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Interaction Beyond the Individual: A Lecture on HCI-Oriented Collaborative and Social Computing
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Interaction Beyond the Individual: A Lecture on HCI-Oriented Collaborative and Social Computing



A lecture on social computing given at the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Taiwan on July 17, 2012

A lecture on social computing given at the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Taiwan on July 17, 2012



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  • Certainly Email or MSN are not new tools. Facebook may be a little bit newer. What’s new is to consider that these systems or tools share common attributes and mechanisms.

Interaction Beyond the Individual: A Lecture on HCI-Oriented Collaborative and Social Computing Interaction Beyond the Individual: A Lecture on HCI-Oriented Collaborative and Social Computing Presentation Transcript

  • Interaction Beyond the Individual:A Lecture on HCI-Oriented Collaborative andSocial ComputingHao-Chuan Wang . 王浩全Department of Computer ScienceInstitute of Information Systems and ApplicationsNational Tsing Hua University, Taiwanhttp://www.cs.nthu.edu.tw/~haochuan
  • NTHU Collaborative and Social Computing (CSC) Lab Wang 2
  • Agenda• What: Social computing in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)• Why: Value of social computing• How: Design of social computing systems• How: Research in social computing. CHI & CSCW.• Reflection Wang 3
  • Some ReferencesThomas Erickson’s Tutorial on Interaction-Design.orghttp://www.interaction- design.org/encyclopedia/social_computing.htmlPanos Ipeirotis’ WWW 2011 Tutorialhttp://www.slideshare.net/ipeirotis/managing-crowdsourced- human-computation Wang 4
  • What is Social Computing Wang 5
  • HCI: Studying the Existing and Possible Relationships between Computers and PeopleACM SIGCHI Curricula 1996 (15 years ago) Wang 6
  • Observation from TodayNothing wrong, but slightly outdated. What’s changing today?- Much emphasis is on the context of use- Computers are more powerful and can look and work very differently- Not necessarily “one human, one computer”- Computer-mediated human-human interaction becomes commonplace Wang 7
  • Examples: MSN, QQ Wang 8
  • Skype Wang 9
  • Twitter, Plurk Wang 10
  • Facebook, Google+ Wang 11
  • Amazon.com Wang 12
  • Wikipedia Wang 13
  • What’s common among these systems? 1. Technology-mediation 2. ? Wang 14
  • What’s common among these systems? 1. Technology Mediation Wang 15
  • What’s common among these systems? 1. Technology Mediation 2. Social Interaction Wang 16
  • The Invisible ComputersQuestion: Consider your recent experience of online communication (email, IM, Skype, Facebook), rank the salience of the following targets: (A) Computers (B) People you talk to (C) Tasks you do with people Wang 17
  • The Invisible ComputersQuestion: Consider your recent experience of online communication (email, IM, Skype, Facebook), rank the salience of the following targets: (A) Computers (B) People you talk to (C) Tasks you do with peopleMost likely orderings: B, C, A or C, B, A.Computers play more of mediating roles, and can be invisible to users. Social interaction can matter more. Wang 18
  • Computing Systems with Significant “Social Layers”“The social layer” as what distinguishes them from other computing systems • Email, MSN, Skype are valuable because they support remote communication • Facebook won’t be as rich and attractive if we did not have many friends using it • Wikipedia becomes another content-less website if it does not have all the mechanisms for supporting users’ collaborative editing of content.An emerging category: Social ComputingNot all technical, not all social, but “socio-technical” Wang 19
  • Defining Social Computing “Social computing refers to systems that support the gathering, processing and dissemination of information that is distributed across social collectives. Furthermore, the information in question is not independent of people, but rather is significant precisely because it linked to people, who are in turn associated with other people.” – Thomas Erickson, IBM Researchhttp://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/social_computing.html Wang 20
  • Why Social Computing? Wang 21
  • Value of Social ComputingEnabling mechanism • Breaking existing constraintsEfficiency of processing • Integration of collective effortsQuality of outcomes • Social input, synergyHuman-machine collaboration • Leveraging unique human processing abilities • Augmenting human processingUnique value can emerge from coupling people & enabling interpersonal communication with technologieshttp://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/social_computing.html Wang 22
  • Enabling Mechanism: Breaking the ConstraintsEx. Computer-mediated communication tools enable remotecommunication and distributed collaboration.Ex. Social networking sites (e.g., Facebook) make it possible to developand maintain social connections at a different scale and intensity, andwith different organizational properties (e.g., densernetwork). Wang 23
  • Efficiency of ProcessingCollective efforts can lead to efficient processing.After the 311 Earthquake, over 1500 edits on the Wikipedia articlein one day, producing a well-formed article with rich text, photos andmaps. Wang 24
  • 311 Earthquake Wikipedia Editing History Wang 25
  • Quality of Outcomes Bounded rationality: For problem solving and decision making, people are with limited processing resources and cannot search the problem space thoroughly for more optimal solutions and decisions. Ex. Social recommendation mechanisms can help.http://www.interaction-design.org/images/encyclopedia/social_computing/fig1_social_computing_research_social_media.jpg Wang 26
  • Human-Machine CollaborationHuman computation: leveraging unique human processing capabilities, such as image and natural language understanding for content analysis and labeling.Ex. Digitizing old editions of the New York Times with reCAPTCHA. Wang 27
  • ESP Gamehttp://www.slideshare.net/ipeirotis/managing-crowdsourced-human-computation Wang 28
  • Wanghttp://www.slideshare.net/ipeirotis/managing-crowdsourced-human-computation 29
  • http://www.slideshare.net/ipeirotis/managing-crowdsourced-human-computation Wang 30
  • “Games With A Purpose” (GWAP)Why are people doing the work (image labeling) for free? • Because it’s fun! • Image labeling as the by-product of gamingPeople don’t necessarily want to do free work even when the task is simple. Need to motivate or incentivize people. • Good experience (gaming, GWAP) • Monetary incentive (Amazon Mechanical Turk) • Education (learning, Duolingo)Games with a Purpose http://www.gwap.com/gwap/ Wang 31
  • DuolingoTranslating the whole web while people learn a second language. Duolingo Introduction Video http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=WyzJ2Qq9Abs Wang 32
  • Human-Machine Collaboration Augmenting Human Processing: People can be bad at doing some work, and machines can possibly help out. Ex. IdeaExpander- Supporting idea generation by visualizing ongoing conversations as relevant pictures.[Wang et al., CSCW 2010] http://www.cs.cornell.edu/~haochuan/manuscripts/WangCosleyFussell_CSCW_10.pdf Wang 33
  • How to Design Social Computing Systems? Wang 34
  • Designing Social Computing SystemsIdeally from an HCI design perspective: Study -> Design -> Prototype -> Study -> Redesign … Human Computer Interaction A discipline concerned with the design implementation evaluation of interactive computing systems for human use Saul Greenberg http://pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~saul/hci_topics/pdf_files/introduction_481.pdf Wang 35
  • Designing Social Computing Systems (cont.)Realistically, designers often are not very clear what lead to successful social computing • Facebook changes all the time, but hard to say it’s always becoming “better” • Usable interfaces do not necessarily imply useful social computing, and vice versa • A strong “studier” culture: Studying how people collaborate offline and online • Borrowing from multiple disciplines: Communication, social psychology, sociology, STS, urban planning etc. Wang 36
  • More about Social Computing Design“Best practices and pitfalls in social computing”: Interview with Thomas Erickson (IBM Research) on Interaction-Design.org Best practices (– 6’10’’): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnsRuXaZCNA Wang 37
  • Summary about Best Design Practices by Thomas Erickson In short: It’s not trivial. • Learning from face-to-face interaction and emulating aspects of it online may help • Close, in-context observation may help • Don’t over-trust designers’ intuition • Be comfortable with contradictions (acknowledge that it’s complex) • Prototype the system and push it into the context as soon as possible Conceptually, social computing design is still “user- centered”, but often there is no good method or heuristic, and the outcome can be more unpredictable than common interface design. Wang 38
  • How: Research in Social Computing Wang 39
  • Invention-Driven and Understanding-Driven ResearchComputing academics are with a strong tradition of invention • Invent an artifact (e.g., algorithm) and study its properties thoroughly. Invention takes a lead.Good but don’t always work great • Academics didn’t invent Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg and colleagues invented the tool, but not really the social structure and social interaction out there • Not all clear how to initiate and sustain social networking sites, online communities etc. yet. Wang 40
  • Invention-Driven and Understanding-Driven Research (cont.)Understanding-driven strategy • Pragmatism: Doesn’t matter who invented it. Accept that it’s there and many users like or use it. • What’s important is not to reinvent it, but to gain deeper understanding of the phenomena. • Richer understanding may contribute to improvement and new invention later.Studying offline and online social interactions in different domains and situations is relevant and valuable. Wang 41
  • Some Elements in Social Computing ResearchComputer-mediated communicationComputer-supported cooperative workSocial mediaSocial networkingOnline communityHuman computationCrowdsourcingComputational social sciences (e-social sciences)Computer-supported collaborative learningetc. Wang 42
  • Example: What Twitter Tells UsComputer-mediated communicationComputer-supported cooperative workSocial mediaSocial networkingOnline communityHuman computationCrowdsourcingComputational social sciences (e-social sciences)Computer-supported collaborative learningetc. Wang 43
  • “Twitterology: A New Science?” Twitter as a micro-blogging service records hundreds of millions public comments from hundreds of millions of people worldwide. • Twitter messages can possibly help us understand people’s behaviors and answer some social science questions • Sampling bias: Need to keep in mind the gap between online and offline behaviorshttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/opinion/sunday/twitterology-a-new-science.html Wang 44
  • Using Twitter Data to Study Mood Variation Use a validated mood dictionary to analyze Twitter data and present patterns of mood variation across hours of a day and days of a week. Show that positive and negative affect correlate with patterns of work, sleep and daylength change.“Global mood swing” reflectedon Twitter.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp98_R1YieY Scott A. Golder and Michael W. Macy. (2011) Diurnal and Seasonal Mood Vary with Work, Sleep and Daylength Across Diverse Cultures. Science. Wang 45
  • The Social Aspect of ResearchCommunities of Practice: A profession can be defined socially, including shared understanding, experience and belief that people possess and things that people do in a community. [Wenger]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_practice Wang 46
  • The Social Aspect of Research (cont.)Social computing research is also shaped by communities. Different communities can have somewhat different views. • Choosing a community, and knowing and participating it deeply • Things look new, different outside of the community may look old, familiar inside the communityACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) • Two major SIGCHI conferences: CHI and CSCW. Wang 47
  • Some Major HCI Communities (Grudin, 2011) Wang 48
  • CHI (Human Factors in Computing Systems)CHI (pronounced like “Kai”) is the umbrella conference ofSIGCHI• One of the oldest, starting from 1982 (30 years)• Covering all topics in HCI• One of the largest ACM conferences, 2000-3000 participants; more than 10 parallel sessions• One of the hardest for paper acceptance, 20-25% acceptance rate• Review process: external reviewers & AC (Associate Chair) reviewers; Face-to-face PC meetings for paper selection. Wang 49
  • CHI (Human Factors in Computing Systems) 2012 Paper Subcommittees1. Usability, Accessibility and User Experience2. Specific Application Areas3. Interaction Beyond the Individual4. Design5. Interaction Using Specific Modalities6. Understanding People: Theory, Concepts, Methods7. Interaction Techniques and Devices8. Expanding Interaction through Technology, Systems and Tools Wang 50
  • Some CHI 2012 Photos Wang 51
  • Some CHI 2012 Photos Wang 52
  • CSCW (Computer-Supported Cooperative Work)CSCW is one SIGCHI conference specialized for collaborativetechnologies and social computing.• Held every other year (biennially) from 1986 to 2008 • Interleaving with ECSCW• Held annually since 2010. Slight change of title to “ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing” starting 2013.• Similar quality and difficulty to CHI. The first SIGCHI conference adopts a two-phase review process (similar to journal) since 2012.• Smaller in size, about 600+ participants. More focused, easier to socialize. Common “I liked CSCW more than CHI” comment from CSCW and social computing folks. Wang 53
  • Reflections Wang 54
  • Be Aware of the “Because It’s New” ThinkingIntuitively, it seems straightforward to consider social computing and HCI in general are new • Facebook, Twitter, Apps … are newHowever, many relevant ideas and systems are not new • Email, instant messaging, BBS are useful but not new • The underlying technical components and ideas have much overlapCommunities are not new • CHI, CSCW have been there for 30 years • Understandings of social interaction and technical know-hows are accumulating and influencing subsequent work.Doing it because it’s valuable but not just because it’s new. Wang 55
  • The Invisible Designers “Social design”- the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) • A sociological response to technological determinism • Social shaping of technologies.http://ilikeinnovation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Picture-31.png Wang 56
  • The Role of CultureSocial computing cannot work without people, and people’s thoughts and behaviors are shaped by culture (e.g., Western versus Eastern). • Important to ask how local cultures differ and what’s the implication to social computing. “One size may not fit all” • More, perhaps we can leverage cultural characteristics and differences to enable useful social computing. Wang 57
  • Finally, Revisiting “The Two Cultures” C.P. Snow, British scientist and writer, argued that there exists an intellectual and communicative gap between “the sciences” and “the humanities” • Scientists don’t know Shakespeare • Humanists don’t know Thermaldynamics • But (let’s be naive), are there any practical, functional reasons that the gap should be bridged?http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=an-update-on-cp-snows-two-cultures Wang 58
  • Bridging the Gap Creates ValueSocial computing as a proof-of-concept that combining computing and social research, technologies and humanities can lead to concrete, beneficial outcomesSocial studies and analyses are as useful as computer programming in social computing design • Viewing them as problem solving tools; creatively and thoughtfully getting value out of them • Merging the two cultures into one problem solving culture- Responding to social problems, and increasing the social contributions of work at both sides. Wang 59
  • Thank You 清華大學人機合作與社群運算實驗室NTHU Collaborative and Social Computing Lab (CSC Lab) http://www.cs.nthu.edu.tw/~haochuan/ Wang 60