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Social Interaction

Chapter Introduction


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.

  • Illustrate how video conferencing and other social media platforms evolved especially during COVID-19

  • Explain what social presence means.

  • Give an overview of new technologies intended to facilitate collaboration and group participation.

  • Discuss how technology can augment people who are co-present.

  • Outline aspects of online social games.


People are inherently social: we live together, work together, learn together, play together, interact and talk with each other, and socialize. A diversity of technologies has 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 conferencing, 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 understandings, insights, and guidance to inform the design of social technologies that can better support and extend them. Several communication technologies are 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 technology-based conversations that now take place remotely. Finally, we touch upon why social games have become increasingly popular as a genre for social interaction.

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