Karrie Karahalios- From Turn-taking to Social Ties

Online communities have been studied from various perspectives since the 1980's. Much of this work has taken existing sociology techniques and molded them to fit a specific electronic environment such as IRC, Usenet, Facebook, LastFM, etc. The existence of digital traces of online interaction has made this research possible at a large scale. In this talk, I begin by discussing a brief history of the study of online interaction and the cues used by researchers to formulate their research. I continue describing how the study of online social spaces has changed through the lens of the work done in our Social Spaces Group. I argue that digital traces can be misleading and new techniques and interfaces are necessary to improve and study social online interaction. This discussion includes work highlighting the differences between interaction between rural and urban areas, tie strength from social network software, and implications of this work. Finally, I conclude by highlighting how online social interaction is diverging from face-to-face interaction and the importance of new methodologies and interfaces for studying this change.