Lab For Social Computing
December 20th, 2004
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Elizabeth Lane Lawley is heading up Rochester Institute of Technology’s new Lab for Social Computing.

From the site:

Background

Social computing, or social software, is a term that has emerged over the past three years to describe the use of networked computing tools for facilitating interpersonal and organizational interactions. Terms used for similar academic work in the past included computer-mediated communication (CMC) and computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW).

Social computing, however, encompasses not only the study of the participants that is the hallmark of CMC, or the group and process focus of CSCW, but also the development of new tools to work in increasingly networked and ubiquitous computing environments, and the acknowledgement of the growing need for social components in a wider range of computing tools (particularly information search and management). Social computing draws as much on the fields of communication, sociology, psychology, and even political science as it does on technology and computing.

The technology industry is keenly aware of the importance of this emerging field—for example, Microsoft Research, IBM Research, and FX/PAL have all established Social Computing groups, and Intel Research’s “People and Practices” has begun to focus on social computing topics. Major technology conferences like O’Reilly’s Emerging Technologies Conference regularly incorporate a track on social computing, and publications ranging from Communications of the ACM to Educause Review have run cover stories and features on social computing.

Workshops cover topics like:

* What’s a “blog,” and why would I want one?
* How can “wikis” support collaborative work?
* Tools for building and maintaining social networks online.

[via Corante’s Many-2-many]


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