Chapter 5: Social Interaction
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The main goals of the chapter are to accomplish the following:
- Explain what is meant by social interaction.
- Describe the social mechanisms that people use to communicate and collaborate.
- Explain what social presence means.
- Give an overview of new technologies intended to facilitate collaboration and group
- Discuss how social media has changed how we keep in touch, make contacts, and manage
our social and working lives.
- Outline examples of new social phenomena that are a result of being able to connect
People are inherently social: we live together, work together, learn together, play together,
interact and talk with each other, and socialize. A number of technologies have been developed
specifically to enable us to persist in being social when physically apart from one another,
many of which have now become part of the fabric of society. These include the widespread
use of smartphones, video chat, social media, gaming, messaging, and telepresence. Each of
these afford different ways of supporting how people connect.
There are many ways to study what it means to be social. In this chapter, we focus on
how people communicate and collaborate face-to-face and remotely in their social, work, and everyday lives—with the goal of providing models, insights, and guidelines to inform
the design of “social” technologies that can better support and extend them. A diversity of
communication technologies is also examined that have changed the way people live—how
they keep in touch, make friends, and coordinate their social and work networks. The conversation
mechanisms that have conventionally been used in face-to-face interactions are
described and discussed in relation to how they have been adapted for the various kinds of
computer-based conversations that now take place at a distance. Examples of social phenomena
that have emerged as a result of social engagement at scale are also presented.