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Title: Beyond the Facebook post : a critical analysis of the online public sphere in Singapore.
Authors: Su, Dickson Bingxing.
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Mass media::Media effects
DRNTU::Social sciences::Mass media::Alternative media
DRNTU::Social sciences::Mass media::Media law, ethics and policy
DRNTU::Social sciences::Mass media::Media studies
DRNTU::Social sciences::Journalism::Online journalism
DRNTU::Social sciences::Journalism::Participatory journalism
DRNTU::Social sciences::Journalism::Political aspects
DRNTU::Social sciences::Journalism::Social aspects
DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Communication theories and models
DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Public opinion
DRNTU::Social sciences::Journalism::Media bias
DRNTU::Social sciences::Sociology::Social structure
DRNTU::Social sciences::Sociology::Societies
DRNTU::Social sciences::Sociology::Social behavior
DRNTU::Social sciences::Sociology::Social change
DRNTU::Social sciences::Sociology::Social elements, forces, laws
DRNTU::Social sciences::Sociology::Social influence
Issue Date: 2013
Source: Su, D. B. X. (2013). Beyond the Facebook post : a critical analysis of the online public sphere in Singapore. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: The influence of social media in shaping public opinion and discourse has been extensively noted but research on how it happens in computer-mediated environments is still relatively under-developed. Noting also that credibility perception can often influence discourse and vice versa, the paper attempts to study the subject on social media as a means of strengthening the online public sphere from a Singapore perspective. Where research on social media has largely focused on blogs and their emanating comments, this research focuses on how critical arguments on local Facebook mainstream and alternative news sites develop—including an analysis of comments, which have not been examined in detail in the literature. Furthermore, Facebook allows users to share and like content, which serve as additional indicators for a richer discourse analysis. Utilizing comparative perspectives of political opportunities, resource mobilization and cultural framing on social movements, a case will be built through the history of Internet media and media laws in Singapore, including the Class Licensing Scheme of 1996 and more recently this year, the individual licensing requirement for online news sites that has traditionally been applied to the printing press. Together, they account for the extant public intellect as exemplified in the content analysis of archived Facebook posts. The historical narrative will also provide perspectives to the distinction of the mainstream-alternative media dichotomy in Singapore, and the varying levels of discourse observed on such sites. Findings from the content analysis of Facebook posts and comments suggest that discourse on social media is in its incipient phase, driven in large by an alternative media. They also show that activity levels on Facebook are comparable to mainstream circulation numbers. Complementing the content analysis is a quantitative survey, the latter instructive to understanding the influence of credibility perceptions on discourse. It goes further to refine earlier findings by highlighting a significant relationship in the regression analysis of credibility perceptions of Facebook posts and increasing levels of social media activity. Cross-tabulation analysis of the effect of discourse levels on credibility has also shown up significance between the two. Interpreting both analyses together, they suggest a mutually reinforcing effect between the extent of activity levels and credibility. A key to higher credibility and discourse levels is likely to be explicitly articulated and enforced practices of upholding free yet responsible speech, and accountability of its expression. Accountability is achieved by administrators to delete comments and ban inappropriate users, as well as that of the users through recourse to those who feel their right to free speech or reply is violated. In light of the dismal state of discourse currently observed on the Facebook sites of the mainstream press, the paper stresses the importance of continued engagement, vis-à-vis boycott. Recognizing that a freer press may not necessarily strengthen the public sphere, a call to promote diversification of the media landscape in Singapore is made in lieu. Finally, any treatise of mainstream discourse should reflect the dominant, high-quality voice of the public sphere, uncircumscribed by the government, or the mainstream press.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Theses

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