Society: Identity, Interaction and Interface Design
Newsgroup analysis assignment (due Friday, Feb 20):
Write a short (2 - 4 page) analysis of the interactions in a newsgroup. The scale of the examination is up to you: you may choose to compare 2 or more groups or you may focus on a single exchange. Some of the questions you may address include:
- How identity is established by a writer - and how do participants indicate the impression they have of each other?
- What constitutes a "conversation"? How do threads emerge, mutate, disappear?
- What is the social structure of the group: do the participants seem to know each other? are there distinct subgroups? are there problematic participants - and if so, how do the other members deal with them?
- How do the participants use the medium to convey social information (e.g. turn-taking, agreement/disagreement,etc.)? Are there discernable gradations of communicative competence within the group?
In addition to last week's readings, some other relevant material from the reading list includes:
- Curtis (1992)
- Dibbell (1993);
- Donath (in press)
- Reid (1994)
All are available online.