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.

social software

academic blogs and other interesting blogs

Weblogs and social software are part of the academy, both today and in the future.

This page gathers together the sites that we—as netPublics fellows—turn to, both as resources and as models.

Most of these sites mentioned here have RSS feeds.

Submitted by kvarnelis on October 14, 2005 - 10:54pm

you gonna pay for that im?

How much will *you* pay for IM? AOL is betting that at least the corporate world will cough up money for "pro" IM capabilities. A partnership with WebEx gives them IM with video, security, conferencing, etc. Time will tell if people will pay for it, and whether the competition (Yahoo, Google, MS) respond in-kind.

more @ ZD Net

Submitted by todd on February 21, 2006 - 5:10pm

the Newest New Media: the OS

2006 marks the start of the second half of the decade and just an hour ago, Apple announced Macbooks with dual-core Intel processors as well as dual-core Intel powered iMacs . Assuming there are no unpleasant surprises, these machines should be able to run Windows, Mac OS X, and various flavors of Linux. In this brave, new world, the OS, becomes nothing more than a form of media. Meanwhile, Google is rumored to be providing an alternative vision of an OS that can run through your web browser. Certainly they have to do something with all that iron they own and those minds they employ.

Submitted by kvarnelis on January 10, 2006 - 9:32pm

Collocation and Familiar Strangers

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?


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Submitted by jbleecker on December 24, 2005 - 6:27am


So, what does it mean that yahoo has wrapped into its media cocktail?

While I wouldn't presume to have any special insight into what it means when and the other properties are mixed in the same stew, I might suggest that is, when you invert it, a rich database of individual's (and groups, I supposed) self-authored descriptions of their interests, activities, projects — the whole thing.

Turning this into a way to create useful indices to people for a variety of purposes seems most obvious. Knee jerk purpose says advertising, but I'm betting that clever heads will find a host of more promising kinds of ways to create vibrant enhancements to existing social formations and ways in which culture is circulated amongst networked publics.

More than tagging pages on the web — tagging "my stuff" in the world is still something TBD. Through, I can provide indices through taxonomies and folksonomies to things that are of interest to me, or related to a project. Some inferences can be made about my personality, or the things in which I am engaged. But that's a degree removed from an explicit articulation of who I am, what I have, what I want to get rid of, what I want to share, what I need, etc. Think of what a distributed MySpaces might look like, without the hassle of having to manage yet another social software application.

[via Russell Beattie's Notebook]

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Submitted by jbleecker on December 11, 2005 - 5:48am Y.ah.oo!

Web 2.0 mania continues as Yahoo buys

Read about it here.

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 10, 2005 - 5:10am

Conference backchannels: distributed intelligence or divided attention

Nicolas Nova calls out this recent paper on "back-channels" at conferences.

Conference backchannels: distributed intelligence or divided attention:

Jacobs N, Mcfarlane A. (2005) Conferences as learning communities: some early lessons in using `back-channel’ technologies at an academic conference - distributed intelligence or divided attention? Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Vol. 21, No. 5., pp. 317-329

Submitted by jbleecker on December 1, 2005 - 5:10am


A couple of months ago, Stowe Boyd at Corante reviewed Writely, a free collaborative web-based word processor compatible with Microsoft Word. Many of Stowe's criticisms (such as the Firefox funkiness...even new versions of Safari work well enough) have been addressed and I was delighted that my various collaborators who had previously largely shrunk from on-line collaborative writing eagerly embraced Writely immediately.

Writely could still be more wiki like. Why should our documents wind up so disparate? Why can't they be more easily linked together? Collaboration needs some work although it is the first thing on their list after Thanksgiving. But Writely has strong promise for such a new product and could give services like Socialtext a run for their money. In any event, Writely is worth a look for any project requiring networked, collaborative writing.

There's an interview with the people behind writely at Emily Chang's ehub, a blog on Web 2.0 applications that's worth visiting as well. The main page, which I'm adding to my RSS feeds, is here.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 22, 2005 - 1:06am

Flowing with Flock?

Net browsing used to be mostly about just surfing site after site for information. But in the last few years, people have also used the Internet to be networked to each other as well as to produce and share things within [w:networks]. Flock, the latest open source [w:Web 2.0] browser that has just been launched (still in developer preview version, though), seeks to address this new social phenomenon.

Submitted by mlim on November 8, 2005 - 12:17pm

blackboard + webct = even worse product

egad....opensource take me away...

Blackboard and WebCT, leading providers of enterprise software and services to the education industry have announced plans to merge. The announcement was made at October 12th at 4 pm EST in a news release posted on PR News wire.

"I have had experience with both companies and view this merger as combining excellence with excellence to advance the e-Learning industry, I also see this combination as a way to break down barriers across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to open the door to new opportunities for collaboration among institutions using different e-learning platforms." - Jack Wilson, President of The University of Massachusetts and current WebCT Vista client.

Submitted by todd on October 17, 2005 - 1:01pm