David Ayman Shamma- Staying together: Understanding People and Media in Synchronous Connected Systems

The things we do together spawn conversations; gathering with our friends and families to watch programs, concerts, and events, we share the experience through backchannel conversations, social asides and mutual displays of agreement and disagreement. How do these sharing of experiences in turn shape how we understand the actual event? This talk presents real-world applications designed to facilitate synchronous conversations while sharing media. First, I will examine how people use status updates, such as on Twitter, while they watch live events on TV. By accounting for temporal and conversational features, one can use tweets to segment a long political debate into logical questions. I will also describe new methods for retrieving conversationally salient, not document salient, terms. Second, I will present Zync, a system for synchronized video sharing over instant messaging; in effect this is conversational video on demand. From observing how a YouTube video is shared within a conversation, we develop methods for media segmentation and summarization. Finally, I will show how using implicit conversational data can outperform explicit annotations in automated classification tasks for online videos. Throughout the talk, I will discuss how these examples extend online infrastructures to build highly connected experiences.