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Technology Mediated Social Participation Workshop
Funded by the National Science Foundation

TMSP website: participants & resources

10 December 2009 - 11 December 2009
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West Coast Workshop & PARC Forum

With the goal of drawing up a strong scientific research agenda and educational recommendations necessary for a new era of social participation technologies, PARC is hosting the first of two workshops designed to bring together a diverse set of researchers from a variety of disciplines.

The West Coast Workshop will focus on three major themes:

  • Integration of theory: from individual behavior to collective action
  • Social intelligence and capital: understanding connections
  • Research challenges: shareable infrastructure, ethics, and protection

In addition, Peter Pirolli and Jenny Preece will be hosting a special PARC Forum on Technology Mediated Social Participation on Thursday December 10, featuring panelists Ben Shneiderman, Amy Bruckman, Bernardo Huberman, and Cameron Marlow.

Technology-Mediated Social Participation Initiative

Technology-mediated social participation is generated when social networking tools (such as Facebook), blogs, microblogs (such as Twitter), user-generated content sites (such as YouTube), discussion groups, problem reporting forums, recommendation systems, and other social media tools are applied to national priorities such as health, energy, education, disaster response, environmental protection, business innovation, cultural heritage, or community safety.

While early attempts hint at the vast potential for technology-mediated social participation, substantial research is needed to scale up, raise motivation, control malicious attacks, limit misguided rumors, and protect privacy [see http://iparticipate.wikispaces.com]. Example of early attempts include fire, earthquake, storm, fraud, or crime reporting sites that provide information to civic authorities; AmberAlert, which has more than 7 million users who help with information on child abductions; Peer-to-Patent, which provides valuable information for patent examiners; and Serve.gov, which enables citizens to volunteer for national parks, museums, and other institutions.

As national initiatives are launched in several countries to dramatically increase research and education on social media, a coordinated approach will be helpful. Clearly stated research challenges should have three key elements:

  1. close linkage to compelling national priorities;
  2. scientific foundation based on established theories and well-defined research questions (privacy, reciprocity, trust, motivation, recognition, etc.; and
  3. computer science research challenges (security, privacy protection, scalability, visualization, end-user development, distributed data handling for massive user-generated content, network analysis of community evolution, cross network comparison, and so on).

Potential short-term interventions include:

  • industry helping researchers by providing access to data and platforms for testing
  • government agencies applying these strategies in pilot studies related to national priorities
  • universities changing course content, adding courses, and offering new degree programs

Find out more

You can find more information about the December 2009 West Coast Workshop hosted at PARC (including participant list and position papers) and the February 2010 East Coast Workshop hosted in Virginia at the TMSP Home Page. More about the organizers below.


About the organizers:

Peter Pirolli is a Research Fellow at PARC, where he has been pursuing studies of human information interaction for over 15 years. An elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science, the National Academy of Education, and the Association for Computing Machinery Computer-Human Interaction Academy, Pete is also Associate Editor of Human Computer Interaction. His most recent book is Information Foraging Theory: Adaptive Interaction with Information. Prior to joining PARC, Pete was an Associate Professor in the School of Education at U.C. Berkeley.

Jenny Preece is an online community researcher and Professor and Dean at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. She is author, coauthor or editor of seven books including: Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction (2002) and Online Communities: Designing Usability, Supporting Sociability (2000) published by John Wiley & Sons. Dr. Preece is author of over 150 publications; she serves on four editorial boards and frequently gives keynotes at major conferences. She was technical program chair for the first International Conference on Online Communities and Social Computing, twice for ACM SIGCHI conferences, and also for Communities & Technology.

Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and Member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is the author of Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies (MIT Press, 2002) and Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (Addison-Wesley, 2009).