From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.
This site documents the process and the results.
I wrote up some reading notes on my research blog on the topic of co-location and the Familiar Strangers theme, brought to the future Mobile Social Software world from Stanley Milgram's work in 1967.
Familiar Strangers is a recurring theme in the mobile designed experience world, particularly since Goodman and Paulos' Familiar Strangers project. It's also topical for a more tragic reason. In 1964 Kitty Genovese was murdered in the middle of a busy apartment courtyard in Queens, New York City. Many people were "witness" to the event — overhearing it — yet did absolutely nothing.
This is the other side to the promise latent within the Familiar Strangers concept: even though we may be amongst lots of familiar strangers, we may not want to become involved in each others' lives. We may have familiarity with the strangers we see, but what are the design implications for that phenomenon in the age of social software? How much do we really want to involve ourselves in the lives of familiar strangers? What are the social practices in which a networked public can comfortably engage through the networks created by mobile, networked terminals? Dating? Sharing? F2F exchanges? Finding someone who speaks your language when in a foreign country?