Patterns, dynamics & motivations for content sharing

My dissertation project investigates the following questions:

  • What can we learn about encouraging participation and contribution from online content sharing communities?
  • What are some of the socio-technical factors that compel individuals to openly share user-generated content with each other?
I utlized Social Network Analysis as a sampling method and conducted an ethnography of hobbyists amatuers in ccMixter, a content sharing and reuse community. A Social Network Analysis portion of this project is joint work with Giorgos Cheliotis and has resulted in a publication at the C&T2009 conference at Pennsylvania State University.

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Video classification based on social metadata

Along with Yahoo! Research Scientists, Ayman Shamma & Elizabeth Churchill, I assisted with the development of a computational method of classifying videos based on interaction metadata surrounding online video sharing. Using a Naive Bayes classifier, we used this "social metadata" to make predictions about the categorization and even popularity of shared videos. We compared our classifier to human judgements, via 2 surveys, and found that our method produces much more accurate predictions about the nature and characterisitcs of the shared video using only social metadata.

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Mobile applications for food cart vendors in Indonesia

This project is inspired by the tweeting taco trucks on the West Coast and is joint work with Rahmad Dawood & Steve Jackson. We conducted an ethnograhy of food cart vendors across 5 major cities to investigate the following questions:
  • Can we design an information system that can help improve the incomes of mobile foodcart vendors?
  • What are the information needs of Mobile foodcart vendors in the developing world?
We used our findings to implement a location aware mobile system to improve the street vendors' sales and communication with their customers. This work is currently ongoing and a field trial of our prototype system will be conducted in Summer 2011.

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Virality in content remixing

This project is a collaboration with Andres Monroy-Hernandez at the MIT Media Lab. In this project, we conduct a comparative analysis of 2 content remixing communities - ccMixter & Scratch. A focus of this work is to contrast the viral dynamics and diffusion of content, as they are shared and reused in these 2 very different communities.

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Twitter as collective action

This project was joint work with Matt Burton & Morgan Daniels, and was inspired by examples of how Twitter was appropriated as an organizing tool during the 2009 Iranian election protests. In particular we examined one specific event, #amazonfail, in which Twitter users utilized the service to organize themselves for collective action. We developed our own data collection and analysis tool (pictured on the right) and carried out a "trace ethnography" of the key actors of the #amazonfail incident.

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Collaborative Group bibliographies

Along with Derek Hansen & Joshua Gerrish, I developed a collaborative group bibliography (pictured on the right) to fit the needs of a specific research group. We implemented a mediawiki-based system that scraped bibliographic information from websites and bibliographic databases, formatted that information and published it on a wiki. I undertook an "iterative" and user-centered design approach towards developing this tool for the research group - spending hours shadowing individual work practices and sitting in on the research group's meetings. Unfortunately the system was short-lived as the research group ceased being active after about a year.

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Learning by tagging

In this project I investigated Bud Gibson's implementation of a blogging system for his BIT320 class. In particular, I analyzed how the implemetation of a social tagging plugin in the class website enabled students to develop new levels of sociality and a group vocabulary.

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