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Das Social Web Research Program von 1998 – aktueller denn je

4. Juli 2009

In Zeiten wie diesen, in denen ein Hype dem anderen folgt, ist es mir immer eine besondere Freude auf Dokumente zu stoßen die das, was allfällige Beraterriegen gerade als aktuellen Paradigmenwechsel, wenn nicht sogar als Revolution bezeichnen, schon Jahrzehnt(e) früher ausformuliert und in Forschungsszenarien auch umgesetzt haben.

Wer also gerade den nächsten Vortrag über Web 2.0 vorbereitet und da zum 150. Mal Tim O’Reillys Artikel referenziert, der nehme bitte auch diese Beiträge von Peter Hoschka von 1998 zur Kenntnis, zunächst ausformuliert am GMD (German National Research Center for Information Technology), das selbst 2000 in der Fraunhofer Gesellschaft aufgegangen ist.

Peter Hoschka: „CSCW research at GMD-FIT: from basic groupware to the social Web“, in: ACM SIGGROUP Bulletin, Vol. 19/2, August 1998, S. 5-9. (Btw: Hat hier jemand einen ACM-Zugang? Muss gleich mal nachher ausprobieren, ob dieses Paper über den Unizugang verfügbar ist).

Peter Hoschka: „The Social Web Research Program. Linking people through virtual environments“, GMD German National Research Center for Information Technology, Sankt Augustin, Germany, May 1998.

Aus letzterem, da frei verfügbar, zitiere ich im Folgenden:

Today we can observe that computers and networks are beginning to form social spaces where people present them­selves, meet with other people, exchange news, play games together, do business, or jointly look for information. A new kind of space for action and interaction is emerging. Computers and networks are developing into a social medium and forming a new kind of habitat.

Companies, universities, and governments are already using new interaction forms like virtual teams, virtual universities, and virtual cities for several years now. Yet experience shows that current technology like shared workspaces, chat windows, bulletin boards, video-conferencing, or shared 3D worlds are not fully satisfactory for virtual interaction. A central point is that current systems fail to supply rich sources of social information that enable people to work in virtual partnerships.

Based on these observations and trends, we have specified a research program called The Social Web. The goal of our research is to explore the possibilities for turning the net into a social space: From document links to people links. Providing content via the World Wide Web has been the killer application of the Internet in the last few years. Linking people will be the next killer application.

In order to support linking people, we need to understand the challenge: How can we turn information environments into rich communication and interaction environments? Virtual partners should be able to engage in sophisticated inter­action such as team-building, trust formation, and meaningful ex­pression. Information tech­nology may never replace face-to-face com­munication, but it can shrink the distance by expanding the windows of communication to enable more social information to pass through.

With the Social Web program we aim at:

  • A thorough understanding of the principles and techniques for linking people in virtual environments.
  • A suite of systems which provide new social media and
    • offer a persistent shared environment,
    • can be inhabited by people,
    • allow people a wide range of expression,
    • portray history, presence, and activities,
    • support “populated” knowledge,
    • extend into the real world by smart appliances


Research challenges

The research challenges posed by the Social Web program include technical as well as socio-psychological problems. The main research questions we want to address are:

Personal representation for virtual interaction

What representations should be used for people in shared environments, and how can people use them to communicate a wide range of expression, both verbal and nonverbal? How can representations be personalized and individualized? How can a representation be used to show a person’s knowledge, expertise, and facilitate trust for team-building?

Technological approaches worldwide have created personalized and realistic avatars by integrating photos and streaming video into computer-generated scenes. Others have employed avatar animation using sensors (gesture tracking, facial expression mapping).

In contrast to realistic representations, we will concentrate on symbolic representations of action and presence, and have begun experimenting with tracking devices that can easily convey body movements of remote partners.

Mutual perception and social awareness

How can we provide and present sufficient cues about others and the environment so that groups can develop a sense of social awareness? What information about others and the environment should be visible even if we do not directly interact? How can we define and identify situations that trigger the presentation of awareness information? How can we describe and model the context of a cooperative setting or an inhabited environment that determines the distribution of activity information?

The awareness problem is a focal problem in CSCW research. Most approaches concentrate on task-oriented awareness, i.e. providing information about the status of shared objects that belong to a certain cooperative task. Less research concentrates on social awareness, i.e. the information we perceive peripherally while sharing the same room or floor with each other. All aproaches have in common that they concentrate on application-specific solutions.

We believe that an application overlapping approach is necessary that integrates the provision of both social and task oriented awareness. The ultimate goal is the development of models for a situated and context-driven presentation of presence and activity information in inhabited shared environments.

Gerade der letzte Abschnitt ist wichtig zum Verständnis dessen, was Kulturpessimisten und an Distinktion qua bildungsbürgerlicher Zurückhaltung orientierte dem Agieren im Social Web immer wieder gerne als Exhibitionismus ankreiden: Es geht darum, dass nur eine kontinuierliche Repräsentation von Personen – und das beinhaltet die alltäglichen, scheinbar banalen Aktivitäten – ein soziales Bewusstsein, d.h., ein Bewusstsein der Aktivitäten der Menschen, mit denen ich willkürlich oder zufällig via Web verbunden bin, ermöglicht. Social Awareness is the key!

Hier selbst weiterlesen. Danke!

2 Kommentare leave one →
  1. 4. Juli 2009 12:07 pm

    guter beitrag. danke!

  2. 4. Juli 2009 12:15 pm

    danke – you’re welcome!

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