Liveblogging at the Social Computing Symposium 7

Clay Shirky and Danah Boyd are wrapping up the meeting by collating questions that participants think could profitably be future research questions.

Here are some of them:

1) How can we measure the success of different types of online communities? [This generated a brief discussion of why we should care about ‘success’ in this context.]
2) What are the boundary conditions for mobile and pervasive social computing systems? How will they change how humans interact socially?
3) Do natives of social media systems have a different notion of themselves as individuals and about their relation to broader social groups?
4) Just what is going on with kids who are heavy tech users?
5) What are the mechanisms that cause people to act, mark up, buy or sell bits they care about online? What are the tipping points that get people to try something, what’s enough to bring value? [Clay suggests Wikipedia is a good place to think about this]
6) Does the ‘regular public’ want to connect with people they do not know? (exclusive of dating)
7) What level of visual representation of the body is necessary to trigger mirror neurons. [My thought on this is I’m really, really suspicious of the way ‘mirror neurons’ are being slung around these days in these kinds of discussions…it’s beginning to become one of those catch-all explanations that people are dropping in lots of conversations in very sloppy ways, often to avoid having complicated discussions of action, cultural practice, causation, mimesis, representation and so on.]
8) Are online community members of tomorrow going to be more or less participatory than today’s? And why?
9) What impact do computer/video games have on the everyday habits and routines of the gamers?
10) How can we use the computational ability of our machines to transform communication? Intelligent agents, etc.
11) How can we get access to behavioral server logs and attitudinal data from large-scale virtual worlds?

12) What elements of MMOGs can be adapted to web applications?
13) Have can we build virtual worlds/sapces where we can operate parallel servers with slightly variable rulesets? For experimental work.
14) What are the barriers to contributing social group interaction (social bookmarking, wikis)?
15) How do we make memories portable?
16) How do we use social judgement to surface what your peer group is interested in, as opposed to a general crowd? [I don’t actually understand this question.]
17) How online communities support veterans and newcomers?
18) What could drive more meetings of minds across the world, especially between insular groups.
19) For a physical event to be shared virtuallly what modifications in each world need to be made?
20) How do we map social processes into social technologies?
21) Voice and chat in the same environment, social impacts of?
22) Creating authoring tools that allow users to create non-text media easily?

23) Better design for lifecycle of individual and group social spaces?
24) How best to negotiate privacy vs. public exposure for new social computing users?
25) A view of online spaces from the perspective of contemplative traditions?
26) Ideas of space and place with mobile and social technologies.
27) How can we move past the logic of the market as a touchstone for analysis? Implications of the ways in which neoliberal ideology infuses research perspectives? [This seems kind of boilerplate to me]

[A side note: this session almost struck me as a demonstration of the problem some of us were talking about earlier: in information markets, people who have valuable or unique information don’t have a lot of motivation to share what they know. I strongly suspect there are more compelling and specific research questions out there in this group that are not being contributed to the pool, either because they compromise ongoing commercial work or ongoing research agenda among the academics.]

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