posthistory and social frameworks

posthistory and social frameworks - Digital Artifacts for...

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Digital Artifacts for Remembering and Storytelling: PostHistory and Social Network Fragments Fernanda B. Viégas 1 danah boyd 2 David H. Nguyen 3 [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Jeffrey Potter 4 Judith Donath 1 [email protected] [email protected] 1 MIT Media Laboratory 20 Ames Street Cambridge, MA 02138 USA 2 University of California, Berkeley – SIMS 102 South Hall Berkeley, CA 94720 USA 3 College of Computing Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA 30332-0280 USA 4 Atof, Inc. Box 398035 Cambridge, MA 02139 USA Abstract As part of a long-term investigation into visualizing email, we have created two visualizations of email archives. One highlights social networks while the other depicts the temporal rhythms of interactions with individuals. While interviewing users of these systems, it became clear that the applications triggered recall of many personal events. One of the most striking and not entirely expected outcomes was that the visualizations motivated retelling stories from the users’ pasts to others. In this paper, we discuss the motivation and design of these projects and analyze their use as catalysts for personal narrative and recall. 1. Introduction Our dependence on objects is not only physical but also, more important, psychological. Most of the things we make these days do not make life better in any material sense but instead serve to stabilize and order the mind. – Csikszentmihalyi [6: 22] It has been argued that objects are essential for maintaining a coherent sense of self, as they have the ability to embody goals and make skills manifest and shape the identity of their users [5][6][16]. When sharing our stories, we often use artifacts as props to relay our experiences. Photographs and the conversational reminiscing they provide generate situations where personal identities and social relationships can be articulated and shared [11][20]. Also, by associating previous experiences with an object, the object becomes infused with personal meaning and, therefore, valuable both as a souvenir and as a tangible marker of past times and places. As our lives and experiences become more digital, the records of our experiences become less tangible. Yet, our appreciation for social artifacts does not diminish. Even online, people want access to the kinds of tools that provide snapshots of their social existence. Web traffic monitors allow people to see patterns in their hits and visitors, while new social technologies, such as blogs and Friendster.com allow people to articulate and share their social networks. The popularity of these sites suggests that people find tools that provide them with slices of their social experiences online useful and desirable, even if only out of passing curiosity. While some sites generate artifacts about people’s
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This note was uploaded on 02/13/2012 for the course CS 91.510 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at UMass Lowell.

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posthistory and social frameworks - Digital Artifacts for...

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