Hooper, Clare J.
A Framework for Re-imaging and Enabling Access to Online Social Phenomena.
The digital divide refers to a lack of technological access, part of which involves exclusion from a blooming arena of social interaction. People without mobile phones or PCs cannot access email, SMS or social networking websites; this includes many groups, such as the elderly, who can become vulnerable without good social contact. By enabling multimodal access to a variety of communication channels, including ubiquitous ones such as televisions and home telephones, this set of people can be included in such interactions. However, this social functionality cannot be effectively provided if we do not fully understand the ways in which current web-based social interactions occur. This report first describes background material related to pervasive and social technologies, ageing, computing in non-work environments, usability, and ethical issues. Next, a prototype pervasive messaging infrastructure for multimodal communications is described, as is its use as an assistive environment. The report also describes the vision for building a social fabric on top of this infrastructure. Two tools to understand social networking experiences, Experience Deconstruction and Actor-Network Theory, are presented. Finally, planned future work is described. The research question to be addressed is, “Can a systematic framework of methodologies be developed to understand the motivations for and experiences of social web-based phenomena, in order to reimagine these phenomena in novel contexts?” Planned research contributions are: the analysis and evaluation of methodologies for understanding online social phenomena; the creation and use of a systematic framework to apply these methodologies; and re-imagining the social networking experience via pervasive channels.
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