University of Hawaii at Manoa, School of Communications

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School of Communications Faculty

School of Communications > Faculty

Wayne Buente, Ph.D., Information Science, Indiana University (2011); MSI, Information, University of Michigan (2003); BS, Economics, Purdue University (1993)
Office Location: Crawford 304
Phone Number: 956-3360
Fax Number: 956-5396


I received my Master’s degree in Information from the School of Information at the University of Michigan. Upon graduation, I was awarded a GAANN doctoral fellowship to the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University. I recently completed my Ph.D. in Information Science.


My main areas of teaching are in sociotechnical studies, social informatics, information and communication technologies, digital divide and social media. I am particularly interested in how information and communication technologies are adopted to improve social life.

Course Syllabi:

    Spring 2012com,jour 432 - Information and Communication Technologies Services View Syllabus
  • com,jour 634 - Social Media View Syllabus


I advise students in a number of areas related to information and communication technologies (ICTs). Research projects generally concern sociotechnical contexts, social informatics and the digital divide but I am interested in advising in all areas related to ICTs.


I am interested in examining the social aspects of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Currently, I am examining the various dimensions of citizenship and its relation to ICTs. I also have a strong desire to study issues that relate to broadband access, digital inequality, and social and community informatics.


I enjoy playing basketball and following UH athletics. I like to tinker around with computer technologies and devices. I also appreciate relaxing at the beach.


Title: Digital Citizenship in the South Caucasus: A Comparative Analysis between Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan (PDF) (2012)
Co Authors: Lala Hajibayova
Publication Information: The concept of digital citizenship has received little attention outside of Western countries and contexts. This exploratory study seeks to evaluate the utility of the concept of digital citizenship by comparatively examining three countries in the South Caucasus region: Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Using survey data from the Caucasus Research Resource Center, an empirical model will be evaluated and tested. In particular, this model will test empirical measures of digital citizenship on political attitudes and outcomes that coincide with the research literature. Comparisons between Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan on the effectiveness of digital citizenship will be summarized. In addition, this research will also contribute to empirically evaluating the claims of digital citizenship in a unique political and geographic area of the world.

Title: Relating Digital Citizenship to Democratic Hopes in the South Caucasus (2013)
Co Authors: Lala Hajibayova
Publication Information: The concept of digital citizenship has received little attention outside of Western countries and contexts. This exploratory study seeks to evaluate the utility of the concept of digital citizenship by comparatively examining three countries in the South Caucasus: Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Everyday Internet users comprise a very small part of the population in the South Caucasus and are an educated, computer-savvy elite. Digital citizenship is defined as having Internet access at home and using the Internet frequently (every day). Prior research by Mossberger and colleagues (2007, 2008) demonstrates that digital citizenship is a prerequisite for engaging in political life both online and offline. However, countries in the South Caucasus lack the presence of an effective civil society and, like many countries in the former Soviet Union, are ruled by pseudo-democratic regimes. Therefore, what are the possibilities for digital citizenship in the South Caucasus? This paper will examine two possibilities. One possible avenue for political participation is traditional political participation such as the likelihood to vote. Preliminary research results have shown that digital citizenship is not a good predictor for the likelihood to vote in an upcoming election. Another possibility is the belief in democratic principles. Perhaps where expressions of traditional political participation are viewed as inauthentic, could digital citizenship predict the belief in democratic ideals? Using 2010 survey data from the Caucasus Research Resource Center, an empirical model will be evaluated and tested. Comparisons between Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan on the possibilities for digital citizenship will be discussed. 11th European Sociological Association Conference Torino, Italy

Title: Digital Citizenship or Inequality? Linking Internet Use and Education to Electoral Engagement in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election Campaign (PDF) (2014)
Publication Information: This study examines the relationship between digital citizenship, digital inequality, education, and electoral engagement in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. To begin, the paper provides an overview of the concept of digital citizenship as an important way to associate frequent Internet use with economic, civic and political outcomes. Next, the study problematizes this relationship by examining the recent research on digital inequality particularly emphasizing the way that skills and use can further differentiate Internet users. Education is also a primary mechanism behind citizenship characteristics and should be considered for digital citizenship. Accordingly, electoral engagement, which is strongly influenced by education, is the focal outcome for this study. Despite these concerns, findings show that digital citizenship, understood as frequent home Internet use with a high speed connection, is a significant predictor for electoral engagement in the 2008 election. However, when accounting for the characteristics of digital citizenship among Internet users, education stratifies Internet use leading those with college degrees to have a higher involvement in electoral engagement than lesser educated users. The effects of education on both digital skills and electoral engagement risk the potential for the Internet to augment social inequalities rather than lessen them. Findings suggest that digital citizenship should be broadened to include a set of digital skills that are more likely to account for differentiated Internet uses. With respect to improving electoral engagement, a closer examination of Internet activities undertaken by high status Internet users may provide a useful staring point.

Title: Opportunities and Challenges for First-Mile Development in Rural Hawaiian Communities (PDF) (2014)
Co Authors: Jenifer S. Winter (1st author), Patricia A. Buskirk
Publication Information: Increasing recognition of the 'digital divide' faced by First Nations communities in Canada and the United States has highlighted the role of community-driven broadband development in improving the quality of life and enabling self-determination in indigenous communities. Like other First Nations, Native Hawaiians struggle with linguistic and cultural preservation, and to gain equal access to educational and economic opportunities and health care. Many rural communities, including those comprised of indigenous Hawaiians, suffer from a lack of critical infrastructures. To date, efforts to address these disparities through information and communication technology (ICT) deployment have focused on a top-down approach at both the federal and state level, with the exception of limited community-based efforts that have largely focused on urban gaps and are not specific to Native Hawaiian concerns. In this paper, we describe specific challenges faced by Native Hawaiian communities in developing affordable, high-quality broadband access. We begin with a review of discussions about community-driven broadband development and digital self-determination, and then present Hawai?i as a case with unique physical, political, and socio-cultural challenges. Finally, we conclude by exploring the potential for community-initiated broadband projects that will enable more self-determination for indigenous Hawaiians in the planning and management of broadband networks and services.

Title: Assessing the Role of Computers, Mobile Phones, & Social Network Sites on the Homeless Social Capital and Social Relationships (PDF) (2013)
Co Authors: Luz Quiroga
Publication Information: Our long-term goal is to evaluate how ICTs impact the homeless problem in the state of Hawaii. Towards that goal, the objective of this proposal is to situate the access and use of ICTs within the wider social world of the homeless in Honolulu. By observing how ICTs embed within social networks and help to address everyday life needs, our research approach looks beyond the digital technologies to evaluate the social and technical nature of the problem. The central hypothesis in our research proposal is that ICTs act as agents of change for homeless individuals to support life transitions out of homelessness.

Title: The Effect of Organizational Offline Point-of-Crisis Communication on Online Social Media Crisis Response Reactions – A Case Study of the American Airlines Incident of April 2013 (PDF) (2014)
Co Authors: Daniel Abt (1st author)
Publication Information: Fourth annual International Crisis and Risk Communication (ICRC) Conference

Title: Digital Citizenship and the Good Life: How Internet use Leads to Economic Opportunity in the South Caucasus (2013)
Publication Information: The global development of networked information and communication technologies (ICTs) has often been associated with collective benefits in society. ICTs provide both an immediate political or economic benefit for an individual and also a “spillover” benefit to society as a whole. These benefits arguably form the basis for “the good life” that can be acquired through consistent and quality access to emergent ICTs. To this end, an important question to ask is whether the acquisition of digital skills among those least likely to have them (i.e. low-income and less-educated workers) is enough to provide “the good life.” Therefore, those who are already disadvantaged in terms of discrimination and lesser skills may have an additional disadvantage as networked ICTs spread globally. The research presented explores this issue in the South Caucasus which is comprised of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The South Caucasus represented a unique context because all countries have high literacy rates but low economic well-being and Internet infrastructure. Using survey data from the 2010 Caucasus Research Resource Center, the study applied the concept of digital citizenship developed by Mossberger and colleagues to economic well-being. Internet use differentiated by frequency (daily use of the Internet) and location of use (work or home) significantly influenced the economic well-being for citizens in the South Caucasus. Most notable is that those who were less-educated but acquired Internet access in some form had improved economic access to “the good life.” Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide Preconference at the ICA 2014 Conference Seattle, WA

Title: Self-Presentation and Social Network Sites: A Socio-technical Perspective on the Imagined Audience (2013)
Publication Information: Managing self-presentation has become a way of life in the world of social network sites (SNS). Recent research has demonstrated two important phenomenon taking place with respect to SNS and audience. One is that there are different ways that people utilize the technological affordances within social network sites to manage their self-presentation to both visible and invisible audiences. SNS have a variety of technological features such as friend's lists and privacy settings that contribute to visualizing audience. Two is that SNS users are also social actors that have developed an increased awareness to networked life online due to the social context of SNS. SNS generally favor an online community that is built on offline social bonds rather than common interests. This leads SNS actors to closely examine content created by others while also interpreting their own content through other people's eyes. In addition, actors employ SNS to address their own goals and motivations. Drawing on a structuration framework proposed by LItt (2012), this research study will examine audience in SNS as a socio-technical phenomenon. Using reliable measures based on prior research on SNS, data will be collected on individual, social and technological factors that influence how users imagine audience on SNS. Audience will be measured by how conscious SNS actors are toward evaluating and classifying audience with respect to size, diversity, and closeness. This research will contribute to the science and technology studies literature by specifically situating the social actor and audience within the socio-technical context of SNS. Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) 2013 San Diego, CA

Title: Social Connectedness Online / Offline. Needs of Some Vulnerable Populations in a Digital World. The Homeless Population Case (PDF) (2014)
Co Authors: Luz M. Quiroga (1st author), Leonardo Piña
Publication Information: We are witness to unprecedented opportunities for information discovery thanks to the hypertextual linking and Web technologies. Advantages for citizens are numerous, opening opportunities with a single click. We can not only re-find or discover information but it has become the default media for a rich social networking, making possible links among information objects and its producers and consumers. It is becoming our main tool to satisfy basic information needs related to health, housing, job seeking, education, research, entertainment, shopping. Equally or even more important is the possibilities of connectedness offered by social media systems and technologies in terms of peer and or emotional support. Unfortunately these technologies can also increase the inequity for those populations who don’t have access to them. Factors that influence “access” include having network connectivity, equipment (computer, cell phones) and different kinds of literacy (informational, technology & digital literacy). In this paper we discuss preliminary recent findings of an ongoing project aimed at Assessing the Role of Computers, Mobile Phones, and Social Network Sites on Homeless Social Capital and Social Relationships. The paper introduces the problem, citing related studies, describing the methodology used and preliminary results and analysis. Our goal is to present information that may be used to orient Communications Technologies (ICTs) agendas of researchers, government, non -profit, educators, etc. Hypertext 2014, the 25th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media Santiago, Chile

Title: Categorizing Health-related Cues to Action: Using Yelp Reviews of Restaurants in Hawaii’s Oahu Island (2013)
Co Authors: Weranuj Ariyasriwatana (1st author), Melissa Oshiro, Dennis Streveler
Publication Information: MediAsia2013 The Fourth Asian Conference on Media & Mass Communication

Title: Communication BA Curriculum Assessment using e-Portfolios. (PDF) (2014)
Co Authors: Jenifer S. Winter (1st author), Hanae Kraemer, Patricia Buskirk, Francis Dalisay
Publication Information: 2014 Assessment for Curricular Improvement Poster Exhibit University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI

Honors / Awards:

Summer Research Institute for the Science of Socio-Technical Systems Participant (2012)
Description: CSST2012: Summer Research Institute for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems The Bishop’s Lodge Resort, Santa Fe, NM, USA July 29 – August 2, 2012 A science of sociotechnical systems is emerging from research in the fields of CSCW, social computing, social informatics, the sociology of computing, HCI, information systems and other related intellectual communities. The Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical systems (CSST, see is an organization devoted to advancing research on sociotechnical systems. Building on the success of the four previous Summer Research Institutes, the CSST will, with generous support by the National Science Foundation, again be hosting a summer research institute for advanced doctoral students, post-doctoral scholars, and pre-tenure faculty. A primary goal of the institute is to build a new cohort of faculty and graduate students who are interested in research on the design and interplay of the social and technical that spans levels of individuals, groups, organizations, and larger communities.

College of Social Sciences Research Support Award (2013)
Description: Research Project: Assessing the Role of Computers, Mobile Phones, & Social Network Sites on the Homeless Social Capital and Social Relationships Award: $9000 Social Science Research Institute Principal Investigators: Wayne Buente and Luz Quiroga


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