Design, Influence, and Social Technologies (DIST) Workshop @ CSCW 2012 Seattle, WA -- February 2012
The explosion of research around social networks and social media highlights the ways that our actions and opinions---what we know and believe, how we behave and make decisions---are embedded in and shaped by webs of social relationships. Small individual actions that flow within networks can lead to broad systemic dynamics that fundamentally impact how societies function economically, socially, and culturally.
Social technology provides a set of affordances that makes it easier for individuals to manage this web of relationships and the information that flows through it, but designers can configure and make use of the same affordances to influence user behavior. We have a responsibility both to understand its impacts and to develop ethical guidelines for its use, as its impacts could be profound.
This workshop will engage the CSCW community in discussion about how social technology is, could be, and should (or shouldn't!) be used to influence behavior. We invite practitioners and researchers across disciplines to present and discuss techniques that are or might be used, the impacts these techniques may have at the individual and aggregate levels, and our ethical responsibilities in their application.
We seek contributions addressing the following --
* Tools + Techniques - How might tools and techniques be deployed to influence the spread of particular behaviors, information, or beliefs within social technology platforms? Contributions might cover existing or envisioned techniques, including (but not limited to): selective information targeting, the setting of defaults, filtering mechanisms, recommendation algorithms, saliency of features, motivational messaging, and attempts to reconfigure social networks.
* Impacts + Analysis -**What are the potential impacts of these techniques, both at the individual level and also within the broader ecology of multiple sociotechnical systems and at time scales that might reveal extended system dynamics? This broader perspective recognizes that neither individual behavior nor social technology exists in a vacuum, and that individual behavior change in one system may interact in complex ways with influences in other systems. We welcome new methods of study that can be used to measure behavior change and the influence of design elements across multiple levels of sociotechnical systems.
* Ethics + Power - **If a technology is designed to alter the behavior of its users, how and why are values and strategic choices manifested in system design, and how are such decisions made? How can we conceptualize control and persuasion when they are embedded in sociotechnical systems?
Can we articulate ethical guidelines regarding if, when, and how social technologies /should /manipulate users toward some beneficial end?
Suggested topics include but are not limited to: the roles of transparency, openness, accountability, and choice in system design; what it might mean for a technology to be "pro-social"; what participatory or user-centered design might look like in this context.
For submission information, click here.