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Shared relationships, spaces and online information behaviours: a social exchange and capital perspective

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Hazel Hall's paper, co-authored with Gunilla Widen-Wulff, Lorraine Paterson and Brian Davison, presented at Information: Interactions and Impact (i3), Aberdeen 22-25 June 2009. It develops the earlier work discussed in the presentation available at http://www.slideshare.net/HazelHall/motivating-learner-engagement-in-online-environments-the-relevance-of-social-exchange-theory and the paper available at http://drhazelhall.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/2008_hall_widen_wulff_use_oulu1.pdf, and was later developed into a full journal article accessible from http://hazelhall.org/?attachment_id=119.

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Shared relationships, spaces and online information behaviours: a social exchange and capital perspective

  1. 1. Shared relationships, spaces and online information behaviours A social exchange and capital perspective Presented by Dr Hazel Hall Reader in Social Informatics Centre for Social Informatics Edinburgh Napier University Scotland, UK h.hall@napier.ac.uk @hazelh (Twitter)
  2. 2. Research backgroundProject team  Dr Hazel Hall, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland  Professor Gunilla Widén-Wulff, Åbo Akademi University, Finland  Lorraine Paterson, User Vision, Edinburgh, Scotland  Brian Davison, Edinburgh Napier University, ScotlandExternal funding  Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
  3. 3. Research question To what extent are online To what extent are online information interactions information interactions socially motivated? socially motivated?
  4. 4. Research questions To what extent are online To what extent are online How strong aarole do How strong role do hard/explicit rewards serve as hard/explicit rewards serve as information interactions information interactions incentives for online information incentives for online information sharing? socially motivated? socially motivated? sharing? To what extent does aadesire to To what extent does desire to reciprocate prompt individuals reciprocate prompt individuals to share information in online to share information in online How do existing social How do existing social environments? environments? linkages predict interactions in linkages predict interactions in an online information sharing an online information sharing environment? environment? May an online environment May an online environment develop an ecology that develop an ecology that actively encourages online actively encourages online information sharing? information sharing?
  5. 5. Research questions To what extent are online To what extent are online How strong aarole do How strong role do hard/explicit rewards serve as hard/explicit rewards serve as information interactions information interactions incentives for online information incentives for online information sharing? sociallyWidén-Wulff, G. (2008). Social exchange, social capital Hall, H., & motivated? socially motivated? sharing? and information sharing in online environments: lessons from three case studies. Social exchange, social capital and information sharing studies in online environments: lessons from three case studies. Studia does aadesire to To what extent does desire to To what extent reciprocate prompt individuals Humaniora Ouluensia, 8, 73-86. PDF of manuscript reciprocate prompt individuals available from: to share information in online http://www.dcs.napier.ac.uk/~hazelh/esis/hall_widen_wulff_2008.pdf to share information in online How do existing social How do existing social environments? environments? linkages predict interactions in linkages predict interactions in an online information sharing an online information sharing environment? environment? May an online environment May an online environment develop an ecology that develop an ecology that actively encourages online actively encourages online information sharing? information sharing?
  6. 6. Possible explanations for onlineinformation sharing behavioursFocus here is on one of the non-corporate environments discussed by Hall and Widén-Wulff (2008)  Edinburgh Napier University  Data from two cohorts (2007 and 2008)  Full paper to position the findings with growing literature base that ties online information sharing with social exchange theory, within a broader context of social capital
  7. 7. Exchange theoryFrom economics  Economic resources are bought and sold  Deals are subject to contractual obligations  Resources are exchanged for currency  Purchaser choices are made from a range of options  Best value for lowest cost
  8. 8. Social exchange theory“Flavour” of exchange theory  “Resources” “bought” and “sold”, but mutual obligations are ill-defined  “Deals” not necessarily subject to contractual obligations  “Resources” not necessarily exchanged for currency  “Resources” exchanged may be valued more highly than market cost
  9. 9. Social exchange theory“Flavour” of exchange theory  “Resources” “bought” and “sold”, but mutual obligations are ill-defined Actors share social bonds, and Actors share social bonds, and high levels of trust, in long-term high levels of trust, in long-term  “Deals” not necessarily subject dependent relationships dependent relationships to contractual obligations  “Resources” not necessarily exchanged for currency  “Resources” exchanged may be valued more highly than market cost
  10. 10. Applications of social exchange theoryDiscipline ThemesAnthropology Gift-givingSociology Power relationshipsBehavioural psychology Processes of learningInformation systems Open source communitiesInformation science Scholarly communications as based on relationships built through research communities and invisible colleges Processes of scholarship as productive exchange Citation analysis – social connectivity of researchers and levels of trust Acknowledgements as a form of gift-giving
  11. 11. Level 3 Information Delivery moduleModule content focused on organisational information delivery challenges  Information overload  Islands of automation  AudiencePlacement experience proxy for 3rd year undergraduatesMixed cohort  High proportion of international students: 46% non-native English speakers in 2008  Full range of Computing programmes represented (e.g. Information Systems, Internet Computing, Multimedia, Networking, Human Computer Systems, Software Engineering), plus Customised
  12. 12. Evolution of the learning environment Cohort Site for reflection Research output 2004 Closed learning logs 2005 Blog environment internal to Hall & Davison (2007) module developed by one of 2006 the module tutors 2007 “Blog” environment internal to Hall & Widén-Wulff (2008); to be extended in Hall, Edinburgh Napier supported Widén-Wulff, Paterson & 2008 by WebCT Portfolio function Davison (2009) Move into the public space to widen opportunities for collective reflective learning through speaking out (blogging), listening (reading) and discussing (commenting).
  13. 13. 70% course assessed mark allocated toblogs and commentsMain entries should  Be relevant to the week’s module content  Make links between theory and practice  Demonstrate understanding or highlight areas of difficulty  Justify points made, e.g. through reasoned argument, by referring to reading material, personal experience, etc.Comments should  Extend the line of argument of the original blog postings  Offer alternative views
  14. 14. Comments on blog entries Response to blog entry Response to blog entry on course work mark on course work markReflection on blogger’s Reflection on blogger’sobservation about the observation about theweek’s lab activity week’s lab activity Discussion of Discussion of football score football score
  15. 15. Data Source of data Data WebCT: main blog Reflections on information sharing in this entries environment Stated motivations for participation WebCT: comments Comment in exchanges as relevant on main blog entries Patterns of interaction (e.g. reciprocation) Students: survey of Student declarations of relationships with student ties others in the class: friend, acquaintance, stranger (problems of designation) University records: Details of student degree programme, tutorial student “proximity” group for the module, team membership for data group course work for the module (only official “proximity” data) (Interviews Limited, 2007 cohort only)
  16. 16. Possible influences on online informationexchanges
  17. 17. Possible influences on online informationexchanges Which dominate(s)? Which dominate(s)? Could social exchange Could social exchange theory explain information theory explain information sharing practice in this sharing practice in this online environment? online environment?
  18. 18. Relationships and reciprocation in“agreed” pairs Key F(62) A(29) S(63)
  19. 19. Relationships and reciprocation in“agreed” pairs Little reciprocation overall. Little reciprocation overall. Most reciprocation between “friend” pairs. Most reciprocation between “friend” pairs. Least reciprocation between “stranger” pairs. Least reciprocation between “stranger” pairs. Key F(62) A(29) S(63)
  20. 20. Comparison of “friend” and “stranger” pairs The best hope for The best hope for “stranger” pairs in this “stranger” pairs in this environment is for aalittle environment is for little reciprocation. reciprocation. Key None Little Some Much
  21. 21. Strong evidence: influence of existingrelationships on commenting practice ...it is so much easier to ...it is so much easier to The only comments I Ihave The only comments have comment on my friends’ comment on my friends’ received are from people received are from people blogs since I Iunderstand blogs since understand that I Iknow and I Ithink ititis that know and think is their thinking better. their thinking better. the same for other students. the same for other students. I Ido the same as well. do the same as well. The majority of the time, my The majority of the time, my comments gravitated towards the comments gravitated towards the In the first week I Iposted logs of my friends ififonly because I I logs of my friends only because In the first week posted comments only to [my was armed with the knowledge that was armed with the knowledge that comments only to [my friends’] blogs to get they knew me and would not take they knew me and would not take friends’] blogs to get comments from them on anything I Iwrote the wrong way. anything wrote the wrong way. comments from them on my own blog. my own blog.
  22. 22. Strong evidence: influence of proximity oncommenting practice - 2008Reciprocation Friend pairs 8 pairs demonstrated much 2008 reciprocation (n=18)None 17%  5 pairs: students shared theLittle 33% same degree programmeNo pattern  2 pairs: students did not shareSome 6%Pattern evident the same degree programme, but did attend the same labMuch 44%String pattern sessionTotals 100%  1 pair: no obvious class contact
  23. 23. Strong evidence: influence of proximity oncommenting practice - 2007Reciprocation Friend pairs 10 pairs demonstrated much 2007 reciprocation (n=44)None 48%  All pair members shared theLittle 27% same degree programmeNo pattern  All pair members attended theSome 2%Pattern evident same lab sessionMuch 23%  In some cases the pairs wereString pattern also located in the same courseTotals 100% work teams
  24. 24. Proximity: importance of shared degreeprogrammeProgramme membership of 2007 2008high reciprocation pairPair members on same 70% 62.5%degree programmePair members on different 30% 37.5%degree programmesTotals 100% 100%The majority of pairs that demonstrated high levels of reciprocationcomprised members who shared the same degree programme.
  25. 25. FriendshipProximity Socially motivated exchange
  26. 26. Evidence: influence of “soft” socialreward of fame/status We were all aware that everyone We were all aware that everyone was meant to comment on was meant to comment on ...comments can be very ...comments can be very another two blog entries. another two blog entries. useful to motivate the blog’s useful to motivate the blog’s Therefore you didn’t want to be Therefore you didn’t want to be author. Without comments a author. Without comments a seen as the one who had been seen as the one who had been blog’s author can have the blog’s author can have the left out , ,or less popular... left out or less popular... impression that his work is impression that his work is useless because ititinterests useless because interests nobody. nobody. Receiving a comment almost Receiving a comment almost acted as a seal of approval. It was acted as a seal of approval. It was rewarding to know that the blog rewarding to know that the blog I Idon’t like not getting don’t like not getting had actually been read by had actually been read by any comments – makes any comments – makes someone [and] the time and effort someone [and] the time and effort me feel like my blog me feel like my blog to write the blog entries had been to write the blog entries had been wasn’t good enough to wasn’t good enough to worthwhile. worthwhile. comment on. comment on.
  27. 27. Social rewards are in the gift of theblogging/commenting community?Main blog entries highlighted by tutor in 2008  Public acknowledgement by tutor in class appeared to have no pronounced effect on that week’s commenting practice  Social reward from peers more valuable?However...  The work of almost half the students was highlighted  Mention for a variety of reasons, including humour and playfulness  Mentions limited to weeks 2 and 3  Difficult to judge the potential impact of more explicit tutor intervention
  28. 28. Some evidence: influence of “hard”reward of marks I Idefinitely don’t think that I I definitely don’t think thatThree levels of participation for would have created the would have created the the grade blogs and posted comments blogs and posted comments 1. Students conscious of the mark, yet had ititnot been part of the had not been part of the still making an effort: information course work specification. course work specification. exchange in the online environment worth more than the mark alone - majority. What motivated me... to What motivated me... to 2. Reluctant participation: participation be perfectly honest, the be perfectly honest, the with an eye on the level of the mark fact that I’d fail ififI Idid fact that I’d fail did to be achieved - some. not do the commenting. not do the commenting. 3. Minimal effort: sole purpose of participation is to gain a mark - few.
  29. 29. Evidence: influence of gift economy, andits development One thing I Ido feel when One thing do feel when someone comments on someone comments on[I am] a bit disappointed with the my blog I Ifeel obliged... my blog feel obliged... [I am] a bit disappointed with theturn-out of comments on my blog site to comment on theirs. to comment on theirs. turn-out of comments on my blog siteas I Itried to harass people to post as tried to harass people to postcomments but I Iguess ititdidn’t work... comments but guess didn’t work...If I Iposted more on other people’s If posted more on other people’sblogs, perhaps I Iwould have gotten blogs, perhaps would have gottenmore comments. more comments. ...as I Iwent on, I Istarted ...as went on, started to comment on people to comment on people who had commented on who had commented on my posts... my posts...
  30. 30. Evidence: influence of the ecology of theonline environment as developing socialspaceI Ihad read a blog or two, started to had read a blog or two, started tocomment then changed my mind as comment then changed my mind as I Iam not sure that [the requirement to am not sure that [the requirement toI Iwas being rather mean... Now I I was being rather mean... Now debate] was made clear to us early debate] was made clear to us earlywish I Ihad continued writing the wish had continued writing the on... that disagreeing with someone on... that disagreeing with someonecomments, maybe softening the comments, maybe softening the and having a healthy argument and having a healthy argumentblows slightly... It could have helped blows slightly... It could have helped would be acceptable... [I thought] would be acceptable... [I thought]them. them. that causing friction would be looked that causing friction would be looked on in a negative way with grades on in a negative way with grades being cut off. being cut off.
  31. 31. Context: social space for learningBlogosphere as scaffold of After reading this blog I Ithink I Iwill After reading this blog think will social infrastructure (Hall get some extra help from someone get some extra help from someone & Davison, 2007) with experience [of the library with experience [of the library portal] to avoid any problems that portal] to avoid any problems that may arise. may arise. 1. Support for discussion, feedback, learning 2. Safe environment to challenge and reflect on [Other students’] blogs about the [Other students’] blogs about the “realities” of the subjects topic help me understand the topic help me understand the studied concepts. Your blog is a prime concepts. Your blog is a prime example of this. Thanks. example of this. Thanks. 3. Community
  32. 32. Influences on online informationexchanges
  33. 33. Desire to maintainSocial rewards safe environment Friendship Proximity Socially motivated exchangeDesire to reciprocate Gift economy (Hard rewards)
  34. 34. Social exchange theory as an explanatoryfactor of information sharing online:implications Proximity  To what extent can dialogues be engineered across broad range of contacts where opportunities for physical co-location are minimal?  What kind of proxies can be provided for co-location where this is not possible? Rewards  Social rewards as strong motivators of participation in online information sharing environments Time  Participant familiarity with the environment and degree of risk
  35. 35. References Hall, H. (2001). Input-friendliness: motivating knowledge sharing across intranets. Journal of Information Science 27(3) 139-146 (DOI 10.1177/016555150102700303). PDF of full text available from http://www.knowledgeboard.com/lib/3259 Hall, H. & Davison, B. (2007). Social software as support in hybrid learning environments: the value of the blog as a tool for reflective learning and peer support. Library and Information Science Research, 29(2), 163-187. (DOI 10.1016/j.lisr.2007.04.007.) Hall, H., & Widén-Wulff, G. (2008). Social exchange, social capital and information sharing in online environments: lessons from three case studies. Social exchange, social capital and information sharing in online environments: lessons from three case studies. Studia Humaniora Ouluensia, 8, 73-86.
  36. 36. Shared relationships, spaces and online information behaviours A social exchange and capital perspective Presented by Dr Hazel Hall Reader in Social Informatics Centre for Social Informatics Edinburgh Napier University Scotland, UK h.hall@napier.ac.uk @hazelh (Twitter)

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