Can crowds fill the void left by defunct newspapers? Reflections on our experiments with locative crowdsourcing.

By andresmh5 months ago - permalink

Tags: crowdsourcing locativecrowdsourcing hyperlocal civicmedia research

Write up by Andrés Monroy-Hernández and Elena Agapie, building on the work of J. Nathan Matias

Motivated by the disappearance of local newspapers, this past summer, we started to explore new ways of supporting community news production through collaborative writing tools. The first incarnation of this is NewsPad, a system for neighborhood communities to collaboratively to report on local events such as festivals and town hall meetings.

One of the first challenges we encountered when testing NewsPad in the wild, was the difficulty of bootstrapping these collective action efforts to produce even lightweight articles in the form of lists, also referred to as listicles.

We decided to explore this challenge using on-demand, location-based labor through TaskRabbit. We were able to produce articles about the events in under an hour, and for less than $100. Here we share some of initial reflections after running a few experiments.

image

Screenshot of report of a neighborhood festival

Read More

13 Things We Learned at SoDAPop’s First Meetup

By andresmh5 months ago - permalink

Tags: sodapop events

SoDaPop had its first formal meetup on Nov 7. More than 60 people attended to talk about social data and action. People from academia, industry, startups, news media, and government showed up. There were also 8 ignite presentations, wine, cheese, and a lot of fun. The organizers, who came from FUSE Labs and UW, included: Shelly Farnham, Robert Mason, David McDonald, Joshua Blumenstock, and Andres Monroy-HernandezHere are 13 things we learned from this lively and multidisciplinary gathering. 

Read More

Multilingual Interactions through Machine Translation—Numbers from Socl

By andresmh6 months ago - permalink

Tags: socl translation multilanguage

For the past two years, social media platforms have been rolling out machine translation, enabling multilingual interactions. However, the people interacting in these platforms often know each other already, and have a language in common (i.e., friends). But what happens when machine translation is used to facilitate interactions among strangers, who perhaps have common interests but not a common language?

The earliest social media platform to enable machine translation was probably Facebook, which began autotranslating conversations in Facebook pages (a good place to start given that Pages are more likely to bring people who speak different languages together). Likewise, Google+ and Twitter later released similar features, enabling, for example, Spanish-speaking Twitter users to read the tweets from the now toppled Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi, translated from Arabic to Spanish:

image 

How often do these types of multilingual interactions occur? Ethan Zuckerman posed a similar question when wondering what the numbers were for machine translations, in the context of a discussion about the challenges of having people pay attention to content outside their immediate reach.

With that in mind, we decided to look into some numbers using data from our own social media platform: Soclwhich started offering machine translation since last year. Socl, like Twitter, often brings strangers together who might not speak the same language, example:

image

Read More

[Talk] Computational Sociology—Digital Traces in Online Places: Methods, Software, & Applications—Thu 10/3

By andresmh6 months ago - permalink

Tags: talks research

UPDATE: Video recording of the talk is now available.

This coming Thursday, Ryan Acton, a computational sociology professor at UMass Amherst, is coming to give a talk on his work investigating “digital traces” online. Ryan has been studying network dynamics on websites such as epinions.com, and last.fm. For example, he’s been analyzing group formation around concerts advertised in last.fm and built an R package called scrapeR to collect data directly from R.

image

Read More

Travel awards for students to present civic media projects at the iConference ‘14 in Berlin

By andresmh7 months ago - permalink

Tags: events civicmedia iconference

FUSE Labs, in collaboration with the iConference, is offering a $3,000 travel award for each team selected to participate in the 2014 Social Media Expo in Berlin. Teams must be from one of the member institutions. More info here.

The teams need to submit a 4-page paper along with a video, that incorporate user research, design, prototyping, and/or system evaluation around topics such as:

  • Collecting and evaluating big social data
  • Statistical/algorithmic work for detecting and summarizing societal patterns
  • Visualization of societal patterns
  • Designing for large scale collective action
  • Supporting emergent, community-based civic activities in addition to direct governmental involvement

The projects must explore a technological solution to meeting a concrete need or opportunity around the theme of leveraging social media to foster a smarter society.

image

Read More

Talk Announcement: Microblogging During Small Scale Incidents—Tue 8/27

By andresmh7 months ago - permalink

Tags: crisisinformatics civicmedia talks

UPDATE: Video of this presentation is now available online.

Next week we have Alex Schulz from the Technical University of Darmstadt who will giving a talk about his work on using social media data along with machine learning, and semantic dictionaries (i.e., WordNet), to automatically detect small scale incidents, such as car crashes, shootings, and fires.

I saw Alex present a paper co-authored with Petar Ristoski at ICWSM during a really interesting workshop titled When the City Meets the Citizen. In that paper they analyzed Twitter data from Seattle and Memphis. One of their findings was that average citizens (labeled I and blue in the figure below) were often the first to report shootings (53% of the time), much earlier than other people that one would expect such as Emergency Management Organzations (EMO), journalists/bloggers devoted to emergencies (EMJ), general journalists/bloggers, or other types of governmental and non-governmental organizations (ORG).  

image

Read More

The 3 things you can learn about your neighborhood using Whooly

By andresmh8 months ago - permalink

Tags: civicmedia urbaninformatics research seattle whooly

Along with my colleagues Shelly Farnham, and Michal Lahav—and our interns Yuheng Hu, Emma Spiro, and Nate Matias—we have been exploring ways of discovering and fostering latent neighborhood information to help people understand what’s happening in their local communities.

As part of this research, we have created Whooly an experimental mobile website that discovers and highlights neighborhood-specific information on Twitter in real-time. The system is focused, for now, on various neighborhoods of the Seattle metro area (King County to be specific). Whooly automatically discovers, extracts and summarizes hyperlocal Twitter content from these communities based on mentions of local neighborhoods and relevant keywords from tweets and profiles. One can think of Whooly as a neighborhood Twitter client.

image

Screenshot of Whooly

Read More

Talk Announcement — Narrating with Networks: Making Sense of Event Log Data with Socio-Technical Trajectories — Fri 8/16

By andresmh8 months ago - permalink

Tags: talks networks computational social science wikipedia news

UPDATE: Check out the video recording of this research talk.
Brian Keegan is visiting us from Northeastern University to talk about his work studying a wide range of networks: from Wikipedia, to Twitter, to MMGO’s. One of his areas of research that I find most fascinating is the use of network science to understand how people react to breaking news events such as natural disasters, accidents, and crimes. For example, in one of his recent studies, he and his colleagues found that most of the Wikipedia articles about breaking news had a cohesive group of editors that “coalesced” in less than 24 hrs (compared to a year for other types articles!), and these articles attracted journalist-like Wikipedians who specialize in reporting breaking news events. Here is a plot where they showed this: 
image

Breaking news events are in red, articles about recent but non-breaking news events are in blue, and articles about historical events are in green. The x-axis is time and the y-axis is the number of articles in the giant component.

Read More

Talk Announcement: Art and Audience Participation - Mon 8/12 

By andresmh8 months ago - permalink

Tags: talks art design

UPDATE: Check out the video recording of this talk.
Next week, we have Luis Blackaller visiting us from USC and WemoLab. He will be talking about a couple three different awesome projects he has worked on at the intersection of art and social computing: 
  • The Tiny Icon Factory is a tool and gallery for the anonymous creation of black and white low resolution icons. With over 200,000 anonymous and uncensored contributions in under two years, The Tiny Icon Factory is an ongoing exploration of creative expression.
  • PictureXS was an anonymous picture aggregator. It featured an embedded tracing tool, a self-regulated censorship system, and tags. Before it was turned off in January 2011, PictureXS had collected over 30,000 pictures, 1000 drawings and 500,000 tags, reporting activity from across the world. 
  • OpenStudio (2005 to 2008) was a pioneering experiment in creativity, collaboration & commerce. Participants created and sold artwork in an online marketplace using an embedded drawing tool and virtual currency. 

image

Read More

Overcoming the Filter Bubble with User Interface Design

By communitytumblblog8 months ago - permalink
UPDATE: Check out the video recording of this talk.
image

How can we create designs that help us overcome the biases in our awareness of news? Today at Microsoft Research, Elena Agapie talked about political memes and her user interface experiments to measure user bias in what we click. These biases in behaviour sometimes get reinforced by our computer systems to form what Eli Pariser calls The Filter Bubble.

I first got to know Elena during her MS in computer science at Harvard University. Her work in the last few years has focused on:

  • user interfaces for behavior change (Harvard)
  • news and participatory media (in collaboration with the MIT Center for Civic Media)
  • news aggregation and analysis (in collaboration with the Berkman Center)
  • interactive datavisualization (currently at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab)


Read More