More on communities and quick SMS-web update

I was so completely impressed by Robert Kraut’s presentation that I delved down further – maybe I have been asleep and everyone has been talking about these for several years, but its amazing to find project/s that have looked into HCI & machine learning, design and social sciences in order to explore online interactions.

In previous post re being uncomfortable, I forgot to include – non-response as an avoidance option too for the other person, i.e if your post or comment does not receive any responses. Another aspect of social behaviour, what kind of message or cue does that provide to you and would you want to engage further as a result?

As part of their community lab projects, they analysed use of personalized communication and developed some auto-responses with personalized invitations to do things(1). This could reduce the workload of an online community owner/facilitator – it is more time-consuming if individualized but ideal is a personal touch. Especially a welcome message to a community – you would want to tell the stories of the community briefly through the members. If you were in a f2f social situation and didn’t know anyone, you could get more relaxed if someone told you a little bit about people. So your community stories could be your recent updates but in a more friendly relaxed message – technology can help too e.g. am only thinking very sketchily…

Welcome to….you are from x(auto or something else from their profile, to make a instant connection)

x (auto-populated) has recently been asking about x(auto-populated) and x(auto…) has suggested x(auto..), or
x & x (auto…) have been talking about x(auto…) but x(auto…) mentioned that x(auto..)

Also using photos and videos:  x(auto…) has been doing x(auto-photos)

This is a bit rubbish at the moment but hopefully gives an idea. At the risk of being completely sexist – this feels to me – more female but for all I know, someone m/f could look at that and think – whatever. It could be that you are just joining to find out something or ask something – information benefit rather than just for social benefit (2), but without the element of describing members, there is no – narrative so very little contextual information that could help.

In f2f social situations you would often be directly introduced to someone you didn’t know. How to do this? Emily Post Etiquette suggests:

“Traditionally, the person who is named first is being shown a degree of respect or deference based on seniority or prominence and is having the introduction made to them. In most circumstances, these four basic guidelines will see you through:

  1. A younger person is introduced to an older person. The older person’s name is stated first. (”Aunt Ruth, I want you to meet my roommate, Mimi Jackson. Mimi, this is my aunt, Mrs. Cox”)
  2. A person of high rank or special prominence is named first and receives the introduction. The lesser rank is introduced to them. (”Bishop Gordon, may I present my husband John?”)
  3. When introducing family members to others, the other person’s name is generally said first if the people being introduced are of roughly the same age and rank.
  4. Traditionally in social situations, men are introduced to women.”

So there you have it – whether you agree with it or not, there is definitely something around encouraging participation in a more social way that is not a regular – pattern - but at the moment, maybe it can’t be easily detected by a system / machine and appropriate solution coded.

Use of pronouns was evaluated in a communication i.e. someone in the community using we, us, our but if used we + you to a newer member, could imply a degree of separation. This could provide a different message to the newer member because of the communication probably being primarily textual – signals of intention and expectation(3) what is perceived politeness and intended politeness(4).

As per uncomfortable post, different people are happy with different levels of communication and explict language, what may be communicated privately is difficult to analyse (5). How much of a community’s communication is through private messages or instant chat/IM in 1:1s ? So evaluating the value of a community would need to take this into account – if communities whether business or otherwise are just temporary places to stop by from time to time but it is taking over 0.8 of someone’s job when they already have a f/t job, how much value does it provide not just to the community but to the wider organisation?

Communicating yourself  is not easy to do if you are writing online for the first time, especially writing a blog post – but copyblogger has excellent tips from “The Most Horrible Blog post ever“:

Right now, there are people searching for the posts that you’ve not yet written. They’re frustrated, they’re hurting, and the only way they are going to get relief is from the information inside your head. Will you withhold it from them? Will you tell them that you can’t help them because . . . well . . . you haven’t thought of the best way to write it yet?

Or will you set aside your fears, just for the moment, and write The Most Horrible Blog Post Ever, just on the freak chance that maybe it’s not as bad as you think? Because, you see, your readers aren’t looking for the “perfect” blog post. They’re looking for the blog post that’s perfect for them.

Your job is to write it.

This is very scattered !Nowhere near ready to bring this back to conflict and avoidance yet, but this research is fascinating.

Snakes and SMS

Where I was at last summer with trying to write web pages using SMS – was kind of nowhere. Having to do a phone emergency reset and losing all applications including a year’s worth of pythons60 scripts also means that I will have to start from scratch. I did have a few conversations about this – the recommended advice was to code something in the back end in Java. Well I can’t write Java yet and no time to look, so I’m going to try just with pythons60. Following a conversation with someone at Surrey they suggested sending it through Twitter which I did think about before but have never done – I was advised that I was trying to get from A to B to quickly – need to put in more links ! So as and when time permits and I feel like it, over the next month, will give it a go !


All R.Kraut articles available as pdf at: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~kraut/RKraut.site.files/pubs/articles.html#OnlineCommunities

  1. Harper, F., Frankowski, D., Drenner, S., Yuqing Ren, Kiesler, S., Terveen, L., et al. (2007). Talk amongst yourselves: Inviting users to participate in online conversations. In IUI 2007: Proceedings of the ACM conference on intelligent user interfaces (pp. 62 – 71). New York: ACM Press
  2. Butler, B., Sproull, L., Kiesler, S., & Kraut, R. (2007). Community effort in online groups: Who does the work and why? In S. Weisband. (Ed.), Leadership at a distance. (pp. 171-194). Hillsdale, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
  3. Harper, F., Frankowski, D., Drenner, S., Yuqing Ren, Kiesler, S., Terveen, L., et al. (2007). Talk amongst yourselves: Inviting users to participate in online conversations. In IUI 2007: Proceedings of the ACM conference on intelligent user interfaces (pp. 62 – 71). New York: ACM Press
  4. Burke, M., & Kraut, R. E. (2008). Mind your p’s and q’s: When politeness helps and hurts in online communities. In Cscw’08: ACM conference on computer-supported cooperative work. New York: ACM Press
  5. Burke, M., Joyce, E., Kim, T., Anand, V., & Kraut, R. E. (2007). Introductions and requests: Rhetorical strategies that elicit community response. In C. Steinfield, B. Pentland, M. Ackerman & N. Contractor (Eds.), Communities and technologies 2007: Proceedings of the third communities and technologies conference. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company
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http://learn4kicks.wordpress.com, http://www/teazlewood.org.uk, http://mv2k.wordpress.com and several others

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