a specific organization.

This course is designed for master’s level students. There are no prerequisites. All majors are welcome. If you’re looking for a professional position, this course gives you a way to think strategically about a potential employer—for example, developing topics for discussions during future job interviews.

Fall 2018 Mixed Graduate and Undergraduate Course: Computer-Mediated Communication

Course number: ILS - Z399/Z543: Computer-Mediated Communication
Instructor: Ashley Dainas, Fourth Year Ph.D. Student
Day and Time: Mondays 5:45 - 8:30 pm
Location: IF 0002
Contact Information:
Office: IF 2122
Office Hours: T 4:30-5:30 pm

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is the human-to-human interaction that takes place via computer networks such as the Internet, as well as via mobile digital media. Invented in the 1960s and expanded initially over the Arpanet (the precursor of the Internet), CMC has grown at a dizzying rate over the past five decades to become as ubiquitous as such taken-for-granted communication technologies as radio, the telephone, and television.

Historically, most CMC was text-based; examples include email, mailing lists, web forums, chat, MUDs, Instant Messaging, text messaging (SMS), blogs, microblogs, and wikis. Starting in the mid-1990s, multimodal CMC also became important, in the form of video chat, audio chat, and graphical virtual worlds— and, of course, the World Wide Web. The most recent decade has seen a trend for CMC to converge with other media applications, such as social network sites, video sharing, multiplayer online games, and interactive television.

This course covers practical and theoretical issues associated with social media and computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies, including email, web forums, chat rooms, instant messaging, text messaging, mobile apps, blogs, microblogs, wikis, social network sites, media sharing sites, virtual worlds, and multiplayer games. It focuses on the effects of social media and CMC on identity, interpersonal relationships, group behavior, and the social structures that emerge when people use social media and CMC. Other topics covered include online language use, blended online-offline communication,communication in convergent media environments, and avatar and robot-mediated communication.


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