Thanks to the kind invitation by associate research fellow with tenure Dr. Tyng-Ruey Chuang at the Institute of Information Science, I will give a research seminar talk on Tuesday, 23 December 2014, titled “Big data industry of online expressions and attention“. Continue reading
Thanks to the kind invitation by the Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong, I will give a talk on Monday, 15 December 2014, titled “Chinese Internet: A Cultural Sphere, National Sphere, or Transnational Public Sphere”, as one of the research seminars. Continue reading
Normally I avoid the U.S. vs China comparison mainly because the comparison can sometimes be contrived, misleading, or simply partial. Still, I made an initial comparative analysis of the U.S. and China on the topic of “Public Trust in Government”. The essay is published here by China-US Focus I believe it is an interesting and adequate comparison because both are big countries with different levels of governments, and it is interesting to compare how Internet play a role in terms of varied levels of trust in their respective local vs. central/federal governments. Ultimately, it is a social communication and political communication question on how a political system can scale at different levels with different outcomes.
The main argument:
The relationship between the central and local governments in China has been an interesting research topic, Lieberthal (1992) called it “fragmented authoritarianism” and Landry (2008) conceptualized it as “decentralized authoritarianism”. I would like to argue that the role of Internet has been instrumental to centralize the control by the central government so that the fragmented and decentralized local powers can be monitored and disciplined.
Researchers and users may feel frustrated or even powerless when they encounter machines/systems such as search engines. They are like a black boxes, controlled by big companies. Not valued corporate users who get paid premium service, not Google engineers who know more about the data and algorithm, we normal users know little about the inner working inside. In this blog post I will argue that, even if the search engine companies prevent us from knowing the inner working of the black box, we can still *steer* the outcomes by creatively and systematically feeding the new inputs based on what we know from the outputs. The whole process is theoretically supported by the scientific theory of control theory, the science/engineering work that help human beings to steer a car, fly an airplane, etc. so that we can harness the power of *engines* without knowing the inner working of engines. Continue reading
Two days ago, a Chinese-language newspaper in Taiwan reported an infographic map by Randal Olson, which reported the Google autocomplete results to gauge the curiosity of users on a topic such as “Why is Taiwan …”. I have done something similar but with much wider geographic and linguistic choices on the topic “Mothers should” in a previous post, here I want to demonstrate the power of Baidu Suggest (similar to Google’s autocomplete service provided by the major search engine in mainland China) to gauge the curiosity of *Baidu users* (a significant presentation of mainland Chinese users) using *simplified Chinese-language* queries on the topic of major East Asian countries, the Unite States and two major Chinese cities (Beijing and Shanghai). Continue reading
The comparative efforts along the line of Arabic versus Chinese have produced some interesting work in answering why, in 2011, there is Arab Spring/Revolution but no Chinese Spring (e.g. Atlantic, JIA SIPA, The Diplomat). I was in Washington D.C. at that time, as a visiting research fellow on International Values, Communications, Technology, and Global Internet, reflecting on then current affairs in all their historical complexities. After all, revolutions (even just the modern ones) are not that foreign in Arab and Chinese histories, but somehow *modern* revolutions in both worlds do have some mixture of native and foreign elements. Now I want to share this historical reflection so that the central question of “foreign influence” can be better discussed. I argue that modern revolutionary attempts always have some *foreign* dimensions because of the need for radical ideas to challenge the status quo, but for revolutionary ideas to gain popular support, they must somehow have voice-aggregation mechanism that works for them to overcome both technological and linguistic barriers to connect. Continue reading
The gamer community in mainland China and Taiwan reported the GamerGate event. Technews.tw called it Gamergate incident（「Gamergate 玩家門」事件）. Mofang.com called it “Gamergate: a big discussion caused by a sex scandal of female developers”「玩家门:一场由女开发者性丑闻引发的大讨论」. I believe there is a need to introduce some ongoing academic discussions (mostly in English) to Chinese-language online discussions. Here I translate the information of one dialogue initiated by the International Communication Association（國際傳播學會）： Continue reading