SEARCH Conference 2011

Review of the Second International SEARCH Conference

The South East Asia Research Centre for Communication and Humanities

Location: Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Dates: 28 May, 29 May 2011
Author: Dan Petrovic

This year’s SEARCH conference featured an incredible number of insightful speakers from different parts of the world. Participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the latest research in the field of communication and humanities, with special focus on effects and implications of new media. The entire event resonated with one topic in particular – Social Media, though it’s important to mention that this wasn’t the sole theme of the event.

Sub-topics covered were:

  • Governance of New Media
  • New Media and Ethical Issues
  • Knowledge Economy and Creative Industries
  • Gaming, Cyber and Pop Cultures
  • Impact of New Media on Marketing Communication
  • e-Governance, Democracy, Governance, Economics

The event kicked off in the true style of new media with an introduction session by Dr. Benedict P. Agulto. His interactive slides were skilfully animated and grabbed attention of the audience and set the direction for upcoming presentations. Dr. Agulto was also the organising chair and takes credit for organising this wonderful event where academics, students and researchers have a chance to learn, exchange thoughts and ideas.

Josephine Tan (Dean, School of Communication, Taylor’s University) introducing the official welcome speech by Pradeep Nair, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Taylor’s University.

Mr. Nair’s presentation started with illustration of how young generations perceive new media and technology and reflection upon differences between the way different generations understand and utilise same devices. Some thoughts we were left with included the concept of brave information creators who do not hesitate to publish online, new emerging behaviours and technology adoption by new generations. Mr. Nair’s opinion is that young people do not take as much interest in politics or economy as they do in issues that affect the wellbeing of the planet and the fellow human beings. This, he argues, is likely due to the fact that new media has in fact reached these young people and could be the cause for this increase in empathy. New opportunities are thus provided for the better world through use of new media.

Associate Professor Lokasundari Vijaya Sankar (Plenary Session Chair) introducing the keynote speaker: Associate Professor Terence Lee from Murdoch University, Western Australia.

The Keynote Presentation by Terence Lee

Regulating Facebook: Governing Social Networks and new Media

This insightful presentation started with fascinating statistics around Facebook, its market share, growth and its impact on society. One of the facts that grabbed our attention was the fact that  “…some people buy computers to go on Facebook…” and the question for researches around impact of new media on people’s lifestyles. Terence also highlights the way Facebook impacts news media, health, reputation and points out the increasing trends in video posting (in comparison to the world’s largest video website owned by google, YouTube). With this in mind, naturally there is a variety of other problems, to mention a few:

  • Recorded cases cyberstalking and measures taken to prevent it.
  • Background checks by employers on potential staff members.
  • Parents spying on their kids online activities.
  • Parental neglect and the case of a child drowning while mother was playing a Facebook game.

Is Facebook, a wrong model for a social network? Should social networks be more anonymous as far as user interaction and personal data go? Perhaps not. the whole purpose of the social media is that users do want to be seen and heard by others.

Although there was much talk about Facebook in particular this presentation was more about regulation and governance of new media than anything else. Terence argues that not much has changed and like with any new and emerging medium, there are waves, or spikes in its regulation. What start of rebellious and anarchistic ends up being properly regulated eventually. We’re currently seeing that happen with new media. In this case regulatory procedures might take a new shape and form.

The session ends with the “Top Ten Facebook Rules”:

1. DON’T post your phone number or address

2. DO customise your security settings

3. DON’T post photos of yourself or others which could compromise reputations

4. DON’T reveal too much information

5. DON’T hold ‘open-house’ parties

6. DON’T expose yourself to legal issues

7. DO watch your language

8. DON’T accept all ‘friend’ requests

9. DON’T post your mother’s maiden name

10. DO log out

Audience questions followed after the official presentation.

Josephine Tan and Pradeep Nair handing over the appreciation plaque.

Benedict P. Augulto, Josephine Tan, Pradeep Nair, Terence Lee and  Lokasundari Vijaya Sankar

Group photo: Conference team and speakers.

Session 1:

After the morning tea conference resumes in four tracks running in parallels. My choice was the session moderated by Usha Devi Rajaratnam. Presenters were: Sandra Hanchard, Ginger Vaughn (replaced by another speaker), Kenny Lim Kien Shiong and Dr. Adrian Budiman and Arnie Shakinar Abidin.

Sandra Hanchard – Networked Personal Media: Quality Information Exchange for Everyday Use in Asia Pacific

Roumor management in the workplace.

Kenny Lim Kien Shiong – The Role of Social Media in Advertising Agency

Dr. Adrian Budiman – My Private Illusion: Privacy Perceptions and Practices on Facebook

Arnie Shakinar Abidin – My Private Illusion: Privacy Perceptions and Practices on Facebook

Session 2:

Dr. Jane Mills – The mobile Phone Camera and its Potential for enhancing Student Engagement and Enabling Literacy Learning among Educationally Disadvantaged Students

Jomi Thomas – New Media and Media Students: An Approach and Use Pattern Analysis

Pauline Leong Pooi Yin – Usage of Online News Among Students in Institutes of Higher Education in the Klang Valley

End of Day 1

Conference delegates had an excellent chance for networking and exchange during the afternoon reception which took place after presentations.

Next Part: SEARCH Conference – DAY 2

Also read this excellent event write-up by Sandra Hanchard:

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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