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Micro-blogging - potential impacts on informal communication and collaborative work Dejin Zhao & Mary Beth Rosson Penn State University

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Presentation on theme: "Micro-blogging - potential impacts on informal communication and collaborative work Dejin Zhao & Mary Beth Rosson Penn State University"— Presentation transcript:

1 Micro-blogging - potential impacts on informal communication and collaborative work Dejin Zhao & Mary Beth Rosson Penn State University

2 Overview 1.Micro-blog 2.Anticipated impacts on informal communication 3.Interview study 4.Preliminary findings 5.Discussion

3 Micro-blogging What is a micro-blog? A new emerging form of communication, powered by online CMC tools (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku, Pownce) Allow individuals to broadcast information through brief updates With their audience/subscribers (e.g., friends, colleagues, other interested observers) [3]. Unique communication behaviors: people seem to use micro-blog to share information about themselves that they probably wont do through other communication media Small little things, happening around peoples daily life and work activities Live information, e.g., what they are doing, thinking, reading, and experiencing They believe are interesting and might be valuable to others as well, but just not enough to share through other communication channels (e.g., s, IMs, or blogs). Emotionally, people achieve greater cyberspace presence, out there, and feel one more layer of connection with others and the world [3, 5].

4 Micro-blogging in work settings Position: Micro-blog might potential become an important informal communication medium at work, with consequent mediating impacts on collaborative work. Problems and needs : Corporate settings need better CMC support of informal communication among employees more than ever Informal communication is critical to collaborative work and organization success (e.g., opportunistic valuable information sharing, common ground, connectedness) [7] Less informal communication opportunities, as communication patterns shifts from primarily FTF communication to more online mediated communication (e.g., more work done remotely, time famine, and concerns of interruptions) Computer-mediated informal communication essential as part of this, but still an open research problem E.g., social/visual cues in CMC seems not to help much [8]. Other efforts examining social networking and public displays within organizations Two classes of anticipated impacts of micro-blogging: Informational effects: improved opportunistic valuable information sharing and expertise seeking, building and maintaining common ground Social and emotional effects: enhancing the feeling of connectedness among co- workers.

5 Pilot project: an interview Study To investigate the questions of: a) how people micro-blog at work, b) what consequential effects micro-blogging have or might have on collaborative work, and c) how it might be improved? Semi-structured interviews with participants (expected 20 people), from a large software R&D Business Unit, with roles of both managers and workers in software engineering, product management, marketing, and sales. About the interview questions: -Participants are asked about their experiences using Twitter with co- workers -Problems and issues encountered, opinions and anticipated feature needs either/or relevant to work. -Questions asked from both information sender and receiver perspective -Participants asked more generally about their perceptions of micro-blogs, compared with other communication media available

6 Preliminary findings: Consequences of Twitter use Opportunistic valuable information sharing: a segment marketing manager once posted about his bad luck of setting demos in a marketing event, others respond similar experiences, and one of the guys organized an further meeting to exchange and learn from each others experiences. Work-related info/articles sharing: marketing people often post work related news, product managers post about new features of competitors or other relevant products. Common ground building : people replying to a co-workers updates/opinions sometimes are just for alerting him/her that they read it, or agree with the opinions. Perceptions of others work: a product manager needs to collaborate with a marketing guy in a new project. By reading their work-related updates in Twitter, he gains insights into how their teams work.

7 Preliminary findings: Technological affordances Broadcasting and voluntary reading -Makes it easier for users to share information that they probably would not do otherwise -Fulfill peoples needs of checking others status, reading and responding is not demanded, subscribe based on interests, reply if they find topics interesting or have sth to share Simple, easy, and pervasive access -Reduce threshold (low cost) to share -Update as things happening and thoughts crossing minds -Check whenever they get a moment (e.g., in-between meetings)

8 Preliminary findings: Issues and problems Privacy: some people concerned about broadcasting social or work status to everyone on their follower list Security: some people said he might post more client and task sensitive information to an internal micro-blog, and would want to see similar posts from others. Integration: people would like to have a more integrated way to stay in touch with people inside and outside organization e.g., co-workers, clients and sales partners, other friends in the same industry Value: people sometimes not sure what might be interesting to update for subscribers, especially at start

9 Discussion: future research Academia investigation of micro-blogging as a social activity What is motivation for micro-blogging (e.g., social emotional needs, individual/culture/background difference factors)? What are its consequential effects (both cognitive and emotional effects in both individual and group levels) What are the technological affordances of communication channel and how do they relate to peoples usage and needs? Further investigation of corporate micro-blogging subject to implementation inside the organizations Use and impacts likely also to be affected by the specific organizational settings (e.g., organizational structure, communication structure, organizational culture, nature of work activities, and individual differences) In a word, micro-blogging could become a useful medium for supporting informal intra-organization communication across different organizational levels. The nature of status updating might enact a variety of communication needs at work May impact other organizational issues (e.g., job satisfaction, creativity and innovation, and strategic management).

10 Thank You

11 Reference 1.Geyer, W., Dugan, C., DiMicco, J., Millen, D., Brownholtz, B., & Muller, M. (2008). Use and reuse of shared lists as a social content type. In Proc. CHI 2008, Florence, Italy, Jackson, A., Yates, J., & Orlikowski, W. (2007). Corporate blogging: Building community through persistent digital talk. In Proc. 40th HICSS, Jan., Java, A., Song, X., Finin, T. & Tseng, B. (2007). Why we twitter: Understanding microblogging usage and communities. In Proc. 13th ACM SIGKDD, August 12–15, San Jose, CA. 4.Joinson, A.N. (2008). Looking at, looking up or keeping up with people: motives and use of facebook. In Proc. CHI 2008, Florence, Italy, McFedries, P. (2007). Technically speaking: All atwitter. IEEE Spectrum, 44(10), Nardi, B.A., Schiano, D.J. & Gumbrecht, M. (2004). Blogging as social activity, or, would you let 900 million people read your diary? In Proc. CSCW New York: ACM Press, pp. 222– Whittaker, S., Frohlich, D. & Daly-Jones, W. (1994). Informal Workplace Communication: What is it Like and How Might We Support It? Proceedings of CHI94, , ACM Press: New York. 8.Whittaker, S. (2003). Theories and Methods in Mediate Communication. In

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