Attending Eastern Communication Association Annual Conference in Providence, RI

I went to ECA (Eastern Communication Association) annual conference for the first time on Saturday, April 13. The conference organization was great, and I enjoyed the coffee break very much! My paper “Cyberbullying and Social Media Communication: Relational Aggression, Virtual Silence and Gratification­-Seeking” was awarded Top Paper in the Theory and Methodology Interest Group. One major issue we find is that adolescents tend to downplay the seriousness of cyberbullying and general aggressive behaviors and see these as “drama.” Bystanders enjoy seeing such a “drama” developing, in a similar way as they watch reality TV shows out of voyeurism. The next step of the project is collecting data and testing our proposed hypotheses. Unfortunately I could not go presenting the paper on Friday, but my co-author said that it ignited a lot of good discussions. Now waiting for the award certificate to come in my mail!

I attended several paper panels back to back on Saturday, and exchanged ideas with a bunch of excellent scholars. There is an insightful qualitative study on international brands’ advertising strategies with new technologies, and another interesting paper on the impact of the instructor’s cellphone presence in class on student evaluations.

After the conference, I went for a tour at the Rhode Island School of
Design (RISD) Museum. They had an amazing collection of paintings and exhibits. I came across a cool wearable radio invented in the 1970s (device on the right in the last photo below). You could twist-open it to tune channels, and twist back and put it on your wrist! And somehow it makes me think of the epic scientific movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Very imaginative.

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