What and How Can We Learn From It?

Submission has closed, and we have posted accepted papers here
  Sunday, April 11th, 2010 at the CHI 2010 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
Julia H Grace   IBM Research - Almaden    @jewelia
Dejin Zhao   Penn State University    @djzhao
danah boyd   Microsoft Research New England    @zephoria
  UPDATED: Position papers are due at midnight PST on January 13th, 2010. We will notify all participants of acceptance or rejection on January 30th, 2010.
  Currently, there is a lot of new research around Twitter and microblogging. danah has compiled this research at http://www.danah.org/TwitterResearch.html - please let her know if you know of any additional papers, journal articles, research reports, etc. Please use this site as a resource, and we look forward to adding to this bibliography with your workshop papers!
  Communication via short, real-time message broadcast, also known as microblogging, is relatively a new communication channel for people to share information. We use microblogging as an umbrella term to include status updates from social networks such as Facebook, and message-exchange services such as Twitter. Recent research has shown that people employ these services to share informal information they would likely not otherwise publish through other mediums (i.e., email, phone, IM, or weblogs). Microblogging has become quite popular quickly, catching researchers� interests as both a means of public, social information exchange, and a medium for collaboration and communication in the work context.

The goal of this workshop is to provide a forum for researchers and practitioners from academia and industry to exchange insights into how microblogs are used in enterprises, academic and social settings, developing an agenda for what and how we can learn from and better study this phenomenon.

We plan to explore microblogging not only in a social context, but also in work settings, so we will actively encourage submissions from those who have used or studied this technology within enterprises or academic communities. At least one author of each accepted paper needs to register for the workshop and for one or more days of the conference itself.

We encourage you to read our workshop proposal, available here.
We believe CHI 2010 is an ideal time to have a workshop on microblogging practices. This technology is pervasive enough that it is well known and widely used. For example, Twitter played an important role at CHI 2009. For the first time, the organizing committee created an official account for the conference and many researchers used Twitter as a backchannel, informally conversing, coordinating activities and socializing. We predict Twitter to be used even more extensively at CHI 2010, with the official CHI Twitter account (@chi2010) created in June 2009, 10 months before the conference begins. In addition, studies of microblogging practices are increasingly gaining traction in both academic research and corporate communities. Though microblogging is a relatively new social phenomenon, the number of academic published works in this area over the past 3 years has been on the rise. Corporations are actively seeking value in microblogging technologies for enhancing corporate communication within and outside the firewall. However, research of microblogging behaviors is in a very early stage. Researchers are still in the process of making sense of informal social broadcast technologies, but the potential for solid academic research exists. As one of the first officially organized CHI events on this topic, we will create a framework for future research in this field.

As a new social practice, there are many tensions surrounding the value, usage and research methods employed when studying microblogging behaviors. Regardless of the social or work context, many questions arise � including, but not limited to, privacy, adoption, and research.
  • Privacy: Will the practice of microblogging allow for �Big Brother� style monitoring? Can microblog messages be used maliciously (e.g., stalking)? What are the ramifications of broadcasting your opinions, travel plans, etc?
  • Adoption: Twitter chairman Jack Dorsey emphasized this in a 2009 talk: �When you adopt a communication medium in a way that is different from your friends', you annoy them�. Thus, in microblogging, critical mass might equate to the user�s social network. Large numbers of other users may only inject noise.
  • Research: Formal studies of microblogging practices can be problematic given that current microblogging tools are innately unstructured. It is difficult to trace conversational coherence, attribution, and motivations. Data collection is also challenging when dealing with high volumes of real time information.
Our workshop will explore the aforementioned issues and those that are expressed in the submitted position papers.

Plan for the conducting the Workshop
This will be a one-day workshop with up to 20 participants the following format:
  • Introductions: Each participant will briefly introduce themselves, putting forth one argument/issue/topic the workshop should consider. We will make note of all these topics as possible breakout sessions. The rest of the morning will be spent on 2 discussion sections (with breaks between):
  • Discussion #1: Tensions around technology, social practices and research process of microblogging studies. Questions to explore: what have our experiences with microblogging behaviors been thus far, what drives people to microblog, and what need does it fulfill? What are the social consequences of this technology? What is the role of microblogging in informal communication?
  • Discussion #2: Microblogging as a practice vs. Microblogging as a service. When should microblogging functionality be a supported feature in other, pre-existing technologies (Facebook status, MySpace mood and IBM Lotus Connections status) versus as a standalone service (Twitter, Yammer and Jaiku)?
  • Discussion #3: Exploration of microblogging practices in the enterprise. Questions to explore: how should the design of microblogging technologies target different organizational issues (e.g. knowledge sharing, and innovation)? Parallel Breakout Sessions: Breakout sessions will be based on the issues raised by the position papers and topics brought up during the introductions. Possible topics include network analysis, privacy, public mixing of social & work hemispheres, and cross-medium communication.
  • Discussion #4: Discuss results of the breakout sessions and concluding remarks.
  Please submit a 2 to 4 page position paper using the CHI Extended Abstract Template. Email your submission to chi-2010-microblogging (at) googlegroups.com based your experiences with or observations of microblogging. Use the subject "CHI 2010 Microblogging Workshop Submission".

All workshop participants must register for both the workshop (last year the price was $175 for a one-day workshop and $250 for a two-day workshop) and for at least one day of the main conference (prices for last year are listed here, though these could change this year: http://www.chi2009.org/Attending/Registration.html). The reason for this policy is that workshops are supposed to be a part of the CHI conference, not separate events that happen to be in the same location at the same time.

New to CHI Workshops or have general questions? Refer to CHI Workshop FAQ for more information.