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Assessing Social Media Literacy in Singapore

Principal Investigator (PI): Asst Prof Edson C Tandoc Jr.

Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI): Nil

Collaborators: Nil

Start Date: Mar 2016

End Date: On-going

Abstract: In August 2015, a Filipino nurse was found guilty of posting seditious remarks on his Facebook account. His case is just one of the more recent social media gaffes in Singapore. Such transgressions on social media appear to cut across demographics—young people, contrary to stereotypes, do not have the monopoly of being prone to instigating controversy and backlash on social media. Singapore has one of the highest mobile-cellular and Internet penetration rates in the world, which partly explains why Singapore residents are ranked as among the most active users of social media.

Studies on social media use have documented a number of issues that users face, ranging from privacy concerns, criminal activities such as identity theft, and problematic self-presentations, among others. It is within this context that this study proposes the development and evaluation of a social media literacy scale in Singapore. This proposed study marries the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative approaches. It will be divided into two coordinated phases. The first phase will involve focus groups with different generations of social media users in Singapore. This qualitative approach aims to develop a social media literacy scale that is grounded in the experience of social media users in the country. The second phase will involve a nationally representative survey of Singaporean social media users. This quantitative approach aims to empirically test the social media literacy scale to be developed from the first phase. It also aims to test a conceptual model to examine what individual and structural factors influence the degree of social media literacy of an individual user.