p59-erickson - Social Translucence: An Approach to...

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Social Translucence: An Approach to Designing Systems that Support Social Processes THOMAS ERICKSON and WENDY A. KELLOGG IBM T. J. Watson Research Center We are interested in designing systems that support communication and collaboration among large groups of people over computer networks. We begin by asking what properties of the physical world support graceful human-human communication in face-to-face situations, and argue that it is possible to design digital systems that support coherent behavior by making participants and their activities visible to one another. We call such systems “socially translucent systems” and suggest that they have three characteristics—visibility, awareness, and accountability—which enable people to draw upon their social experience and expertise to structure their interactions with one another. To motivate and focus our ideas we develop a vision of knowledge communities, conversationally based systems that support the creation, management and reuse of knowledge in a social context. We describe our experience in designing and deploying one layer of functionality for knowledge communities, embodied in a working system called “Babble,” and discuss research issues raised by a socially translucent approach to design. Categories and Subject Descriptors: H.1.2 [ Models and Principles ]: User/Machine Sys- tems— Human factors ; Human information processing ; H.5.2 [ Information Interfaces and Presentation ]: User Interfaces— Graphical user interfaces (GUI); Theory and methods ; H.5.3 [ Information Interfaces and Presentation ]: Group and Organization Interfaces— Asyn- chronous interaction ; Collaborative computing ; Computer-supported cooperative work ; Organi- zational design ; Synchronous interaction ; Theory and models ; K.4.3 [ Computers and Soci- ety ]: Organizational Impacts— Computer-supported collaborative work General Terms: Design, Human Factors Additional Key Words and Phrases: CMC, CMI, computer-mediated communication, CSCW, social computing, social navigation, social visualization, visualization 1. INTRODUCTION We are concerned with designing systems to support communication and collaboration among large groups of people over computer networks. We are Authors’ address: IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, P.O. Box 704, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598; email: snowfall@acm.org; wkellogg@us.ibm.com. Permission to make digital/hard copy of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that the copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage, the copyright notice, the title of the publication, and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of the ACM, Inc. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.
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p59-erickson - Social Translucence: An Approach to...

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