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Conversations in Context: A Twitter Case for Social Media Systems Design

  1. Conversations in Context A Twitter Case for Social Media Systems Design Aldo de Moor CommunitySense the Netherlands WWW.COMMUNITYSENSE.NL
  2. Communication tools: then
  3. Communication tools: now
  4. Collaborative communities Communities Strong, lasting interactions Bonds between members ? Common space Sense of community Collaborative communities Common goals Effective/efficient communication Perform/coordinate work Community governance structures/processes Common space = Internet + face-to-face Prime examples in/between/around (multinational) corporations, (government) bureaucracies, research networks
  5. Collaborative fragmentation Paradox: Never before so much need & potential for collaboration Never before so much fragmentation of collaboration Collaborative fragmentation Organizations Workflows Technologies Pragmatic errors abound Breakdown of social and contextual components of a discourse Far beyond ICT
  6. PragWeb to the rescue Pragmatic Web perspective How are communicative actions with a pragmatic context performed via Web media? How can mutual understanding and commitments to action evolve in conversations? Research question How can social media (and other tools/information systems) be put to effective use In the goal-driven conversation context typical of collaborative communities?
  7. Outline Conceptual model of collaborative communities Conversations in socio-technical context Communicative affordances/constraints of Twitter Social media systems design perspective Scenario
  8. Collaborative communities – usage context Goals Activities: operationalized goals, with deliverable “writing a group report” Aspects: abstract goals, across processes and structures “legitimacy”, “efficiency” Actors Detailed role ontologies “Administrator”, “Facilitator”, “Member” “WikiChampion”, “WikiZenMaster” “Position Defender”, “Argument Summarizer”, “Report Conclusion Editor” Domains Professional culture, work practices, …
  9. Collaborative communities – tool system Tool system the system of integrated and customized information and communication tools tailored to the specific information, communication, and coordination requirements of a collaborative community Tool system levels Systems: “group report writing system” Tools: “blogs”, “courseware”, “authoring support tool” Modules: “position definition/taking”, “argument creation” Functions: “add argument pro”, “add argument con”
  10. Collaboration patterns
  11. Community = conversation Conversations build the common ground of a community Principle of least collaborative effort depends on purpose and (costs of using) the medium Language/Action Perspective Conversations = set of communicative acts grounded in social relationships and focused on organizational coordination Conversations are back with a vengeance on the Internet 1960s-1980s: e-mail, mailing lists, Usenet (communication) 1990s-2000s: the Syntactic, early semantic Web (information) 2010s-…: Web 2.0, social media, Semantic Web++/Pragmatic Web… (content + conversations + context = collaboration)
  12. Socio-technical conversation context
  13. Conversation purposes Information exchange Coordination Collaborative sensemaking Relationship building
  14. Twitter functions • Self-contained tweets • Replies • Retweets • Links • Topics (#) • Lists
  15. Twitter personal profiles
  16. Twitter lists
  17. Twitter topic conversations #semanticweb
  18. Twitter use characteristics • Twitter usage – Information sharing, information seeking, maintaining relationships (Java et al. 2007) – Keeping in touch, drawing attention to info, gathering useful info, seeking help and opinions, releasing emotional stress (Zhao and Rosson 2009) • Twitter users – Broadcasters, acquaintances, miscreants/evangelists (Krishnamurty et al. 2008) – Information sources, friends, information seekers (Java et al. 2007)
  19. Tool comparison: conversation functionality Blogs Twitter Conversation • Many blogs • One server fragmentation Conversation • Comment on • Tweet reply to links post? + tweet? – • Post on post? - • Tweeter has replies? + Conversation • Scattered: • Centralized: tracking conversation replies, topics + reconstruction - • Linear presentation -
  20. Tool comparison: conversation practices Blogs Twitter “Conversational • Linking to • Replies, # topics + glue” posts/comments + Conversation • Tangential • Tangential spawning conversations + conversations ++ Conversation with • Conversation with • Conversation with self/others self + others +
  21. Twitter in conversation context
  22. Socio-technical systems design Ecosystems of tools Communityware = dinosaurs R.I.P. Functionalities compete, evolve, are used, and replaced Apps = essence of Pragmatic Web! No generic solutions, always collaborative sensemaking (of collaboration patterns?) needed by community for selection, linking, configuring of tools Socio-technical systems design Collaborative communities need to evaluate the functionalities in their unique usage context Understand the purpose of the technologies in this context Adopt a collaborative sensemaking process view with stakeholders
  23. Scenario: IPCC report review International Panel on Climate Change • Very complex assessment reports • E.g. 5th report had 831 scientific contributors • Results often controversial • InterAcademy Council requested to do independent review • But: quality/legitimacy requires input from multitude of stakeholders • How to scale their sufficient/timely input ?
  24. Scenario: IPCC report review (1) IPCC Report IPCC Report Review Wiki Review Mailing List Write review Coordinate review Topic #1 Topic #1 Topic #11 View: world View: review committee Edit: topic stewards Edit: review committee
  25. Scenario: IPCC report review (2) @ipcc_review #ipcc_t11 #ipcc_t11 account topic conv’n experts list Solicit input Review input Use input (public) (private) • Requests • Announcements • @John: I know an expert X #ipcc_t11 • @Jane: I know an expert Y #ipcc_t11: Needed, expert • @Jane: I know an expert Y #ipcc_t11” on polar ice cap melting #ipcc_t11” View: world View: world View: review committee Edit: review committee Edit: --- Edit: review committee
  26. Conclusions More communicative potential, but less of it used than ever Collaborative communities analysis socio-technical conversation contexts Social media systems design Collaborative sensemaking Match communicative requirements with enabling (social media) functionalities, e.g. Twitter Directions Ontologies for interaction E.g. collaboration patterns “Pragmatic bus” Community lifecycle alignment Socio-technical systems devt methodologies Use social media systems lens to (re)gain collaborative focus