In the meantime, in case you haven’t read it already, here’s our Invited+speakers
“The Machine in the Ghost: a Socio-Technical Systems Approach to User-Generated Content Research”
Both practice and research in user-generated content has entered a period of rapid growth. Fields like Computer Science, Information Science, Communication, Sociology, Psychology and Business have all been addressing the big questions of this type of distributed collaboration, often working in their disciplines unaware of the work done in others. The social scientists tend to look at participation in these sites from the perspective of traditional social theories, and underplay the importance of technical features by dismissing it as “technological determinism”. Engineers and computer scientists tend to build new systems and explain current ones without the benefits of theories that create a persistent epistemology across studies or systems. I’ll argue for a new approach to understanding these systems, combining the strengths of social and technical approaches to create a new epistemology of socio-technical systems.
Cliff Lampe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University. He received his PhD in 2006 from the University of Michigan’s School of Information.
Cliff’s research involves the intersection of social and technical systems. This has included studies of moderation and new user socialization in Slashdot, user lifecycles in Everything2.com, and the role of motivation in increasing user participation in other sites. Additionally, he has studied how Facebook can increase the generation
of social capital in college aged populations, and the role of social network sites in organizational contexts. Cliff’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, USDA, Great Lakes Protection Fund, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, State of Michigan and Kellogg Foundation. He is the recipient of the 2010 MSU Teacher-Scholar Award.
Cliff’s homepage is: https://www.msu.edu/~lampecli/
“What Hath Wikipedia Wrought?”
Following on his book “The Wikipedia Revolution: How a bunch of nobodies created the world’s greatest encyclopedia,” Andrew Lih describes how Wikipedia’s success in creating peer-produced knowledge has influenced the news industry and models of contemporary journalism.
With today’s networked news audience involved with distributed data gathering, records processing, and field reporting via mobile devices, Lih provides a model for understanding the new collaborative ecosystem that has developed around information creation and curation.
Wikipedia has inspired many other projects from geographical mapping (Openstreetmaps) to fictional narratives (Lostpedia), while some of its most valuable community practices go relatively unnoticed. Its editing community, steeped in a culture of enforcing accurate citations and reliable sources, provides a model for real-time fact checking of news stories, a task too often neglected by mainstream media outlets. We examine how a Wikifactcheck project might further this idea.
Finally, we take an honest look at the challenges for Wikipedia’s future. Recent statistics show declining participation in editing and slower article production across the major Wikipedia language editions. With so little experience in studying socio-technical systems in creating persistent content, what major questions should researchers be asking? What are the “grand challenges” facing the project and possible scenarios for the future?
Andrew Lih is a new media researcher, consultant and technology author. He is an associate professor of journalism and director of new media at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. He is also the author of The Wikipedia Revolution, a book that examines the early history of Wikipedia’s development. Lih is a long-time Wikipedia participant and commentator, and was one of the first academics to incorporate Wikipedia editing into the classroom.
From 1995 to 2000, Lih created the new media program at the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism where he served as adjunct professor and director of technology for their Center for New Media. Lih has written about internet development in China, new media and journalism, and collaborative technologies for publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN International.
Andrew’s website is http://www.andrewlih.com
Photo by Joi Ito, CC-By