- visibility - being able to hear/see the actions, and results of actions, of others
- awareness - applying social rules
- accountability - knowing that others are aware of what you are doing.
After explaining social translucence the authors move on to talk about issues of social translucence in the field of knowledge management. The quote below nicely sums up my own concerns about the creation of knowledge databases.
The ability to say 'so-and-so said I ought to call,' was of great value to the accountants (and illustrates yet another function of accountability). Having a referral, however tenuous the connection, is a valuable social resource that can only be directly conveyed from one person to another: saying 'I found your name in the corporate knowledge database,' is not the same.The authors then go on to describe a chat system they developed called 'Babble' (see diagram above), that includes a representation of the extent to which each participant is involved in the current conversation. Colored dots closer to the center of the circle are indicative of users who are more active in the conversation. There is another paper specifically on Babble adoption (Bradner et al., 1997), although it is not so clear to me how much the graphical representation designed to support social translucence influenced the software's use. The modern equivalent is Skype or Twitter, and many of the things said about Babble ring true for Skype chat, such as the danger of being waylayed. Twitter is another story in that it is less conversational.
For me I felt that the representation suffered because the colored dots had to be de-referenced against a list of users. Something similar but with the user's thumbnail or avatar as their representation might generate less cognitive load; and made me wonder if someone hadn't created something similar for twitter, which led me to find this list of twitter analysis tools. Although none of these represent the activity state of those you are following, which is what a babble like tool applied to twitter might do - I was wondering if any twitter clients might do something like this? I contacted a couple of twitter addicts and didn't immediately get any leads, although I subsequently found tweepular and mailana; both of which are extremely useful/interesting. The former giving great views on the mismatch of twitter friend/followers, and the latter displaying social networks based on how frequently you and your twitter friends have been messaging each other.
There was also discussion of critical mass in the Erickson & Kellogg paper which is something I have been interested in for a long time. It included a couple of references I should follow up on (Grudin 1988; Markus & Connolly, 1990), and I was struck that Nabeith referenced someone entirely different in his agents paper.
Another note about Erickson and Kellogg (2000) is that they refer to Alexander as part of the field of architecture design, but do not talk about design patterns explicitly; although they describe wanting to create abstractions that apply to digital media.
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