ICS 691: Social Computing (online) | Spring 2011

University of Hawaii Department of Information & Computer Sciences

Rich Gazan | gazan@hawaii.edu


Social computing is an umbrella term for technologies and virtual spaces that allow users to create, describe and share content, and for the communities that arise around them.  The goal of this course is to survey theoretical and practical instances of social computing such as blogs, social bookmarking, classification and recommendation systems, compare them with traditional professional equivalents, and evaluate how these diverse perspectives can inform one another.

Course structure

This is an online, asynchronous course.  It is designed for graduate students who have a high level of internal motivation to extend their knowledge about social computing and related topics, and who will take full advantage of the opportunity to work both independently and in virtual groups.  In keeping with the social nature of the course, staying current and participating actively and regularly in an online environment is critical.

Though no specific technical background is required, you should be comfortable with teaching yourself how to use Web 2.0 and related technologies, which may involve downloading and installing software on your computer, registering with various sites, and troubleshooting.

The course blog (http://ICS691SocialComputingS11.blogspot.com/) will be the center for information exchange.  You will create a blog, specific to this course (i.e. not your existing blog), and use an RSS aggregator to follow the blogs of your fellow students.  We will use the Resources section of laulima (http://laulima.hawaii.edu/) to post readings not available online.

The course will be conducted as a series of seven two-week sessions, loosely organized by topic.  Each session will follow this pattern:

First week: On Monday, I will post the session’s readings--which may change from those listed on the syllabus—on the course blog, with a related assignment.  The latter will usually take the form of questions to address and/or sites to visit and evaluate.  Respond to the assignments with a post on your blog.  Your response to the assignment must be posted by 11:59 pm Sunday, i.e. in one week.

An acceptable blog post will be between 500-1000 words (more is fine), will specifically and critically address a majority of the session’s readings, and will address all aspects of the associated assignment.  An outstanding blog post will use the readings and assignments as starting points for further exploration.  You may use a formal or informal tone, as long as the content is there.  A friendly but serious reminder: don't plagiarize.  Copying, adapting or otherwise borrowing ideas without proper citation will be considered a violation of the UH Manoa Student Conduct Code (http://studentaffairs.manoa.hawaii.edu/policies/conduct_code/) relating to academic honesty, and will result in an F in the course.   

Second week: Read as many of your fellow students’ blog posts as you like.  Comment substantively on at least five per session.  Acceptable blog comments will engage specifics of the blog author’s and/or paper author’s points, possibly including illustrative links to content from other sessions and elsewhere.  Respond to other students’ comments on your own and other students’ posts as appropriate.  Not all blog posts will generate long comment threads and lively conversation, but one of your goals in the second week of each session (and in the course as a whole) is to take every opportunity to move productive conversations forward, to both create and benefit from a collaborative learning environment.

You will propose a final project, which can be done individually or as a group.  We will negotiate the details and expectations as the course progresses.


Though I cannot comment on every blog every week, throughout the course I will provide both individual and group feedback on your contributions.  This is a student-driven course, but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns. 

50%: Blog posts and assignments for the seven sessions (overall grade)

30%: Final project

20%: Participation (quality and quantity of blog comments, timeliness of submissions)

98-100 A+ | 93-97 A | 90-92 A- | 88-89 B+ | 83-87 B | 80-82 B- | 78-79 C+ | 73-77 C 

Schedule and readings (subject to change)
**I suggest you read these in the order listed.**

Unlinked readings are available in the Resources section of the Laulima course page

Session 1: Monday Jan 10-Sunday Jan 23

Introduction and overview: Conceptions of social computing

boyd, d.m., and N.B. Ellison (2007). Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html

Dibbell, Julian (1998; revised). A Rape in Cyberspace: How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database Into a Society. The Village Voice, 23 December 1993.  http://www.juliandibbell.com/texts/bungle.html

Beer, David and Roger Burrows (2007).  Sociology and, of and in Web 2.0: Some Initial Considerations. Sociological Research Online 12(5). http://www.socresonline.org.uk/12/5/17.html

Tenopir, Carol (2007).  Web 2.0: Our Cultural Downfall? Library Journal, 12/15/2007. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6510681.html?industryid=47130

Nardi, Bonnie A., Diane Schiano and Michelle Gumbrecht (2004).  Blogging as Social Activity, or, Would You Let 900 Million People Read Your Diary? CSCW’04, November 6–10, 2004, Chicago, Illinois.

Herring, Susan C., Lois Ann Scheidt, Sabrina Bonus and Elijah Wright (2004). Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. Proceedings of the 37th Hawai'i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-37).


Session 2: Monday Jan 24-Sun Feb 6

Social aspects of social computing

Galston, William A. (2000).  Does the Internet Strengthen Community? National Civic Review 89(3), 193-202.

Weeks, Linton (2009).  Social Responsibility and the Web: A Drama Unfolds. 8 January 2009.  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99094257

LaRose, R., M.S. Eastin and J. Gregg (2001). Reformulating the Internet Paradox: Social Cognitive Explanations of Internet Use and Depression. Journal of Online Behavior 1(2). http://www.behavior.net/JOB/v1n2/paradox.html 

Albrechtslund, Anders (2008).  Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance. First Monday 13(3). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2142/1949

Bernstein, Michael S., Desney Tan, Greg Smith, Mary Czerwinski, Eric Horvitz (2010). Personalization via Friendsourcing.  ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 17(2), Article 6.

Rosen, Christine (2007).  Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism.  The New Atlantis 17, 15-31. http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/virtual-friendship-and-the-new-narcissism

Bigge, Ryan (2006).  The Cost of (Anti-) Social Networks: Identity, Agency and Neo-Luddites" First Monday 11(12). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1421/1339


Session 3: Mon Feb 7-Sun Feb 20

Motivation for participation 

Ridings, Catherine and David Gefen (2004).  Virtual Community Attraction: Why People Hang Out Online. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 10(1).  http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/issue1/ridings_gefen.html

Ling, K., G. Beenen, P. Ludford, X. Wang, K. Chang, X. Li, D. Cosley, D. Frankowski, L. Terveen, A.M. Rashid, P. Resnick and R. Kraut (2005). Using Social Psychology to Motivate Contributions to Online Communities. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(4), article 10. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/issue4/ling.html

Tedjamulia, Steven J.J., David R. Olsen, Douglas L. Dean, Conan C. Albrecht (2005).  Motivating Content Contributions to Online Communities: Toward a More Comprehensive Theory. Proceedings of the 38th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Schrock, Andrew (2009).  Examining Social Media Usage: Technology Clusters and Social Network Site Membership. First Monday 14(1). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2242/2066

Java, Akshay, Xiaodan Song, Tim Finin and Belle Tseng (2007). Why We Twitter: Understanding the Microblogging Effect in User Intentions and Communities. Joint 9th WEBKDD and 1st SNA-KDD Workshop, 12 August 2007, San Jose, California.  http://workshops.socialnetworkanalysis.info/websnakdd2007/papers/submission_21.pdf

Session 4: Mon Feb 21-Sun Mar 6

Social role, capital and trust

Gleave, Eric, Howard T. Welser, Thomas M. Lento and Marc A. Smith (2009).  A Conceptual and Operational Definition of  ‘Social Role’ in Online Community. Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Waikoloa, HI, 5-8 January 2009.

Williams, D. (2006).  On and Off the 'Net: Scales for Social Capital in an Online Era. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(2), article 11.

Massa, Paolo (2006).  A Survey of Trust Use and Modeling in Current Real Systems. Trust in E-services: Technologies, Practices and Challenges. Idea Group.

Allen, Stuart M., Gualtiero Colombo, Roger M. Whitaker (2009).  Forming Social Networks of Trust to Incentivize Cooperation. Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Waikoloa, HI, 5-8 January 2009.

Eryilmaz, Evren, Mitch Cochran and Sumonta Kasemvilas (2009).  Establishing Trust Management in an Open Source Collaborative Information Repository: An Emergency Response Information System Case Study. Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Waikoloa, HI, 5-8 January 2009.

Ellison, N.B., C. Steinfield and C. Lampe (2007).  The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4). http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ellison.html


Session 5: Mon Mar 7-Sun Mar 20

Social knowledge production and services

Duguid, Paul (2006). Limits of Self-Organization: Peer Production and "Laws of Quality”. First Monday 11(10).  http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1405/1323

Haythornthwaite, Caroline (2009).  Crowds and Communities: Light and Heavyweight Models of Peer Production.  Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Waikoloa, HI, 5-8 January 2009.

Geisler, Gary and Sam Burns (2008).  Tagging Video: Conventions and Strategies of the YouTube Community.  TCDL Bulletin 4(1). http://www.ieee-tcdl.org/Bulletin/v4n1/geisler/geisler.html

Lerman, Kristina (2007). Social Networks and Social Information Filtering on Digg. Proceedings of Int. Conf. on Weblogs and Social Media, Boulder, CO. http://arxiv.org/pdf/cs/0612046v1

Leibenluft, Jacob (2007).  A Librarian's Worst Nightmare: Yahoo! Answers, where 120 million users can be wrong. Slate, 7 December 2007.  http://www.slate.com/id/2179393/fr/rss/ 

Gazan, Rich (2008).  Social Annotations in Digital Library Collections.  D-Lib 14(11/12). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/november08/gazan/11gazan.html

Dempsey, Lorcan (2009).  Always On: Libraries in a World of Permanent Connectivity.  First Monday 14(1).  http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2291/2070


Spring Break: Mon Mar 21-Sun Mar 27


Session 6: Mon Mar 28-Sun Apr 10

Online identity and interaction

Steve Whittaker, Loren Terveen, Will Hill and Lynn Cherny (1998). The Dynamics of Mass Interaction. Proceedings of the 1998 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW98), Seattle, Washington, 257-264.

Wellman, Barry, Anabel Quan-Haase, Jeffrey Boase, Wenhong Chen, Keith Hampton, Isabel Isla de Diaz and Kakuko Miyata (2003).  The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 8(3). http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol8/issue3/wellman.html

Donath, Judith. (2007). Signals in Social Supernets. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13(1).  http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/donath.html

Liu, H. (2007). Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 13. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/liu.html

Ploderer, B., S. Howard & P. Thomas (2008). Being Online, Living Offline: The Influence of Social Ties Over the Appropriation of Social Network Sites. Proceedings of CSCW 2008.

Hodkinson, Paul (2006).  Subcultural Blogging? Online Journals and Group Involvement Among UK Goths.  In: A. Bruns and J. Jacobs, Uses of Blogs. New York: Peter Lang, 187-199.

Huberman, Bernardo, Daniel Romero and Fang Wu (2009).  Social Networks That Matter: Twitter Under the Microscope" First Monday 14(1).

Honeycutt, Courtenay and Susan C. Herring (2009).  Beyond Microblogging: Conversation and Collaboration via Twitter. Proceedings of the 2nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Waikoloa, HI, 5-8 January 2009.


Session 7: Mon Apr 11-Sun Apr 24

Management and conflict

Madison, Michael J. (2006).  Social Software, Groups, and Governance. Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2006, p. 153. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=786404 

Cosley, Dan, Dan Frankowski, Sara Kiesler, Loren Terveen, John Riedl (2005). How Oversight Improves Member-Maintained Communities. CHI 2005, April 2-7 2005, Portland, Oregon.

Kollock, Peter and Marc Smith (1994). Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities.  In: Susan Herring (ed.), Computer-Mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives.  Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 109-128. http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/csoc/papers/virtcomm/Virtcomm.htm

Grimes, Justin, Paul Jaeger and Kenneth Fleischmann (2008).  Obfuscatocracy: A stakeholder analysis of governing documents for virtual worlds. First Monday 13(9). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2153/2029

Gazan, Rich (2009).  When Online Communities Become Self-Aware. Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Waikoloa, HI, 5-8 January 2009.

Gazan, Rich (2007).  Understanding the Rogue User. In: Diane Nahl and Dania Bilal, eds.  Information & Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behavior Research and Theory. Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, 177-185.

Dibbell, Julian (2008). Mutilated Furries, Flying Phalluses: Put the Blame on Griefers, the Sociopaths of the Virtual World.  Wired 16.02. http://www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/magazine/16-02/mf_goons?currentPage=all

Reed, Mike (no date). Flame Warriors. http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/index.htm


**Final projects due: Sunday May 1**