2012 i3 Research Projects
Xavier Dillahunt, North Carolina A&T State University
Denzel McCollum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kevin Murray, University of Pittsburgh
Austyn Shaner, University of Texas at Austin
Kathryn Vogelbacker , University of Pittsburgh
Research Advisor: Rosta Farzan, University of Pittsburgh, School of Information Sciences
Dream Team will investigate how online videos go viral through further research of video characteristics, commonalities, sharing methods, and trends. The Team will also consider the social and cultural implications of viral media in its research. Dream Team will explore different aspects of how viewers interact with viral videos using social media. Within the category of viral videos, Dream Team has chosen to focus specially on amateur videos. The label 'amateur' is limited to videos that are homemade, do not have household names, and do not include celebrities or existing famous people. The Team plans to study viral videos that fall into different viewer ranges, sorting videos according to themes (e.g. political, humorous, offensive, informative, musical, instructional, or other). The Team will then analyze these videos for commonalities to better understand the factors that cause a video to go viral. Lastly, Dream Team will test its findings and conclusions by creating and sharing a video that is meant to go viral.
Elaine Gomez, Rutgers University
Armanda 'Mandi' Gonzalez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Samuel Jacobs, North Carolina State University
Maria Rebeca Orozco, Washington State University
Research Advisor: Joe Sanchez, Rutgers University, School of Communication and Information
Although the increased presence of women and girls in gaming culture seems encouraging, many games continue to reinforce existing gender stereotypes. Consequently, a variety of negative social issues are often connected to gaming, ranging from the prevalence of violence against women and the depiction of the female body as a sex object to women and girls' limited interest in STEM fields. Past research has reaffirmed that the majority of females are generally disinterested in technology-related areas of study, and by extension, video games. Fewer than 20% of workers in the gaming industry are female, of which only 3% represent game programmers. Team GAMERS will investigate the current generation of gaming consoles (e.g. Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3, and the Nintendo Wii). Specifically, the Team is interested in the gender gap among players that play "hardcore games," a term used to describe games that generally make the top selling list and require time, comprehension, and/or effort in order to play and master. In its research, Team GAMERS intends to learn why female gamers play games, which games they prefer, with whom do they play games with, the level of intensity at which they play, and whether they immerse themselves enough to not only consume but generate game experiences. The Team will also consider issues relating to hypersexualization of genders in the gaming industry, both in-game and out-of-game, the common stereotypical tropes of primary and secondary female characters, and sexism in the online console gaming and gaming tournament worlds. In doing so, Team GAMERS will be able to identify approaches to game design and game marketing that appeal to both genders.
Team Time Zone Scholars (TZS)
Raul Corral, East Los Angeles College
Sook Yee Leung, Chatham University
Ryan Pink, The College of Westchester
Gregory Roper, Oakwood University
Jamar Smith, University of New Mexico
Research Advisor: Marisa Ramirez, California Polytechnic State University, Robert E. Kennedy Library
During the rise of social media and its use in politics, there has been speculation of social media becoming the medium for re-engaging citizens in politics. Social media has the potential to address reasons for political apathy, such as the lack of a voice to appeal to administrators, and the lack of gratification in participating in political activities, or the high likelihood that political engagement will meet few direct and urgent needs. While there has not been specific research on measuring the connectedness sentiment in political engagement, there has been previous sentiment analysis research on politics regarding how the public feels or responds to issues of interest, particularly with Twitter data. Much sentiment analysis research has been employed to develop predictive methods on the outcomes of political elections. Comparing use and sentiment from Twitter data from periods before, during, and after the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 Team TZS aims to answer the following questions:
- RQ1: Upon comparing the 2008 to the 2012 Presidential Elections periods, to what extent has online political engagement increased (e.g. daily Tweet post frequency, daily retweeting frequency)
- RQ2: Upon comparing the 2008 to the 2012 Presidential Elections periods, has the increase in social media use for politically related activities led to an increase in offline engagement?
- RQ3: Upon comparing the 2008 to 2012 Presidential Elections period tweets, is there a greater frequency of words associated with connectedness in tweets during the 2012 Presidential Election period?
Research Advisor: Lynette Kvasny, Pennsylvania State University, College of Information Sciences and Technology
With the increased usage of social media tools in society, people have begun to blur the separation between their digital and offline identities. Different social media environments are more conducive for posting non-personal information, while others require some amount of personal information in order to create a profile. Many people feel that their social networking profile is a mirrored portrayal of their personality. As a result, personal information and people's offline identity is more easily accessible than it once was. Digital identity is the social identity a user establishes on online communities to function as a presentation of the users. Social media environments often have user behavior norms that do not allow users to be viewed as multidimensional individuals but rather show who a person is in relation to other people or things. The overall goal of this research is to investigate the connection between digital identity and identity negotiation on social media environments. This research will also examine the relationship between accountability and pseudonym on Facebook and Twitter. The specific objectives of this research are to: (1) analyze digital identity on the social media environments of Facebook and Twitter; (2) analyze identity negotiations on the social media environments of Facebook and Twitter; and (3) examine "catfish" on Facebook and Twitter.
Kristen Bowen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Fatia Kasumu, Temple University
Jimmy Muller, University of Pittsburgh
Research Advisor: Courtney Loder, University of California at Irvine, School of Information and Computer Sciences
Crisis informatics has emerged as a strong field of interest in the last decade. Because of such events as 9/11, hurricane Katarina, earthquakes in Haiti, and the Tsunami that hit Japan, the world has realized the importance of communication in the event of disasters. The demand to be able to predict when a disaster is going to occur and be prepared for it before it unfolds is increasing dramatically. Crisis informatics is the gathering and analyzing information before and after crisis situations, to potentially prevent or prepare for a similar situation in the future. With the dramatic boom of technological influence in the past decade, in-depth study can be done on crisis events better than ever before. Team WORC will analyze the patterns of how people communicate and patterns at which people move in regards to efficient placement of aid and resources. The team will also investigate how well information is gathered and analyzed in the preparation for future crises.