WikiSym Opening Keynote

The Machine in the Ghost: a Socio-Technical Systems Approach to User-Generated Content Research

Speaker: Cliff Lampe

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