Collaboration and Social Software

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Mattkc7 - Apr 29, 2010 05:14:45 pm

Jessica Cen - 4/17/2010 23:08:15

I agree with the authors on page 367 when they say that “Successful designers will be those who find ways to accommodate strongly held community values and create acceptable social norms.” The main goal of interface design is to meet the user’s standards, which in turn will increase their productivity when they use the designed product. However, since the world is a very big place with lots of opinions and ideas, then interface design gets more interesting and challenging. The reason why social networks such as Facebook and blogging are popular in this country is because it lets the user express themselves freely without any major restrictions from the government. However, in China, this kind of liberty is not enjoyed by the people, which make these social networks unpopular. The solution to this problem can only be resolved if the designers restrict their programs to meet the Chinese government’s standards, but that would reduce most of what a social network stands for.


Daniel Ritchie - 4/17/2010 23:59:32

The following question comes up at some point in the reading:

"Users can tire of navigating through the graphical worlds, however, so they often spend more time on the textual chat. This begs the question, what is the added value that avatars and 3D graphics bring to such environments?"

Despite suffering from BTQ abuse (see http://begthequestion.info/), this is quite thought-provoking. At least, it provoked a few thoughts in me.

I think the advantage of graphical worlds lies primarily in their ability to help participants spacially organize their actions in an online community. For instance, I might not remember what thread in what sub-forum contains a post I made two weeks ago on an online bulletin board, but I'm willing to bet I'd remember that an interesting conversation I had in Second Life last week took place on a volcanic island with a pink-haired cat-woman. Virtual worlds mimic real life in this respect, and I think it's easier to group, categorize, and make sense of information when one can associate it with spacial properties like people and places.

Users likely switch to textual chat frequently not so much because avatars are inherently unsatisfactory but because the methods available for controlling them are so limited. Most current systems provide only rudimentary mouse/keyboard control for avatars, which comes nowhere near the expressivity of physical interactions in the real world. More expressive interfaces for avatar control might result in changed user behavior.

There's also the argument that virtual worlds are tiring; that inhabiting one in addition to the real world is a draining endeavor that many people have no desire to undertake. Along these lines, there seems to be a trend in collaborative interface research (indeed, in technology in general) away from virtual reality and toward systems that integrate seamlessly with (and enhance) the real world. Perhaps this will prove to be the best way to go.

And finally--on a completely unrelated note--has anyone ever done a serious study on the uses of emoticons? Such a report sounds like it would make fascinating reading.


Jason Wu - 4/18/2010 0:40:58

"Collaboration and Social Media Participation" is a particularly relevant article at the moment, since collaboration tools and social networking sites are becoming increasingly popular as they become more convenient and more sophisticated. At my internship, about a third of the people in my group are located elsewhere (North Carolina, Massachusetts, and India), so I have spent a lot of time working in the "same time, different place" quadrant of the Groupware Matrix. In particular, I have a lot of experience with various collaboration/audio-video conferencing tools such as MeetingPlace and WebEx. These tools provide many benefits to geographically dispersed groups as well as telecommuters, since people can see and hear each other, share/edit documents, poll the audience, give presentations, and even share their computer desktops despite being separated by thousands of miles. As the article states, developers tout these features as smooth, lightweight, or seamlessly integrated, and I have to say that I agree. However, I still see lots of room for improvement: audio-video lag should be minimized, and the mobile device ports of these tools should be fully functional to allow true collaboration from anywhere, anytime.

I have also had a few experiences with the Cisco TelePresence 3000, which is a unit that consists of three high-definition cameras and three high-definition screens, which display slight larger than life video of other participants. It is designed for up to 12 people (6 on either side), and due to amazing quality-of-service, there is no perceived lag in audio or video. While the authors of the article are correct that even such sophisticated technologies cannot match the richness of face-to-face meetings, I feel that the latest Telepresence technologies are pretty darn close. I'm excited to see how widely such devices will be adopted as they become cheaper and offer even more immersive experiences.


Wei Wu - 4/18/2010 20:53:13

Although the article seemed to praise the concept of an electronic classroom and how it was well received by both professors and students, I feel that education is an activity where "distance really does matter." Part of the learning experience is getting to know both your classmates and your teacher, and I think that this is incredibly hard to do via an e-course, even when you can visually see everyone else in the class via webcam. In my experience, because of the lack of connections you make with actual people in an online course, taking the class becomes more like a chore, and there is little motivation to put effort into the class. Other benefits associated with e-classrooms cited by the reading like ease and innovation of presentation methods do not seem convincing enough -- they seem equivalent to real-time updating projectors like ELMOs or tablet PCs, so I don't see the benefit.

Also, with the example provided in the reading, it seems that each individual's Internet would have to be fairly fast for the visualization of every other person in the class to be clear. I don't think that the average person has residential Internet fast enough for such, so if the visual experience were laggy, listening in on the class would be very frustrating from a user's perspective.


Vidya Ramesh - 4/18/2010 23:01:04

CSCW is computer-supported cooperative work, but there is a big distinction between collaboration and social media participation. However, there is a huge realm on the web that exists in between these two categories. Wikipedia and LinkedIn are good examples of the crossover between these two categories. The author makes a distinction between the different types of partnerships and relationships that can exist including focused partnerships, conferences, and electronic commerce. He also discusses the new social software that has become very popular in the last ten years such as blogs and wikis. He goes on to discuss texting, instant messaging, and other methods of synchronous communication. Interestingly enough, the author notes that it is teenagers and office workers, two groups that are not often similar in taste, who most actively use instant messaging.


Annette Trujillo - 4/18/2010 23:08:20

I think the idea of using Listservers for group projects may not be such a good idea, unless there is a far deadline ahead. This seems like a slower process versus video conferencing. I think chat environments are more suitable for fast-paced projects, because it is a good venue for each member to throw ideas out there and for other team members to reply. I think in this way everybody's ideas get noticed, vs if there is someone that might feel embarrassed to talk and doesn't talk so much or suggest things for fear of being shot down in person, they are more likely to feel more comfortable expressing their ideas through a chat. Video conferencing can help when visualization sharing is necessary.


Alexander Sydell - 4/19/2010 1:37:44

It's interesting that the authors state that collaboration and social media participation "are design requirements for most interfaces." While I agree with them now, this would have been untrue even just a few years ago. Collaboration and social media have really grown in that time, and now just about every new product has features for Facebook or Twitter users and other similar sites, or supports some sort of collaboration. Although I'm not convinced that these fads will stick around forever, I believe that the authors are right in reminding us that we should keep these things in mind when designing interfaces today.


Hugh Oh - 4/19/2010 6:43:06

This reading was very interesting in the way it analyzed different forms of collaboration and how technology plays a part in it. However, I feel that it fails to take personality types in account when analyzing the interaction from human to computer to computer back to human. I was wondering throughout the article on how, for example, a more introverted person can utilize technology as a better form of collaboration. The article just assumed one personality type and tried to describe the interaction with that premise.


Nathaniel Baldwin - 4/19/2010 12:16:26

I honestly have no idea what we were supposed to take away from this reading. It read like a very academic attempt to enumerate and explain various ways that people interact with each other using technology. That might be fascinating, if I were not already intimately familiar with it all. If there was some sort of scholarly advice on the implementation of these systems, I didn't notice it amidst the massive tedium of the rest of the article. Sorry.


Victoria Chiu - 4/19/2010 12:35:02

Wikipedia supports users from different times and different locations. It gathers the "wisdom of the crowds." It is low-costing and fast for people to contribute and edit.


Brandon Liu - 4/19/2010 12:58:41

One of the applications of collaboration software the reading mentions is with version control software, where multiple developers have to be connected from different places and at different times. However the article doesn't differentiate the communication issues surrounding version control with the other technologies such as email, bulletin boards, and wikis.

A wiki is the closest thing conceptually to what a version control system needs to do. In this model, multiple users work towards a common final product that is itself stored in the collaboration system (the wiki contents). Both wikis and version control systems need a method of specifying one section of the product (whether it is part of an article, or some block of code) that needs specific attention. Both also keep a history of past revisions. However, the main differentiating feature is that in version control systems there is the concept of "branches" - that is, one cluster of people working on a version that is isolated temporarily, and later merged into the final code.

The concept of branching makes version control different from other collaborative systems, and it integrates many of the groupware types, since people working together physically are often on the same branch. Thus, innovative version control software such as GitHub provides multiple ways to collaborate both co-located and remote collaboration. Software such as Pivotal Tracker on the other hand is made more to support both asynchronous and remote collaboration.


Kathryn Skorpil - 4/19/2010 13:00:12

The internet has changed how we interact for both good and bad reasons. Collaborating via the internet is how most of my groups in CS work together. We use online repositories to share our files together so we are able to work separately. However, working separately means we have to communicate with each other a lot via email, but having everything written out makes it easy to go back and look at it again if you forget. Also using google docs has made collaboration very easy to share documentation and specifications for our projects. I can't even imagine working on projects like this without the internet.


Kyle Conroy - 4/19/2010 13:20:03

With the popularity of Facebook at an all time high, pressure to join social networks is also at an all time high. This pressure puts people who wish to abstain from social networks in a very awkward position. If they choose not to join a network, they risk missing out on events, comments, and messages which their friends are sharing with each other. However, by ignoring the social pressure to join these sites, they liberate themselves from the need to constantly check the site for updates or worry about "silly" things such as profile pictures, social games (Farmville), and other tacky features of the social networking scene.


Angela Juang - 4/19/2010 13:32:37

The use of social media in collaboration and group work is changing over time because of advances in technology. However, ultimately people can't replace the effectiveness of meeting or speaking in person with current electronic alternatives because the overhead of transmitting information is much higher when using indirect means such as email or social media sites - these tools are more of a best alternative when communicating live is not possible. Given these circumstances, it makes sense for technology to be moving toward applications that involve real-time collaboration; by looking at examples such as Google Wave, which simulates the ability to write on a piece of paper in front of a group of people by providing real-time editing, it seems like we are moving in this direction.


Weizhi Li - 4/19/2010 13:55:43

This reading explains the core issues of the process of designing efficient functional user interfaces. It illustrates the issues with numerous current interface design of websites, applications, devices, and broad contexts of use. It also introduces more advanced topics such as search interfaces and information visualization among others giving readers entry points into important trends. The "Time/space four-quadrant matrix model of group-supported work", in the authors opinion is not precise, as collaboration and participation strategies requires the designers to combine interfaces from more than one cell in the matrix in this model.


Alexis He - 4/19/2010 14:09:38

In addition to the lengthy breakdown of mediums for collaboration and social media participation, it would have been nice to shift some of the focus toward the users of these medias. Young people are the primary contributors and driving forces behind social media for the most well-known sites: wikipedia, facebook, myspace, twitter, etc. As per the saying "generation gap", we cannot hope to fully appreciate or understand the new cultures that shape these communities. For this reason, it's important to take a more user-orientated approach when analyzing these social networks rather than categorizing networks based on "things" (for lack of a better word). These are communities that we are trying to study and not rational agents. It may be equally important to understand the anthropological or even psychological aspects of online communities to better our analysis ability on these rich new technologies.


Long Do - 4/19/2010 14:21:01

It is amazing to see how communication has increased and changed with the invention of the internet and other new technologies. The changes are both social and economical in vastness, which can be worrisome. The ability to reach anyone at any time during collaboration has made it difficult to separate work and personal life. Is there a point where the economical benefits of e-mail, text messages, voice chat, twitter, etc. become so overwhelming that we lose much of our own personal life as we put it in hold to answer that one e-mail or call? How about when people post up every aspect of their lives, even some that they should not if they think about just how open the internet is?


Daniel Nguyen - 4/19/2010 14:29:17

I thought the time/space matrix of collaboration was a particularly effective visual tool, because it really emphasizes the benefits of modern collaboration methods to me. For several people to be able to work on the same project at different times from remote locations allows each individual person to fit working on a project into their schedule more easily. Time that is usually lost by travel and by having to fit blocky meetings into a daily schedule is regained because of the flexibility of modern collaboration and can thus be utilized more effectively. This leads to more efficiency and multitasking on the part of every participant, resulting in an overall increase in man power. However, like the reading and the class have pointed out, there are several benefits to in-person interaction with group mates because of the opportunity to share ideas, concerns, and overall enthusiasm about a shared goal. Technology is beginning to evolve in such a way that the benefits of long-distance collaboration and in-person collaboration will soon be merged into one form that will take the many of the benefits, and also the drawbacks, of both forms.


David Zeng - 4/19/2010 14:32:41

Having just finished a case competition for Facebook, I found that it was difficult to try to improve the collaboration of users online. The type of media that is used is dependent on the amount of data that is shared. Blogs work well because they are usually of fairly large length, so people will read it because they can spend a larger amount of time. However, services like Twitter and the facebook status updates are small bursts, so a more synchronous type of connection needs to be made. With that in mind, I believe there is a shift towards a the synchronization of information. With life getting busier and busier, people have less time to check updates, so the updates that are seen should be as recent as possible.


Wei Yeh - 4/19/2010 14:34:05

Digital collaboration and social media participation have come a long way since a decade ago. Before, users were limited to email and message boards. Today, we have a mind-blowing number of ways to communicate and collaborate over the internet. Recently, a new genre of anonymous social media participation, which the article doesn't address, has been created and exploded in popularity. Omegle and ChatRoulette are two sites that came about last year that allow you to (video) chat with complete strangers. These sites break social barriers and norms we observe in the real life. It's interesting, because by being anonymous, people behave in ways they usually would not in real life. In a way, these sites, and technology in general, have brought people closer together.


Tomomasa Terazaki - 4/19/2010 14:37:25

The article was indeed very helpful for the project I’m working on. One of the problems I am having right now is to make each page clear and easy to watch. What I am trying to say is that some interfaces are confusing because there are so many things on a page and there is no blank page so it is not a pleasure for the user to look at such page. The article talked about good interfaces use every space smartly. For example, the Microsoft Outlook 2007 is easy to use because there is hierarchy of folders of emails. Also, the page is set up in a user-friendly manner so it is easy for a first time user too. I was always amazed by how iPhone have such a small screen but it can look at facebook and twitter. This is again because the space is used wisely. I got a better idea of how to make interfaces that is easier for the user to see after reading this article. Also, sometimes the most elaborate interfaces are not the best ones. For example, the Los Angeles County Office of Education from the reading is horrible (reminded me of the old SouthWest interface). Also, I always believe face-to-face interaction is better than webcam or emails because actual human interaction will give the other person a better understanding of the product or anything you are trying to accomplish through he conversation.


Richard Mar - 4/19/2010 14:38:19

I find it interesting that Reddit is not mentioned in the list of Social Media sites; perhaps it was still too small at the time of writing. While Reddit is quite similar to Digg at a glance, there are some key differences. For instance, Reddit has several threads where Redditors worked collectively to complete a project, or aid a fellow Redditor in need, like the Redditor whose family runs Soapier and the Reddit Secret Santa event. In each of these cases, people from all around the world came together primarily because of their common membership on a website whose physical existence is spread out across some datacenters.


Andrew Finch - 4/19/2010 15:08:19

While I did think this article over-analyzed and over-categorized the world of social networking and collaboration, and was generally boring, it mentioned one important point. It argued, and I agree, that there is a certain quality to working with other people in person (in the same room) that can never be entirely acheived through the use of even the best video conferencing or collaboration methodologies. There is a certain sense of accountability and intimacy that is lost when you are communicating with somebody through the medium of a machine. The increasing use of these machines for collaboration seems to be slowly killing this feeling, and changing the way we work together and perceive each other.


Saba Khalilnaji - 4/19/2010 15:33:41

The questions regarding why certain collaborative media are successful and why others are not are uncertain. I think it has close ties to privacy, even though any such form of collaboration reduces privacy, the thought that one's conversation is private still has an effect. Online chatting is more popular than video chatting partly because of privacy. However differences between asynchronous communication and real-time are not easily explained with privacy. Why is email so popular when called someone on the phone gets much quicker and more personal responses, with a better ability for further collaboration and feedback. Perhaps intrinsic personalities result in a preference for less-demanding social interactions. On the phone one has to immediately respond and collaborate while with an email, there is lots of time to evaluate the response and properly reply. As new innovations arise in social media and collaboration, changes in the way we interact with one another will change.


Charlie Hsu - 4/19/2010 15:35:57

I found that the electronic classroom discussion and general questions at the end of the reading brought up many of the same questions brought up in the reading on ubiquitous computing. Privacy is a major concern, as usual, but other questions such as the magnitude of network delays, opportunities for constant and immediate feedback, and ease-of-use for the end user come up for ubiquitous computing, electronic classrooms, and many of the other interactive, collaborative applications described in the reading. Many of these were things we discussed in this course: immediate feedback is important for users to give them a sense of causality, and ease-of-use is an important consideration in any user interface.

Another particularly interesting point in the reading for me was the discussion of the Wiki system and it's design strengths. The reading describes the cost of editing as "low," and easily done: pointers to "Edit" pieces of a wiki are easily recognized and accessed. Automatic partitioning of Wiki articles allows for easily digestable chunks of work, minor edits to a Wiki article require little to no knowledge of MediaWiki syntax, and people wanting to learn MediaWiki syntax have a gigantic encyclopedia of real examples to look through and learn from in Wiki articles themselves!


Divya Banesh - 4/19/2010 15:36:28

In today's reading, I especially liked reading about the crossover between collaboration and social media participation. It seems like the areas in which these two things crossover is growing larger and larger. It seems like more and more, Facebook and Twitter are moving from the social media area to the crossover area. An article was just released about how company recruiters look at a potential employee's Facebook and Twitter sites to see how the person actually behaves. More and more companies also have Facebook pages and groups and encourage their employees to connect over these social networks.


Richard Lan - 4/19/2010 15:40:21

Computing used to be seen as inhuman or isolated, but is giving way to social interconnection through electronic media. Social networking usually does not involve very deep relations, and oftentimes the networks consist of many people making minor contributions to a website such as facebook or youtube. Collaborative interfaces are typically classified using the time-space four quadrant matrix, which includes synchronous, asynchronous, same-place, and different-place categories. One social collaboration interface is wikipedia. Because anyone can edit a wikipedia page, content changes very rapidly. Many project teams like to use wikipedia because it allows for fast collaboration, although they have to be careful about who can modify their information pages.

Recently, microblogging has taken off as a form of online social media because of the easy to use interfaces provided by software such as WordPress, which does not require any knowledge of HTML. Additionally, the speed with which one can put up a new post attracts people who often feel that their lives are rushed. However, I question the need for people to make the minute details of their life publicly viewable on the internet. Microblogging does not seem to have any use in collaborative projects.

It seems like the development of online social media networks has fostered a movement towards greater individualism in the online community. Now, everyone can get a platform from which they can broadcast their views to the online world. Furthermore, they can keep online diaries of their daily lives on websites such as Twitter and Facebook.


Bobbylee - 4/19/2010 15:40:35

This is the reading that I would like to read every week. It is more close to our age. On top of it, it is something that happens to us every day. I also like the way that it divides the online societies into three sets, one is collaboration and the other is social media participation, the last one is a combination of both. I think this is a good division based on the fact that it encompasses every online society. At last, I really like the observation they made in the facebook paragraphs.


Sally Ahn - 4/19/2010 15:43:42

This week's reading reminded me of Google Wave. Our group has been using Google Wave for our project for a while now, and it has definitely been very useful. The live feedback we get with the other collaborators would place this tool into the "Remote Interactions" cell in the "Time/space four-quadrant matrix model" diagram from the reading. The "synchronous" aspect that Google Wave provides is what made the tool more useful than the Google Doc tool, which doesn't provide as immediate of a feedback. I noticed that recently, Google Wave started offering specialized templates for "discussion," "task tracking," "meeting," "document," and "brainstorm." These are just some of the tasks that involve collaborating with others, and finding the most effective methods for doing these tasks would certainly benefit the community.


Long Chen - 4/19/2010 15:49:21

This week's reading is somewhat related to difficulties my group is coming across while working on finishing up the project. Well synchronized collaboration tools such as Google Docs and Dropbox are good first steps in providing free service for simplifying the process of working together remotely, but each service still has it's shortcomings. I believe that designing such a great service will be the next great product, but there are many intricacies that need to be overcome to make such a product. These are the same reason why a company with the resources of Google cannot completely nail down everything right. Synchronous distributed interfaces, which is interaction over different places but at the same time, have tricky problems that are hard to overcome within the current platforms. The primary difficulty is deciding which edition to take when multiple people are working on the same item. This collaboration requires constant communication, either through IM or video messaging, which is not always realistically convenient or easy to do in real life. The reading did not cover this issue in depth, but overcoming issues like this will help one productivity software stand above the rest.


Dan Lynch - 4/19/2010 15:52:54

A very important-to-read article. The technologies discussed in this article have to to with social applications and digital communication over networks. These types of technologies are ubiquitous today and envelop our life today as we know it. This article provides us a way to stratify these technologies in whys that we can then analyze and improve on them. The codifications are segmented by two main areas, synchronous and asynchronous communication. In addition, more segregations are created by same or different geographical locations. The combination of these provides four types of technologies which are discussed very well in the article. Email is an example of communication in different places at different times. A video conference is a good example of different place at the same time. So in essence, we have all seen the four main combinations of these elements.

Usability and accessibility is discussed of some social websites and email applications, which provides the exemplar method for analyzing modern technologies. I was most interested in the section on on-line and networked technologies. They discuss issues from dealing with situations where high-bandwidth communication is limited, to designing user interfaces that advocate a solid user base.


Aneesh Goel - 4/19/2010 16:13:19

While it covers the material it does discuss well, the reading makes the distinction between synchronous and asynchronous communication too sharp, leaving out room for partially-synchronous means of communication like instant messaging and well-designed chatrooms (like IRC in most modern clients). Both are treated as purely synchronous systems, an attitude that has lead to persistent design errors that were fixed far later than they should have been.

By conflating a purely text chat program like IRC and a virtual world like Second Life, the reading fails to explain text-based chat at all; in a system designed as a chat room, rather than a system adding chat functions to another context, behavior is radically different. Users cease to be restricted to short comments while navigating a virtual world, and additional chat functionality no longer removes focus and screen space from the primary interface, because it is the primary interface. IRC clients have highlighting, logging, and functions like lastlog that make conversations - even in a room with over thirty active users and a few hundred lurkers - unrestricted by time. Someone can message me, and the highlight is recorded; five minutes later, the text is gone off the screen because there's five other conversations, but I can still respond by checking my highlights, which update whenever someone directs a message at me - and contribute to another conversation that interests me. Features like lastlog (which searches through your recent logs for the last occurrence of a search term), highlight logging, leaving 'notes' with automated services that will deliver them when a particular user logs on, and private messaging all support asynchronous communication in a synchronous environment; the ability to use both methods together is what gives text chat its advantage over video conferences or audio conferences, which don't support cross-conversations, become unintelligible in large groups, and require users to be present for all information provided in real-time and respond accordingly.

Similarly, instant messages don't have to be instant. If I'm logged on but not at my computer, or busy working on an assignment, or just occupied with something else, I can respond to the message at my leisure. On the other hand, if someone says something that I do want to respond to immediately, we can communicate in effective real-time. The ability to use both modes makes it a very powerful form of communication, but unlike e-mail there's no way to message someone who isn't logged on. In fact, it would be trivial to implement a system that would store messages to someone offline and deliver them when they next connected; however, because instant messaging was seen as a purely synchronous means of communication, the feature was seen as useless despite it being the only thing more convenient about email for one-to-one conversations. It wasn't until GTalk and its GMail integration that this feature became commonplace (though Yahoo! had implemented it in their chat program before, AOL and MSN only implemented it after Google); even then, it was clunky, emailing users their missed messages rather than displaying them on login (though now it will do both, and mark the messages read if you read them by logging into a chat client first, a huge improvement).


Jeffrey Bair - 4/19/2010 16:23:17

The bridging of real social interactions to electronic social interactions has been a slow and steady transition. More and more people are able to “keep connected” by just going on the internet and chatting through instant messaging, social spaces, and even video-mediated communication. The goals of collaboration and participation make it so that different devices are required for different kinds of collaboration. For example, when you have a group of two programming, instant messaging works well. However, with larger groups that are in a meeting may require a videochat to handle the simultaneous talks. And when a large group is editing a document things like google docs comes in handy. These are all just simple examples of how different interactions between group members require vastly different tools. However, they all have one thing in common and that is the allowance of people to get together and interact with one another in much easier situations.


Linsey Hansen - 4/19/2010 16:36:46

So, while this did seem to be another one of those "know your users" readings, I did like reading something directed towards social interfaces and user needs (mostly since our iScout application is kind of social). I especially liked their little Time-Space Groupware Matrix, because it was able to summarize different social groups adequately, and then the rest of the reading gave good example interfaces for those social groups.

Ironically, even though I was family with most of the examples (ie. facebook, wikipedia, etc), I never actually did think about what it was about those interfaces that made them successful (though personally I feel like the facebook interface fails, though it's various features are nice). For example, facebook is pretty awesome as a social network since it allows for many different types of social media participation (boards, mail, instant messaging, games, groups, tagging, rating), thus, it appeals to many different kinds of people with different social goals.


Mohsen Rezaei - 4/19/2010 16:40:06

After reading the article "Collaboration and Social Media Participation," one very general and important question that came up for me was, how did people communicate before all these technologies, and did the technologies improve this fast because of these new ways of communications? Looking at the way people communicate nowadays might amaze people if compared with how it was done in the older days. By older days I dont mean 50-100 years ago, but only couple of years ago. We hear that people can work on projects and collaborate with engineers over on this side of the world in America, for example, from Asia. Companies can hire people who dont live in the same city as the company, and the people hired can work from their house without commuting. This helps save time and have a better outcome since people can reduce the stress of going around and working. Of course, none of this can be possible without the existence of User Interfaces. Without UI we wouldnt be able to express ideas well enough over internet and without it we would be more frustrating to communicate in a virtual world.


Jungmin Yun - 4/19/2010 16:44:08

This reading says that the expanding options for collaboration and social media participation have benefits for everyone. Individuals who have their goal quickly recognize the benefits of electronic collaboration. We need to understand the social dimension of collaboration nod social media participation are coming to grips with its terminology and scope. We also need to know the differences between collaboration and social media participation. Collaborations can be seen as activities carried out by small teams of 2 to 20 people- or perhaps more, as in collaboratories. Collaboration is purposeful and often business-related. However, social media participation can involve 10 people in a chat room or hundreds of millions of discretionary users in an environment such as Facebook or Myspace. The participation may support existing relationships or help users establish new ones, but often these relationships persist only in the online world. People collaborate because doing so is satisfying or productive. collaboration can have purely emotionally rewarding purposes or specific task-related goals.


Raymond Lee - 4/19/2010 16:45:53

I feel lurkers are an important demographic in online social interactions. They stand to benefit much from observing the discussion, and are likely able to form an opinion resulting from these observations even if he or she is not willing to share it. Lurkers also have the potential to eventually convert to full-fledged contributing members of the community, as I've seen many new threads/posts by self-admitted lurkers.


Joe Cadena - 4/19/2010 16:47:16

I was interested by Ben Schneiderman's quote regarding the increase of collaboration methods in the business world: "... Will the speedup in work rates reduce quality, increase burnout, or undermine loyalty?..." From personal experience as a member of a project team, I find collaboration tools to be useful but not reliable as the foundation for a team's coordination or tasking. I believe physical interaction helps build a tighter-knit team by allowing members to learn each others habits and expectations in order to prevent "burnouts" and promote project loyalty. Yes, the collaboration tools are essential, but a team will prosper greater with increased physical interactions.


Michael Cao - 4/19/2010 16:58:02

Collaboration online and social media is definitely important. Without social interaction, the internet would just be one giant static place filled with information. Collaboration online such as through email, allows people to perform tasks much quicker. Also social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace allow people to stay in touch and communicate with each other without having to be near each other. In the end, social media participation makes people's lives more efficient.


Chris Wood - 4/19/2010 17:02:44

Social software is a very popular service nowadays, one that requires a lot of user input. The high frequency with which users must use social software requires it to be easy to use and quick to navigate through. This class of computer/human interaction serves to bridge a communication gap between its users so information should be presented in a clear and simple manner, because it is not the complex state of the computer program that is important but the information other users of interest are trying to present. I think the choice of which information to present most prominently to make the program easy to understand and interact with is the most important issue in UI design for this topic.


Bryan Trinh - 4/19/2010 17:03:06

Beyond being there exposes fundamental limitations on the current state of digital communication and provides a new framework to view communicating digitally. I agree with him that we should focus our research attentions on other technologies that can enhance the way that we traditionally interact. The advent of the IM system and email system is testament to how alternative forms of communcation can alter the way that we socially interact. What scares me is that these other modes of communication can detriment the need for the more intimate communication modes that audio and video affords. A good example of this is sending a simple text message in replacement of a phone call.


Arpad Kovacs - 4/19/2010 17:05:21

This chapter categorizes various collaborative and social media into a time/space matrix, and then gives an overview of each category. The most interesting part of the article was the discussion on the failures of work-oriented groupware, such as disparities between who does the work and who gets the benefit, as well as threats to existing political power structures and inconvenient access. Overall, I think that the asynchronous distributed communication interfaces (such as email, listserv/groups, and blogs/wikis) are by far the most efficient form of electronic collaboration, although at times they can feel a bit impersonal. In contrast, the newer synchronous distributed interfaces such as instant messaging and teleconferencing make people feel more connected because they can meet at the same time. However, these channels also tend to waste more time since you have to wait for the other person to respond; however they are useful if you absolutely need information immediately.

Another observation concerning the newer online media such as social networks and various blogging/twitter services is that they are much more fragmented and isolated than the older systems they replaced. For example, in the past I could open up my newsgroup client and view a centralized collection of computer-related discussions from around the world all at the same time on comp.*; likewise I can open my email client and send a message to anyone in the world. In contrast, with the proliferation of online forums and social networking communities, I need to keep track of which website the particular person I am trying to contact is available on, then create a unique profile for each community and login separately to interact with the people there. I guess what I am trying to say is that I miss the centralized push paradigm used by Listserv and email, which is much more convenient than the poll paradigm used by online forums which you proactively need to revisit within a given time interval to get a response.


Richard Heng - 4/19/2010 17:05:29

I found he "death of distance" counter argument to be weak. I feel that communication can be just as effective, if not more effective, through online formats in certain situations. It argues that trust building and personal exchanges can happen with other people that has a positive effect on relationships. I argue that relationships can be built remotely also. I've had several relationships become stronger with the use of instant messages. Chat in instant messaging is also effective because it creates logs of conversations that can be looked over for future reference. E-mails can have structure, and convey information more clearly than colloquial conversation. The point gets across faster, which is useful for business environments. In person conversations are simply not as efficient for anything but purely social situations.


Boaz Avital - 4/19/2010 17:06:37

In class we talk about designing for your user. An interesting graphic in the reading is the one illustrating the difference between an "answer user"'s and a "discussion user"'s patterns of communication. I would find it hard to believe that one interface is sufficient for these two very different users. How could we go about adapting one program to either of these users' usage patterns?


Geoffrey Wing - 4/19/2010 17:14:46

It was nice to have a reading on current trends that I could most directly relate to. I have used and continue to use, many of the collaboration mediums discussed in this reading. In fact, I cannot really imagine what I would do without the these tools, and I wonder how people collaborated without these internet-based tools.

For my group's project, we are using an online collaboration tool - GitHub. Like any version control system, it is very helpful in allowing us to split up work and put it all together. As busy college students, it is often difficult to find time to meet up together (not surprisingly, there are many online tools to help find time to meet up like Doodle), so this helps immensely. When I took the software engineering class, the professor stressed the importance of communication between the group for a successful completing of the project. When face-to-face meetings were not possible, he recommended using IM or the like. However, he did stress that face-to-face was the best option. I agree with this as well. Online collaboration is very productive, however, you are limited in the work real estate - your computer monitor can only show so many things. In-person meetings you can easily show each other your computer screens, write on a white board, etc.



Andrey Lukatsky - 4/19/2010 17:15:05

While reading the chapter, I couldn't help buy wonder why all the previous Berkeley classes I've taken have placed little emphasis on collaboration via social media. Despite lack of direct encouragement from faculty, it's quite interesting that in almost all the groups I've been in, collaborative tools were used (such as Google Groups, Etherpad, etc). Perhaps teachers are not used to such mediums of newer generations.


Calvin Lin - 4/19/2010 17:24:29

With the internet and computer software completely changing how the world does business and companies work internally, collaboration tools are obviously very important in communication and productivity. The chapter discusses many different types and forms of collaboration that are used today. Out of all this however, I find that there is no tool that can come close to replacing in-person interaction. Video conferencing is great for getting more personal and having visuals, but you cannot easily pass something over for the other person to see and edit, and then pass it back. It’s certainly doable, but so far nothing has resonated with users. Having discussions online with multiple users can get really messy and hard to track since there is no facilitator or person taking notes of the major points. Furthermore, text-only chat restricts the range of expression and affects how two people interact – the conversation is often more of the style where people take turns. In person, it’s easy to interject and quickly go off what someone just said. From experience, fewer ideas are expressed over online chat than in person. These are just some examples where users are restricted within the boundaries of a particular medium/software. I think a goal for designers of collaboration tools is to combine all the positives of each type into one package. Sometimes people want just text chat and sometimes video conferencing is the best option. Being able to share files, work on them at the same time, and easily have discussion all at the same time is not a natural task yet. Although there are several options available, there are some psychological factors that have caused hesitation over adoption of these tools. Pursuing a more natural feel and ease of use should be the goal.


Darren Kwong - 4/19/2010 17:34:30

This reading covers a gamut of communication and collaboration mediums. It is easy to relate to what was written about some of the more common technologies mentioned and the idea of "netiquette." It is interesting to think about user interface designs in social media and collaboration tools and how they have evolved, e.g. options to filter and sort messages in a forum thread and YouTube's rating system.


Yu Li - 4/19/2010 17:36:30

As the saying goes two heads are better than one. This way of thinking also applies in the field of computers. Now that the World Wide Web has expanded, more and more people are now able to collaborate and participate in social media. Although there are numerous benefits to collaboration and social media participation, such as: electronic collaboration (Google docs), potential for businesses, chat groups to stay in touch with people all around the world, there are also many limitations and problems. For example, how intimate can two people become online without ever meeting face to face? Or what about the problem of people becoming so engrossed in the online world that they forget to foster healthy physical relationships. Take for example the case of "Snowy" a girl from China that became so obsessed with playing online RPG games that she forgot to eat and eventually died in real life. Even though collaboration and social media participation has given us many new and more convenient ways to communicate with each other, they have also increased the risks and problems we face each day as internet users.


Spencer Fang - 4/19/2010 17:39:43

The reading focused on how the Internet and online communities have made computing less isolating and introversive. They have made computers a tool enable physically distant people to exchange ideas and information. I was surprised the author did not discuss how this new social aspect of computing has in turn affected the software world. The Internet enabled software developers from all over the world to collaborate on building and maintaining all sorts of software, and allowing communities to grow around such projects. Python, Perl and Ruby's large libraries of modules immediately come into mind. Because of these efforts that are made possible by the Internet, the average computer user can also benefit from the resulting software.



Wilson Chau - 4/19/2010 17:48:31

This reading was about the types of interfaces useful to know when designing for different social media. It went over the different ways in which people interact from video conferencing to chatting online. It also went over a little bit how social media interfaces are still new and still being refined.


Matt Vaznaian - 4/19/2010 17:51:09

I thought that an interesting part of the reading was when they talked about the motivation for collaboration and social media participation. I personally feel like the only reason I join these online communities is for egotistical purposes. I join facebook because I want to know whats going on with my friends. However, I usually don't post my own information, such a pictures or status updates. I don't use twitter because I am not interested in others' updates; it does not benefit me at all. I guess in a way I would definitely refer to myself as a lurker. That sounds bad but I don't find the need to honor altruism, collectivism or principalism... in the computer application sense. These things are important to me elsewhere, but I don't feel pressure to post on peoples blogs or reply with my own help on forums.


Conor McLaughlin - 4/19/2010 17:51:55

Page 368 of the reading, first paragraph. I would quote it here if it weren't for its length, but that single paragraph showed that the writers of this paper were true designers, true understanders of the human condition. As designers, we are asked to design and produce products that either provide utilitarian benefits or pleasure to the user, but that means we have to understand exactly what it is that users want to accomplish and why they wish to do so. To design for life we have to leave the expanse of the cubicle and actually go out and experience the world. Part of the difficulty of social media is it is trying to replicate that sensual experience of the world where a chance encounter can happen two individuals. The thrill, the slight amount of adrenaline pumping through the veins when an individual intrigues you.

Shneiderman states: "Wide-angle, high-resolution, and low-latency video technologies can’t yet match the richness of being there," and he is right. But, we have to recognize that in the absence of such comfort and closeness, technology can serve as an aid in capturing that sensual experience of the world around you. My girlfriend and I often use Skype to talk to each other when we are separated by large amounts of distance, which is often because we are in a long-distance relationship, but the beauty of Skype comes when we use it not talk but just to be with each other. The fact that there is this slight tenuous connection through video between us, even if each of us is working on homework or doing something else, is what has maintained my relationship for the duration it has lasted. Skype is not attempting to recreate the actual experience of being with the person but is offering a reasonable alternative that enhances the world around me by slightly closing the distance between myself and my girlfriend. That is why things like 3D conference rooms, or simulated environments, have failed. They are trying to be something they are not (just an artificial recreation), rather than aid a user in experiencing the infinitely rich universe that actually exists. Skype is what allows me to be with a person thousands of miles away, and the value of such things is something all designers should take into consideration.


Eric Fung - 4/19/2010 17:52:18

There are a multitude of possibilities with interacting with other people using computers, depending on the time frame and whether physical space is shared in which interaction happens. But good interfaces are just one factor in determining the success of this collaboration. Wikipedia's interface is simple enough to learn and makes it straightforward to edit pages, but the key is in getting people involved and invested in the results. The article claims that educational collaborative tools such as Sakai have met with success, possibly as a result of good UI design (simple enough for nontechnical teachers and students to use) in addition to a well-defined goal (making resources available for classwork).

I always wondered how so many people get organized in large-scale open-source projects, but after reading this article, it makes sense that leaders and entrepreneurs of each project emerge and bind ordinary contributors together. They are able to moderate themselves and select their own leaders to provide direction for the software's development.


Vinson Chuong - 4/19/2010 17:54:22

As emphasized in the reading, one of the underlying issues that may be preventing more advanced, high-bandwidth collaboration methods from gaining traction is that of privacy. It feels as though talking with someone in person outside is more acceptable than video conferencing from one's room--perhaps due to the distinction between private and public life. I myself find video conferencing to be a little strange and prefer to use e-mail or other text-based forms of communication when I'm at home. I believe that it's worthwhile to discuss why there hasn't been a lot of advances in high-bandwidth collaboration.


Jordan Klink - 4/19/2010 17:55:42

This weeks reading covered a topic that I'm already very familiar with: collaboration. I know full-well just how easy it is for someone to be social and collaborate through the use of the internet during this age of information. Perhaps more important, though, is the impact that collaboration has in design choices. If you're making an app one big question to answer is if the app should have social aspects or not. In many cases it is not necessary, but for other cases it can be a huge advantage. Especially in the realm of gaming, which is my forte, the ability to socialize is a huge feature and very important to me not as a user but as a developer.


Jonathan Hirschberg - 4/19/2010 17:59:23

I think it’s limiting to categorize social media only by these two dimensions. While the two dimensions of same or different place and same or different time are adequate to describe most social media, there may be more dimensions that this format overlooks. For example, the reading even mentions that there are collaborative (business use) versus social media (recreational) facilities, and this existing categorization forces both types to be included in each cell. There are other ways to categorize it too, such as by amount of user freedom, the kind of user interactions, variety of capabilities offered, or exploitation and threat potential. These things are overlooked by the current format. Setting up a chart like this could also allow entrepreneurs see which aspects are not addressed by existing technology and push for innovation in those areas.


Owen Lin - 4/19/2010 18:00:59

I really appreciate the revolution in communication that the Internet has given. It feels that social services and networks are starting to become oversaturated. To me, the number of social networks are becoming limitless, and that for any new social network it may be too late to try to take hold now in today's Internet environment. With competitors like Facebook and mySpace having millions and millions of users, there's little room for something new.



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