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Aug 07, 2007



mates is a location-based social networking system in the form of a robust web service, or Relationship Engine, and an optional rich media client application, or Relationship Space Navigator.

from the project's website

Our objective in creating mates has been to build an open infrastructure to introduce and connect individuals based on the intersection of physical location and other properties they might have in common.

mates is different than the wide range of existing social networking and instant messaging applications. We strive to create an open infrastructure that will allow existing software to harness the power of location based social networking

The current version of mates is geared towards the academic community, focusing on course registration and academic interests. This set of properties could easily be extended to encompass professional or social environments with hooks into LDAP directories or existing social networking applications. and a platform on top of which other new, powerful applications can be developed.

20:05 Posted in Social Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: social computing

Apr 01, 2007

Democratic polling interface


Re-blogged from InfoAesthetics


a web-based application prototype that allows participants to provide direct responses to current issues facing their governments on a selection of social scales (e.g. housing, health, immigration, social rights). the "Waterfall" interfaces visualizes the issues, votes & opinions of participants, with size depending on importance. "Where in the World" aligns contributing authors with their geographical location. "In Context" displays issues in a quantative by a matrix of horizontal stacked bar graphs.





Feb 19, 2007

I4: Interactivity / Information / Interfaces / Immersion



From Networked Performance


I4: Interactivity / Information / Interfaces / Immersion: International Research Conference, J W Goethe University, Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology: Organized by the Research Network for Media Anthropology / FAME, Frankfurt: October 24-26, 2007.

Even before the emergence of social software, web logs and wikis, it was clear that digital communication technologies are, in essence, complex social software programs with the power to change people's perception, the way people experience their environment, their ability to abstract, their rules of trust, and much more besides. Whereas the 1980s and 1990s were marked by "quasi-social" connections between people that occurred en passant, by strategies of urban artistic "repurposing" (Digital Amsterdam), by a conspiracy of Internet-using consumers, and by a user-based cyber society, the situation has now changed fundamentally.

There has been a shift from technology-driven systems to media-driven systems and then to user/project-generated content. As the empiricism of the artificial becomes a global given, social, cultural, economic and political frames of reference are shifting. Countless new and unparalleled means of modeling social factors are emerging within a mesh of agencies around the world. Digital natives - those who have grown up with computer and internet applications - have spawned a societal and cultural paradigm shift. Societal and cultural geography is being extended by a global scenography of cultural artifacts. However, this raises important issues concerning the logic of the continuity of interaction, of a reliable and sustained presence, of adaptive learning and abstraction - issues that have become social markers in the programming, utilization, and onward development of applications, platforms and environments.

Increasingly, today's designs and programs for digital worlds face the challenge of delivering complex, multisensory, transcultural, and global interaction capabilities in a robust technology-based environment. The changes are creating a need for the explicit modeling of human collaboration and cultural interaction which, increasingly, is causing software production to move out of the high-tech niche of computer science and media design into the realm of cultural and social anthropology. At the same time, there is a growing need to know more about the logic of construction (v. Glaserfeld) of culture and to be able to apply that knowledge. The need for explicit and programmable cultural concepts is moving closer to the science of the artificial as proposed by Herbert A. Simon and echoes Norbert Elias's call for the scientific presentation of a developmental theory of abstraction.

Clearly, it would be wrong to assume that explicit, programmed models for collaboration, the creation of cultures, abstraction and artificial environments can eradicate the complexities of chance relationships, interaction, imagination, fiction, routine, or forgetfulness. Nonetheless, the possibilities they offer will be changed fundamentally by the emergence of programmed worlds and environments. All over the globe, artificial cybernetic spaces are something now taken for granted. Computer technology is designed to be ubiquitous, and the direct control of computers by means of brain waves is supplanting control by means of a pointing device or the human eye. Presence and telepresence, key concepts in earlier research, are receding into the background with the advent of computer technologies which can be inserted under the skin, into clothing, and into the eyes and ears or can generate realities in their own right without which the frames of reference of today's and tomorrow's realities will become meaningless. Ten years ago, S. Jones asked, "Where are we when we are online?" and J. Meyrowitz noted "being elsewhere." Electronic games, e-sports, and around a billion people working in countless local area networks all exist in a vireality (M. Klein). What are the living, communication and working circumstances in these virealities? How should virtual spaces be designed in order to provide sufficiently complex environments for perception, design, decision-making, routine, trust, etc.? 

The > I4 

We assume that all human sensory and mental capabilities and the ability to abstract, conceive and implement things are, and have been, involved in the development of human ability to use media.

The concept of media encompasses perception, abstraction, storage, rules for the retention of information - of texts and holytexts, the great sagas, manifestations of cultural memory - and progression beyond existing knowledge paradigms. It is impossible to determine how perception and interaction will impact on media, either qualitatively or quantitatively. If the notion of a uniting organization is seen as a selection method or principle, the weight of these ideas becomes clear. They show that every form of interactive reciprocity is a selector and that the uniting force of interactivity lies in the definition of selection, distribution and retention criteria. This applies to methods of hearing, reading, writing, tasting, thinking, making music, and much more besides.

Increasingly, we expect and demand more from media - more information, more breadth of choice, more freedom of choice, more world, more closeness, more entertainment, more biography, more community: We want media to address us, entertain us, inform us. This is about more than consuming media. Our sense of reality has long since been subsumed into a sense of media; our sense of reality is embodied in our sense of media. We take the world presented through media seriously, we recognize the reality of information; we trust the information and the rules that make it credible.

The conference will be devoted to questions surrounding digital environments and the technology-based generation of cultural patterns in four areas: Interactivity / Information / Interfaces / Immersion.

We invite submissions which explore these issues and offer answers to such questions as:

What connections can we currently identify between software development and cultural evolution? What significance can be attached to co-evolutionary processes in perception, abstraction, forms of virtualization, digital technologies and communication capabilities? What kinds of virtual spaces are developing? How are digital communication spaces influencing urbanization processes and the architecture of buildings? What significance does game software have in creating new social and cultural contexts? What kinds of cooperative and collaborative processes are developing? What are the defining properties of an explicit model of social constructs in a technology-based media environment? How are means of digital communication influencing children's and adults' living spaces and interior architecture? How can a transition from the idiocy of the masses and the knowledge of the crowd into a knowledge-generating virtual community be explained? Can we see signs of an emerging virtual civilization? How will network-integrated community building be important in the future? How are learning and the structure and legitimation of knowledge changing?

Please submit ideas for topics and papers (500 words max.) by March 31, 2007

Initiators and contacts:

Prof. Manfred Faßler
FAME - Frankfurt/ Research Network for Media Anthropology, Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology J W. Goethe University fasslermanfred[at]aol.com

Dr. Mark Mattingley-Scott
Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology
J W. Goethe University

Feb 17, 2007

Social Networks for Disaster Relief

i still prefer google maps


From MIT's Technology Review:


The emergence of the Internet as a social environment led us to come up with a service where people could first report the scope of a tsunami or a wildfire or even an E. coli attack," says Ben Schneiderman, a computer scientist at the University of Maryland and a coauthor of the report. Schneiderman got the idea when he typed 911 into Google and was unable to find any useful information. "There was no service that would provide information or assistance during Katrina-like events." The system is not strictly an online analog of 911 or other emergency-reporting services, says Schneiderman. "We think it may be helpful in advance of emergencies, during emergencies, and during rebuilding and restoration afterwards."

Murray Turoff, of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, says that "what most people don't seem to understand is that the real first responders in disasters are the people in the community." Turoff, who developed the first emergency computer network for the U.S. Office of Emergency Preparedness in 1971, says that the government still has not taken steps to ensure that relief efforts are properly coordinated. "All these organizations need to be able to talk laterally," he says.

Jennifer Preece, an expert in human-computer interactions at the University of Maryland and a coauthor of the study, says that for 911.gov to be successful, it will have to draw in volunteers from other communities and be integrated with existing social-networking sites. If the government backs the site, she says, it, too, could have the clout to draw in users. She points out that during Katrina, many people found their information by heading to local libraries. "Why did they go there? These are established and trusted communities that they know about.

20:39 Posted in Social Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: social computing

Feb 01, 2007


FlickrFling is an open source project for people who wish to explore in an innovative and rather surprising way the different data feeds that form the building blocks of today’s virtual world. By pointing the application, let’s say, to the CNN news feed, you will receive the last news in real time - rendered in pictures. The application will choose for each in-coming word an image from flickr’s database tagged with corresponding keywords. 


Jan 31, 2007

Many Eyes

Via Pasta and Vinegar 

Many Eyes is a new social computing site launched by IT giant IBM:

IBM (Quote) launched a new social computing site today called Many Eyes, which allows users to upload very large data sets, choose different visual representations for the data sets, and engage in an online discussion of what the data reveals. Each visualization will allow for an active discussion to take place and become a common area to share ideas, add insight and understand the visualization in a group setting.
an attempt to learn whether the principles of crowd-sourcing can be applied to the analysis of visualized data, in the hopes of generating broader and deeper analysis of data.


(source:  Internet News)

17:20 Posted in Social Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: social computing

Jan 25, 2007

Prospero - A "Visual Commons" Framework for Community-Aware Public Displays

Re-blogged from Networked Performance




Information about the community as a commons and about commons in the community can be useful for promoting a sense of shared fate and shared identity. In addition, as mobility increases, information about how a community moves into, out of, and through its spaces (such as public commons) can be a useful source of community feedback. A new project at the University of Michigan investigates using public displays to understand and represent community dynamics and preferences:

Prospero is an infrastructure to enable public displays to reflect evolving public participation. The objectives of the Prospero project arise from two primary motivations: one descriptive, the other normative. First, technologies that foster cooperation enhance our relationship to our surroundings. Many of these technologies incorporate user feedback in real-time.

Second, our team members believe that a society in which collective decision-making is based on participatory democracy and public resources should be allocated not by top-down or centrally-controlled mechanisms, but on the basis of the expressed desires and needs of participants. As cooperation increases, we have seen a resurgence of "the commons," i.e. that public sphere in which community values are expressed.

In our project, we shall explore this theme through its instantiation in the specific domain area of public displays. In much of modern life, public spaces, public media and public art are designed to send us messages that we passively receive, process and absorb. However, we believe that in a democracy, citizens must actively shape the public sphere. This necessitates "talking back" to the elements that constitute the public sphere. Public displays, that is, displays located in public spaces and accessible to a public, constitute an increasingly important element of the public sphere. We will develop an infrastructure for community-aware public displays that are controlled by users' expressed needs and preferences; we see our endeavor as part of an ongoing, democratic reclaiming, by citizens, of control over an increasing number of aspects of the public sphere in general.

Thus, by making a public display that is attentive to its community of users, a Visual Commons, it becomes possible for the community to escape the present hegemony of one-way communication, or "broadcast," of generic information (such as the time, or stock prices) or the barrage of mass-media advertising (such as occurs in New York City's Times Square). In effect, dynamic processing of community feedback regarding the contents of the display enables it to become more than just a billboard.

Dec 03, 2006

2D Web-to-Second Life importer

Via 3D Point 

 Import flat Web pages into the 3B avatarized 3D environment


A browser called 3B that allows you take existing 2D Web content and make an avatarized 3D space out of it that others can visit. From the site:

“3B allows you take any web sites or photos and place them in a personalized 3D space, your 3B village. You can use MySpace, Hi5 or Bebo pages or photos you’ve loaded onto Flickr, Photobucket or any other web service.”

12:35 Posted in Social Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: social computing

Rhythms of social interaction


From Smart Mobs

Rhythms of social interaction: messaging within a massive online network (PDF) by Scott Golder, Dennis Wilkinson, and Bernardo Huberman:

"We have analyzed the fully-anonymized headers of 362 million messages exchanged by 4.2 million users of Facebook, an online social network of college students, during a 26 month interval. The data reveal a number of strong daily and weekly regularities which provide insights into the time use of college students and their social lives, including seasonal variations. We also examined how factors such as school affiliation and informal online “friend” lists affect the observed behavior and temporal patterns. Finally, we show that Facebook users appear to be clustered by school with respect to their temporal messaging patterns.

12:14 Posted in Social Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: social computing

Nov 28, 2006

bliin YourLIVE!

Re-blogged from Mauro Cherubini's moleskine

bliin YourLIVE! is a social networking service where users can spot, trace and share experiences — pictures, videos, audio and text — with one another in real-time on a Google Map.

Users create ‘bliins’ to navigate and monitor their interests in a location or area. bliins can be saved and shared amongst users. bliin is powered by GeoTracing and built on KeyWorx.

Bliin Socialnetworking-1

23:58 Posted in Social Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: social computing