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Development Approaches to the Construction of Social Cyberspaces” Research Focus

By Andrew T. Fiore


• The construction of identity online. Basic questions remain unanswered about the way people seek to present themselves online. Where on the continuum from real-life identities to completely constructed identities best facilitates social interaction? Goal-oriented interaction? The informational tokens that users exchange – screen names, profiles, glyphs or avatars – carry varying amounts of importance depending on the particular culture of a place, but most such exchanges still pertain to superficial characteristics with offline analogues, like age, sex, race, and geographic location. Thin media like plain text allow users to circumvent this real-world baggage, trafficking instead in the more significant signs of self, such as personal philosophy and intellectual interests. How to encourage such interaction is an open question; first we must find out whether people would avail themselves of it even if it worked well. • Taxonomy of conversations and participant roles. Quantitative information about users ’ behavior allows us to intuit their motivations in a broad sense. In newsgroups, for example, those who tend to get replied to more than they reply might be seen as question-askers. Those who reply more than they are replied to are more likely to be question-answerers. If the two numbers are fairly balanced for most participants, the group is probably engaged more in conversation than in asking and answerin

Year: 2009
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