General thoughts on what a Center for Mobile Media should do:
The Center for Mobile Media will organize cross-disciplinary research efforts and projects by giving grants to professors or students in any disciplines who want to add to the knowledge or practice of using mobile devices to spread news, information and commerce. We will seek innovative and effective uses of mobile media and then publicize those ideas and best practices. We will also consider commercial applications of these ideas and practices.
Using mobile media for news, information, advertising and social networking is still new and developing. We have much to learn about the interconnectedness of mobile media and social media as they are used to spread news and information effectively.
The Center for Mobile Media will work on these tasks by helping research professors, professors of practice and commercial businesses plan together to answer different questions ranging from: What’s the most effective user interface, to what is opinion leadership in mobile social networks, or how do we determine credibility of messages on different devices? Professors of practice will create practical research questions that stem from their use of devices in the field. Answers to those questions will help us use mobile devices to better inform and engage more people and to spur research questions.
How will it work?
The Center for Mobile Media will be a multidisciplinary re-granting center. The Center will seek larger grants to subdivide for smaller faculty or student projects. The Center will issue worldwide requests for proposals that help innovate or scale the use and understanding of mobile media for news, information, advertising or transactions. It also will help other innovative mobile projects get grants in exchange for public dissemination of the knowledge gained. The center will consider all of these pieces as building blocks that can be aligned and realigned for different and future purposes. The Center has minimal overhead costs because it doesn’t need a building or a large staff.
Examples of Center for Mobile Media Research Projects
1) Does the credibility we associate with a video news message vary according to the size of the device on which we view the message? For instance, is greater credibility associated with a message on a 72-inch screen than a 2-inch mobile screen? If there’s a difference, does it vary by age, with young people perhaps giving the smaller screen greater credibility? Should this affect the types of messages we use to reach different audiences on different devices? What’s the best device to use if you want to get political information to a 20-year-old American male or a teenaged Egyptian woman?
2) Students at the Raikes School of Computer Science and Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the College of Journalism and Mass Communications created an iPad photojournalism app designed to encourage user engagement with the people in the photos or the issues they depict. This app will be used for future photojournalism projects. It was field-tested by UNL students working in India in May 2012. Because of that field test, we know what additional changes and improvements need to be made.