NewsPad Editor is now open source

By andresmh2 months ago - permalink

Tags: newspad research chi

Last year, Nate Matias, spend the summer at our lab developing and experimenting with NewsPad, a collaborative editor for neighborhood news articles. Today, together with our work-in-progress paper (to be presented at CHI 2014), we are releasing the source code of the project on GitHub under the Apache license.

NewsPad is a web app that helps communities of people collaborate on news articles, even when they don’t see themselves as writers. It helps people choose a headline, structure their article, and ask others to add material. The software, which supports real-time collaborative editing and content curation, incorporates the best ideas from Wikipedia, Storify, and online text editors. Here’s how it works:

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[Talk] Snappers and hunters in action: Mobile crowdsourcing of hyperlocal news—Tue 1/28

By andresmh3 months ago - permalink

Tags: talks research crowdsourcing locativecrowdsourcing journalism civicmedia

UPDATE: Check out the video of this talk.
Next Tuesday, we have Heli Väätäjä from Tampere University of Technology visiting our lab to present her work on cooperative news making through mobile crowdsourcing. Below is the description of her talk:
The importance of reader’s content (images, video clips, stories) is rapidly increasing in journalism as the source of news and as news content. Our research focuses on cooperative news making with the readers. The activity is facilitated by a news organization, currently Metro in the metropolitan Helsinki area in Finland.  In 2012, the studied newsroom received 35 000 reader’s photos sent by 30 000 individuals. Majority of the 4000 stories published in 2012 were based on reader’s photos that were used as tip-offs for news in the newsroom. Since 2010 we have studied both reader initiated contributions and carried out field studies with mobile task-based cooperation in which newsroom creates the tasks. We have addressed the following themes: 1) What motivates readers to participate? 2) What influences their participation when using mobile tasks? 3) How to manage the content quality with social feedback? I will address in this talk the main findings from our studies.
More about Heli
Heli Väätäjä is a Researcher and Project Manager in the Human-Centered Technology Group at the Department of Pervasive Computing, Tampere University of Technology, Finland. Her current research interests focus on mobile crowdsourcing of creative content, content creation and consumption in journalism, cooperation using mobile systems, context-awareness, and complex industrial systems. Heli has a multidisciplinary background in human-computer interaction, signal processing, measurement technology, telecommunications, as well as in applied animal behavior. She publishes actively in the fields of HCI and open innovation and is an active reviewer in the field of HCI. Heli has previously worked at Nokia Research Center as a Research Engineer (1995-2007), and as a Research Scientist at Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT, 1993-1995). She defends her doctoral thesis “Framing the user experience in mobile news making with smartphones”in March 2014. 
The lecture will be held on Tue 1/28/2014 in Microsoft Research Building 99, room 1915A.

#YoSoy132, one year after the “Mexican Spring”

By andresmh4 months ago - permalink

Tags: yosoy132 civicmedia research mexico protests social movements

Last year, Gilad Lotan and I spent some time analyzing the #YoSoy132 protests in Mexico using data from Twitter. Several articles and even books about #YoSoy132 have come out since. For example, De Mauleón wrote an excellent piece for Nexos (in Spanish) that resembled some of our own analysis.  Sadly, Gilad and I got busy and abandoned the project, but after this recent conversation, we decided to dig out our notes and post them here in the event that they might be useful for others.

The rise and fall of the “Mexican Spring” 

Exactly a year ago, in December 2012, the newly elected Mexican President Peña Nieto took office amid violent protests. As early as May 2012, a number of massive student protests against the then candidate Peña gained a lot of attention on social media, both inside and outside Mexico. The Occupy movement and the international press called these protests the Mexican Spring for its similarities with other “hashtagged” protests. In our analysis, we only focused on the first few months of the protests. Today, #YoSoy132 is only a shadow of what it was, but during the election it was able to accomplish several important victories, including the organization of an online presidential debate (broadcast on YouTube), and the introduction of the issue of media monopolies and media bias to the forefront of the political discussion.

We focused on the origin and spread of the #YoSoy132 student protests by lookign at Twitter trending topics, follower connections, and the content of the tweets. We found that despite the common assumption that the movement appeared “out of the blue,” after an incident involving a candidate’s visit to a university, we can actually trace the movement’s gestation to several months before the trigger incident. Additionally, we found that despite the attempts to link the movement to traditional political groups, i.e. a political party, the movement actually activated typically disconnected groups of people across the political and class spectrum.

Poster in support of #YoSoy132 posted on the Occupy website

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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.


Screenshot of report of a neighborhood festival

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[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, and For example, he’s been analyzing group formation around concerts advertised in and built an R package called scrapeR to collect data directly from R.


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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.


Screenshot of Whooly

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How is the Brazilian Uprising Using Twitter?

By andresmh9 months ago - permalink

Tags: research civicmedia twitter social movements

By Andrés Monroy-Hernández and Emma Spiro

More than a million Brazilians have joined protests in over 100 cities throughout Brazil in the past few weeks. Since their early beginning as a “Revolta do Busão” (Bus rebellion) to reduce bus fares, the protests now include a much larger set of issues faced by Brazilian society. Protesters are angry about corruption and inequality. They’re also frustrated about the cost of hosting the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games in light of economic disparity and lack of high quality basic services. Yesterday, as Brazil defeated Spain to win the Confederations Cup final, police clashed with protesters near Maracana stadium for the second timein two weeks.

English translation of “vem pra rua" video, via Global Voices.

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[TALK] The Wisdom of Cyborg Crowds: A Talk by Tim Hwang

By communitytumblblog9 months ago - permalink

Tags: socialbots hwang socialmedia bots pacsocial research talks

Can we augment and enhance crowd behaviour using automated systems?

Hi! I’m Nathan, a summer intern at FUSE from the MIT Media Lab where I’m a PhD student. When we’re not posting adorable Blinks and supercut video parties to, FUSE is also a research group that asks questions about the future of social experience online.  

Two weeks ago, we received a visit from Tim Hwang, who gave a talk on the role that bots may come to play in social networks.  Here’s what he shared with us (you can watch the video here).

Robot Conversations / 2008

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Welcoming FUSE Lab’s 2013 social computing interns

By andresmh10 months ago - permalink

Tags: research summer interns internship civicmedia

We are really excited to have a group of five talented graduate students working with us this summer. We explicitly looked to bring people across different disciplines and backgrounds together, from sociology, to digital fabrication, to computer science. 

This summer, Emma, Nate, Erin, Yuheng, and Ilwon will be working on projects that relate to the use and design of social technologies to support civic action and community building activities, both online and offline, digital and tangible.


Here’s a bit more about them:

Emma S. Spiro is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. She studies online communication and information-related behaviors in the context of emergencies and disaster events. Her work also explores the structure and dynamics of interpersonal and organizational networks in both online and offline environments. Emma will be joining the faculty at the University of Washington Information School this coming fall.

J. Nathan Matias is a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab. He collaborates on technology and communities which empower people to become more creative, more effective, and more informed. Coming from a background of tech and charity startups, he currently researches cooperation across diversity at the MIT Center for Civic Media. He also co-facilitates @1book140, The Atlantic’s Twitter book club. (blog) (portfolio)

Erin Smith is a current student at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, focusing on digital fabrication and physical computing. She comes from a background in construction and design for film and television and has a particular interest in sustainable, playful, design. She studied at the Yestermorrow sustainable Design/Build school and has promoted ecological awareness through Isabella Rossellini’s series “Green Porno”, and Al Gore’s “Climate Reality Project.”

Yuheng Hu is a PhD student at Arizona State University. His area of research is computational social science. More specifically, he has developed algorithms and systems to mine, analyze and make sense of large-scale, time-varying, heterogeneous social behavior as manifested via user-generated contents on the web. His current research focuses on how online social activity can be harnessed to support civic engagement. His work has appeared in scientific venues including CHI, ICWSM, AAAI, IJCAI, ICDE, and TKDE..

Ilwon Yoon is a student at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, focusing on designing social platform and mobile app and game development. He comes from a background in fine art, concentrating on storytelling with diverse mediums and the theme of his work explores how online technologies impact on the behavior of people in real life. He is currently working on designing health-related online game that interacts with self-quantified data.

Researchers: You are Invited to Play with the Research Dataset

By fuse-blog1 year ago - permalink

Tags: fuselabs fuse labs research microsoft research social networking Social media social computing

We are pleased to announce that FUSE Labs is now providing restricted access to our Dataset for researchers to explore questions around social search, interest networking, informal learning, and online community development. is an experimental website from FUSE Labs that lets people share their interests using search.  The dataset provides an anonymized snap shot of public activity within, including posts that have been shared and social activity around posts such as comments and likes.  By sharing our dataset for research purposes we actively seek to collaborate with leading academic, government, and industry researchers to advance the state of the art in social search and interest-based networking.

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