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Fostering Social Interaction in Online Spaces


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Example of Common Ground

Alison Lee, Catalina Danis, Todd Miller & Younghee Jung

People can derive a great deal of value from social interactions. This paper discusses how one might "seed" online environments to be rich in social interaction. The argument presented is based on an analysis of research on the support of collaboration among distributed work teams. This revealed four elements that may contribute towards for fostering interaction among team members: place-making, common ground among participants, awareness of others, and mechanisms for effecting social interaction. The paper presents techniques that may be used to give expression to these factors in online environments: spatial models of interaction, context, social visualization, and mechanisms/enablers for social interactions. These techniques are embodied in a design for an online environment called ePlace. Lessons acquired from an implementation of ePlace for an online retail site are discussed. The paper concludes with a discussion of future work.

Keywords: Awareness, common ground, context, place, social information, social visualization, space, Web.

Published: In Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT'01) — Eighth IFIP TC.13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, M. Hirose (ed.), IOS Press, pp. 59-66, 2001.


Last Modified on June 6, 2002 —   Alison Lee.