Technology Mediated Social Participation Workshop



PARC 2009-12-10


Peter Pirolli
Jenny Preece
Ben Shneiderman

Technology Mediated Social Participation Workshop

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]. 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, 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.

Additional information

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