Fielding Graduate University News

Tweet Talkers: Media Psych Students Share Research in UK

Posted by Joanna Hesketh on Wed, Feb 10, 2016

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A team of media psychology PhD students and faculty from Fielding Graduate University recently leaped the pond to present research and share ideas at University of Salford in Manchester, England.

The Fielding team presented “And Yet They Tweet: The Complexity of Tweets from the Streets of Tahrir” at the Salford International Media Festival. Having emerged from a research practicum offered by Fielding faculty and team research lead Regina Tuma, PhD, the project examined the potential complexity of messages limited to 140 characters:

Does that limited space allow room for meaningful and complex exchanges—especially during a time of upheaval, as was the case with the exchanges leading up to the 2011 uprising in Tahrir Square? 

“We always hear people point to the insignificance of social media content, especially Twitter,” said Tuma. “This seemed the perfect opportunity to apply the literature in psychology that looks at the complexity of our exchanges. Normally, the unit of analysis in those studies are lengthy speeches or articles. The novelty for us in this study was exploring whether the idea of complexity of meaning and exchanges could fit the brief Twitter format.”

In addition to Tuma, the Media Psychology research team includes Fielding alum Lynn Temenski, PhD, recent Fielding graduate Rafael E. Linera-Rivera, PhD, and doctoral students Judith Manassen-Ramon, Daniel Loewus-Deitch, and Joanna Hesketh.  

The Fielding group also participated in a joint international workshop with Dr. Sharon Coen of Salford University and students from the school’s media psychology program. Titled “Can You See Me Now?”, the workshop explored the role of visuals in media psychology including viral images, selfie culture and self-portrayal, and visuals in politics and social media.

Linera-Rivera said the workshop discussion broadened his knowledge of media psychology outside of the United States.

“It was a great experience for a doctoral student in media psychology to see how the subject is developing internationally,” he said.

“Media is in our hands, in our heads, and is shaping our culture,” Tuma added. “Both Sharon Coen at Salford and I see a growing need for these exchanges. Fielding and Salford should be central to that internationalizing effort since both universities share common history, and both offer degrees in media psychology.”

Watch a video from the University of Salford visit.

For information on the Media Psychology program at Fielding Graduate University, contact Pam Matovelle at [email protected].

Tags: Media psychology, social media