Research

Recent CMCS Publications

Living Inside Mobile Social Information: A collection of papers presented at our international conference in April on the affect of mobile communication on human interaction and social organization. Living Inside Mobile Social Information

Ongoing Projects

Skype and Skype mobile: this project examines how people use Skype and other free channels of mediated communication to spend time together and create self-organizing activities.

Mobile photo conversations: this project examines the “selfie” and technologies that enable it to better understand the rising protocols and norms of photo exchange. We also explore the thesis that novel forms of communication are arising that are based on visual rather than verbal/oral communication.

Heads up! Google Glass, users and non-users: we’re part of an international set of studies that is collecting data about how people perceive the Google Glass. Researchers are collecting data from potential users in more than six countries, and the research focuses heavily on the reaction of non-users to the possibility of other people using the “heads up” mobile communication technology.

New possibilities in “wearable” computers: our faculty affiliate Chris Daly has begun discussions with Mark Crovella (Chair of Computer Science Department) about a possible cross-disciplinary course to explore communication uses for “wearable” computers — an emerging category that includes Google glass, smart wristwatches, visors and goggles, and who knows what else?

Social media and political participation: mobile devices are considered important in effecting political change during moments of crisis. Though their precise role remains a bone of contention, there is no question that they served important functions in overthrowing regimes from Tunisia to the Ukraine. But how useful are mobile communication technologies in developing and guiding public policy during times of normal governance? That is, can they be useful in everyday contexts of giving citizens a voice in influencing governmental goal-setting? The “social media and political participation” initiative is part of a larger project designed to understand the possibilities and limitations of using social media for effective policy-setting and greater digital engagement on the part of citizens.

Mobile app for the BU community: Graduate students from both the Journalism Department and the Computer Science Department are collaborating to create a mobile app for the Boston University News Service (BUNS).

Previous Projects

Social media and political participation: James E. Katz, Michael Barris and Anshul Jain explore the White House’s use of social media during President Obama’s presidency in The Social Media President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Digital Engagement (2013, Palgrave Macmillan).

Philosophy of Emerging Media Workshop (Fall 2013): The purpose of this workshop was to critique contemporary attempts to build a philosophy of media studies and then pursue a more adequate philosophy of emerging media.

Living Inside Mobile Social Information (Spring 2013):What will social life be like when each of us has instant personal information about those around us? The Division of Emerging Media Studies (DEMS) hosted a workshop in Spring 2013 to empirically examine various utopian and dystopian visions of this future. More information about our publication, Living Inside Mobile Social Information (Boston University School of Communication, Fall 2014) will be available on the CMCS website soon.