CHI 08 Talk: Network in the Garden">CHI 08 Talk: Network in the Garden

Monday, April 14th, 2008

zip codes samples

I recently returned from CHI in Italy. I’m happy with how the Network talk turned out, and I’m also happy with the sense of closure that came with it. I got a few requests to post the slides, so here are the slides in PDF and on slideshare.

I received some excellent questions and comments, and I enjoyed meeting a number of people after the talk. Thanks! I wonder if the video will actually be posted in the ACM digital library this year.

Now onto new work and more deadlines…

CHI 08 Best Paper Award!">CHI 08 Best Paper Award!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

I am very pleased to announce that The Network in the Garden has been awarded best paper at CHI 2008! I’m very honored, especially because the work was a pretty big risk in the first place. I look forward to presenting the paper in Florence! Get me on Facebook or email and let’s meet up.

CHI 2008: The Network in the Garden">CHI 2008: The Network in the Garden

Friday, January 11th, 2008

corn and chicago
image courtesy of the Illinois state highway system

The Network in the Garden:
An Empirical Analysis of Social Media in Rural Life.
Proc. CHI, 2008.

History repeatedly demonstrates that rural communities have unique technological needs. Yet, we know little about how rural communities use modern technologies, so we lack knowledge on how to design for them. To address this gap, our empirical paper investigates behavioral differences between more than 3,000 rural and urban social media users. Using a dataset collected from a broadly popular social network site, we analyze users’ profiles, 340,000 online friendships and 200,000 interpersonal messages. Using social capital theory, we predict differences between rural and urban users and find strong evidence supporting our hypotheses. Namely, rural people articulate far fewer friends online, and those friends live much closer to home. Our results also indicate that the groups have substantially different gender distributions and use privacy features differently. We conclude by discussing design implications drawn from our findings; most importantly, designers should reconsider the binary friend-or-not model to allow for incremental trust-building.

Full paper as PDF

P.S. I am very happy to announce this paper—I’m especially proud of this work. And, yes, I reused the state highway sign from an earlier post. I love it!

Update (Apr 14): I just learned that danah boyd included this paper in her bibliography of research on social network sites. Thanks, danah!

RedSpace, BlueSpace

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

corn and chicago
image courtesy of the Illinois state highway system. thanks!

I recently completed a project examining differences between rural and urban MySpace users. Currently, I have a paper in submission. ssh. This is really just a placeholder for that paper once it’s published (somewhere). I took an quantitative approach, and found the following: rural users have much smaller networks much closer to home, rural users value privacy more and women represent a much greater proportion of rural users. I will write more once the paper comes out.