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Hometown Websites

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Continuous Maintenance of Cross-border connections

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Hometown Websites

  1. 1. Hometown Websites: Maintaining Cross-border Connections<br />Luis A. Castro, Victor M. Gonzalez<br />The University of Manchester<br />C&T 2009: State College, PA, June, 26th 2009<br />1<br />
  2. 2. 2<br />
  3. 3. Outline<br />Introduction<br />Research questions<br />Methodology<br />Results & discussion<br />Conclusions<br />3<br />
  4. 4. Community Connections<br />Modern communication services allow migrants to maintain strong connections with their home communities<br />Linkages are kept for several different reasons such as homesickness, memories, symbolic attachment, etc.<br />Transnational communities are integrated into the country that receive them at the same time that remain connected to their country of origin (Levitt, 2001)<br />In-person visits and phone calls are still the main way of keeping linkages<br />Global: Diasporic websites connect expatriates with others of the same ethnicity or nationality (e.g., USAIndian.Net) – Imagined?<br />Local: Hometown websites work as a reunion point whereby localised topics are circulated and discussed across the borders – Real?<br />4<br />
  5. 5. Research questions<br />What is the nature of communication exchanges on hometown websites?<br />How do communication exchanges fluctuate over time on hometown websites?<br />What kind of content is more attractive for users on hometown websites?<br />5<br />
  6. 6. Methodology<br />Content analysis (Apr07-Mar08)<br />Published News notes<br />Shared Photos<br />Guestbook entries<br />Initial sample of items (10-15%) helped to define a coding scheme<br />Items were independently coded by each author<br />Agreement pct: 73.2% photos, 82.6% entries & 83.1% News notes<br />6<br />
  7. 7. San Luis de la Paz (SL)<br />Municipality in the central state of Guanajuato, Mexico<br />Population: 101,370 inhabitants in 2005<br />High degree of outmigration (INEGI)<br />7<br />
  8. 8. The website of SL<br />It has been running since 2000<br />It began as a website run by volunteers to ‘promote the municipality and place the town closer to those born there but currently living away from the community’<br />8<br />
  9. 9. The website of SL<br />9<br />
  10. 10. Weekly visitor traffic (Apr07-Mar08)<br />High Traffic<br />Low Traffic<br />10<br />
  11. 11. Content creation (Apr07-Mar08)<br />Mother’s Day<br />Christmas<br />Pageant Contest<br />Local Fair<br />11<br />
  12. 12. Services analyzed<br />Guestbook – 1,019 entries<br />Text-based channel adopted as a public mailbox<br />46% of entries are Greetings; 18% are personal messages<br />Photos – 1,015 photos<br />71% of the photos were posted by migrants; 12% by non-migrants; the rest could not be identified<br />30% New Life; 8% Local Life in San Luis<br />News – 295 notes<br />One-way, outbound communication by webmasters<br />Almost half of the entries are about Socio-civic events<br />12<br />
  13. 13. Examples of Photos<br />13<br />
  14. 14. Temporal Patterns<br />The analysis was focused on the date of creation and number of views of each item. We expected:<br />High traffic weeks & content creation correlated<br />Significant positive correlation between the number of photos and the site traffic (rho=0.305, N=53, p=0.026, two-tailed) <br />Major offline events would increase content creation<br />Significant positive correlation between the number of Photos uploaded and the number of News published (rho=0.390, N=53, p=0.004, two-tailed)<br />14<br />
  15. 15. Weekly average of items created per High and Low traffic weeks <br />15<br />* F(1 51)=5.077, p=0.029<br />
  16. 16. Weekly average item views per High and Low traffic weeks <br />16<br />
  17. 17. Content creation & Interest<br />News are read the same regarding the time of the year when they are published<br />No significant differences in the average number of times a note is read between News published during high and low traffic weeks (F(1,293)=1.293, p=0.256) <br />Photos are viewed more if they are published during low traffic weeks<br />There is a significant difference in the number of times a photo is viewed between photos published during high (avg. 30.98 views) and low traffic weeks (avg. 57.2 views) (F(1,1013)=85.638, p&lt;0.0005) <br />17<br />
  18. 18. Content creation & Interest (2)<br />Informative Notes (e.g., historical information) are read as twice as much if they are published during low traffic weeks<br />There is a significant difference in the average number of times an Informative note is read between High and Low traffic weeks (t=2.918, df=41.002, p=0.006, two-tailed)<br />All types of photos are viewed more if they are published during low traffic weeks<br />There is a significant difference in the average number of times a photo is viewed between High and Low traffic weeks for all categories: <br />Local Life: 33% more (t=3.096, df=52.353, p=0.003, two-tailed)<br />New Life: 77% more (t=4.482, df=295.116, p&lt;0.005, two-tailed)<br />Other: 50% more (t=2.052, df=21.140, p=0.053, two-tailed)<br />Relationships: 96% (t=10.523, df=575.877, p&lt;0.005, two-tailed) <br />18<br />
  19. 19. Discussion<br /><ul><li>About half of the entries of the guestbook correspond to simple greetings which can be understood as a manifestation of continuous presence (Licoppe, 2004) and expression of interest in the community
  20. 20. A significant number of photos show self-portraits which might be a desire to show an updated look
  21. 21. It is still unclear how being connected to the community can be translated into more participation in community life (For instance, see (Carroll et al., 2005))
  22. 22. Analysis shows that there is no significant difference in the number of items created during High Traffic periods, excluding photos. In other words, there is a continuous stream of content which remains steady over the year. </li></ul>19<br />
  23. 23. Discussion<br />San Luis de la Paz can be seen as an exposed community where the local identity seems to be endangered by the intrusion of foreign values which, paradoxically, are also conveyed through the website by means of images of the New Life and Self-portraits<br />Migrants use the website as one of the strategies to maintain their local identities (e.g., historical information, in-group discourse)<br />The website of San Luis de la Paz works as a bidirectional exchange of culture and practices which seem to delineate some aspects of the social life of migrants and non-migrants<br />20<br />
  24. 24. Conclusions<br />Encouraging results toward understanding the nature of interpersonal and community exchanges for transnational communities<br />There are several implications for design that need to be taken into account to better support the conveyance of information about community life – moving away from the desktop?<br />Temporal patterns of communication exist and very often they are shaped by socio-civic and religious events<br />21<br />
  25. 25. Conclusions<br />Services supplement each other to sustain a continuous stream of contact with the community. It is still unclear how they actually supplement each other or whether some of the posts or photos are in fact responses to particular events occurring in the town<br />Exchanging messages is sometimes more important than its content - greetings<br />To study the implications of being connected to the homeland in terms of local identity, engagement and participation<br />22<br />
  26. 26. Hometown Websites: Maintaining Cross-border Connections<br />Luis A. Castro, Victor M. Gonzalez<br />The University of Manchester<br />C&T 2009: State College, PA, June, 26th 2009<br />I am currently looking for a Post-doc Position!<br />23<br />
  27. 27. References<br />Levitt, P. (2001). The Transnational Villagers. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA.<br />Licoppe, C. (2004). Connected presence: the emergence of a new repertoire for managing social relationships in a changing communication technoscape. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 22, 1, 135-156.<br />Carroll, J.M., M.B. Rosson, A. Kavanaugh, D.R. Dunlap, W. Schafer, J. Snook, and P. Isenhour. 2005. Social and Civic Participation in a Community Network, in Domesticating Information Technologies, R. Kraut, M. Brynin, and S. Kiesler, Eds. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. 168-181.<br />24<br />

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