judith donath

Associate Professor of Media Arts & Sciences
Asahi Broadcasting Corporation Career Development Professor
Director of the Sociable Media Group
judith [at] media [.] mit [.] edu
The Media Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Room E15-392
20 Ames Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts
02139 USA


Berkman Faculty Fellow
jdonath [at] cyber [.] law [.] edu

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Harvard Law School
the sociable media group  ·  bio  ·  cv  ·  interviews



--> Spring 2008: Designing Sociable Media
Fall 2007: Signals, Truth and Design
Spring 2007: Designing Sociable Media
All past Sociable Media classes



Collaborative Technologies and Systems, Keynote "What is Real? Signals of Truth and Identity in Fashion, Networks & Faces", May 20, 2008

    on video

Berkeley School of Information, Distinguished Lecture Series,"Signals, Truth and Design" (video) . Sept 27, 2006

Google, Tech Talk series, "Signals, Truth and Design (with an emphasis on information and fashion)" (video). Jan 11, 2007

IBM/Media Lab Symposium on Virtual Worlds, panel on "Digital Convergence & Identity" (video)

    past talks...


Projects in the Sociable Media Group include visualizations of online interaction, art installations that function as social catalysts, designs for new communication media, explorations of future fashion, and more


Our work has been shown at Boston's Institute for Contemporary Art, NYC's The Kitchen, at Ars Electronica, SIGGRAPH, ISEA, and elsewhere.

selected writing

See the full collection of Sociable Media Group papers
about identity, signaling, and social analysis
Signals, Truth and Design
Judith Donath. Forthcoming.
MIT Press
book-in-progress on human signaling in mediated and face-to-face communication.
Why be nice? Motivations for honesty in online assessments
Judith Donath, April 2008.
Berkman Center for Internet and Society
And what happens if you are not.
Giving avatars emote control
Judith Donath, February, 2008.
Harvard Business Review, Breakthrough ideas for 2008
About the continuum of veracity.
Virtually trustworthy
Judith Donath, July 6, 2007.
Today I'll wear my most persuasive avatar.
Signals in social supernets
In The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol 13, no 1.
the evolutionary line that goes from apes grooming, to people gossiping, to future humans linking their profiles together
Public displays of connection.
Judith Donath and danah boyd. 2004.
In BT Technology Journal Vol 22 No 4 October 2004, pp 71-82.
how listing all your acquaintances can make you more credible - or less.
Mediated Faces
Judith Donath. 2001.
In M. Beynon, C.L. Nehaniv, K. Dautenhahn (Eds.). Cognitive Technology: Instruments of Mind Proceedings of the 4th International Conference
making sure that the face that represents you does not have a mind of its own.
Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community (or .pdf)
Judith Donath. 1998. In Communities in Cyberspace. (M. Smith and P. Kollock, eds.) London: Routledge.
how cheap identifiers led to an onslaught of trolls

about interface design

The Rhythms of Salience: A Conversation Map
Judith Donath
an impressionistic picture of a conversation
Words as landscape
Judith Donath. 2005. CHI 2005 Workshop: Beyond threaded conversation
imagine words piling up, like lexical anthills
Sociable Media.
Judith Donath. 2004. In The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, William Sims Bainbridge (ed), Berkshire Publishing Group
if you majored in sociable media, what would you know.
A semantic approach to visualizing online conversations
Judith Donath. 2002. In Communications of the ACM Volume 45 , Issue 4
incorporating subtle editorializing into social visualizations.
Talking in Circles
Roy Rodenstein, Judith Donath. In Proceedings of CHI 2000 .
a visual interface for audioconferencing that lets you tell secrets
Judith Donath, Karrie Karahalios, Fernanda Viegas. In Proceedings of ICAD 2000.
a mesmerizing interface object for speakerphone calls
Chat Circles.
Fernanda Viegas and Judith Donath. 1999.
In Proceedings of CHI 99.
the abstract graphical chat interface.
Visualizing the crowds at a web site
Nelson Minar and Judith Donath. In Proceedings of CHI 99.
a bird's-eye animation of visits to a website
Visualizing Conversation (or .pdf)
Judith Donath, Karrie Karahalios, and Fernanda Viegas. 1999. In Proceedings of HICSS-32, reprinted in the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, vol 4, issue 4.
showing the social patterns in online conversations
Inhabiting the Virtual City: The Design of Social Environments for Electronic Communities
J. Donath
My doctoral dissertation.
Visual Who
J. Donath Proceedings of ACM Multimedia '95 Nov 5-9, San Francisco, CA.
visualizing a community with mailing lists and springs
Sociable Information Spaces
J. Donath. 1995. Presented at the Second IEEE International Workshop on Community Networking, Princeton, NJ.
when this was written, the web as a social space was a radically new idea
The Illustrated Conversation
J. Donath. Multimedia Tools and Applications. Vol. 1, March 1995.
turning heads in virtual conversations
Structured Video and the Construction of Space
J. Donath. Proceedings of the IS&T/SPIE Symposium on Electronic Imaging, San Jose, CA, February 1995.
video compositing with the perspective of the Renaissance
The Sociable Web
J. Donath and N. Robertson. Proceedings of the Second International WWW Conference. Chicago, IL, October 1994.
the first implementation of presence on the web
Casual Collaboration
J. Donath Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia Computing and Systems, pp. 490-496, Boston, MA. May 1994.

about knowing the not-quite-human other

The Imperfect Observer
Judith Donath, 2006
neuroscience, robotics, and the illusion of thinking we can know everything
Artificial pets: Simple behaviors elicit complex attachments.
Judith Donath
The Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, Marc Bekoff (ed.), Greenwood Press.
why machines will evolve to misbehave.
Being Real
J. Donath.
In The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet, K. Goldberg (ed.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (Also in pdf. In French, Être réel)
as chatbots get smarter, what will it take to prove you are human?