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here you may read : Design Process

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Design Research

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Semantic Design

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Case Studies


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The design process ‘The design process is the specific series of events, actions or methods by which a procedure or set of procedures are followed, in order to achieve an intended purpose, goal or outcome.’ Best (2006). The design process consists of a series of activities and methods which are pulled together in a way which meets the requirements of a problem or project. Though there are similarities which can be seen across various case studies referenced by academics and practitioners (Clarkson and Eckert (2004), there are in fact many different design processes which vary depending on the size, scale and nature of the problem. “Design processes are difficult to standardise, in part because of their iterative, non-linear nature, and also because the needs of clients and users are so different. In addition, real life, with its changing market conditions and customer preferences, is much more dynamic chaotic and fuzzy than any standard model can fully accommodate and often, stages of the design process overlap.” (Best 2006) Literature on the design process is vast, yet mostly inconclusive. Debate is typically based around the activity of defining, developing and monitoring a process for design and is largely concerned with its management and influence on business performance. Case studies are often used to illustrate the process, demonstrating its clear relevance to business practice. Clarkson and Eckert (2004) have written extensively on the topic of design process and have generated a comprehensive review of current practice and methodologies.

This same process of change and evolution applies to the development of design process. To use just one example of how design process emerged, Adrian Forty cites Wedgwood in describing how the development of technology separated the designer from the production process. Production activities were stretched and divided into distinct areas, or processes. “The operation of designing thus became not just separate but also geographically removed from the manufacture of the pots.” Forty. This shift, and division of tasks, naturally resulted in an increased level of productivity. But while speeding up the Wedgwood’s development process created an opportunity to increase supply, it also brought to light the problems of ensuring quality, consistency and timely production. Furthermore, an excessive choice of products that could be produced, many of which used different manufacturing techniques, resulted in a considerable expense for Wedgwood. This resulted in an eventual downturn in profits. A decision was therefore made to limit consumer choice and a standard number of product types were produced with a selection of designs. From Wedgwood we learnt that it was coordinating the different aspects of the new process which arose as one of the greatest challenges of mass production.

This is just one of many examples of how design process emerged. This has clear connections to Bauhaus theories in which form follows function, which was adopted by industrial design. Also, Victor Papanek’s powerful views about the value and impor“Despite the extensive research undertaken since tance of design endorsed the systematic approach the 1950s, there is no single model which is agreed of process. to provide a satisfactory description of the design ’In this age of mass production when everything process.” Clarkson and Eckert. must be planned and designed, design has become the most powerful tool with which man shapes his tools and environments (and by extension, society Historical perspectives and himself )’. Papanek. The history of design is one of constant evolution. Originally from craft roots, it developed through the division of labour created by mechanisation, which gave birth to the role of the industrial designer. Its development as a subject, process, activity and business tool has been heavily documented and debated in recent years, and case histories demonstrate the changing role of design in a business context.

Papanek also references the Bauhaus hailing its success as “...the first school to consider design a vital part of the production process.” So, with its origin in crafts, the design process sprung from an early movement to define not just products, but also the way in which they were produced. Since then, the design process has been applied to a varied number of scenarios, such


as science, engineering and manufacturing. However, design itself has progressed and its scope has broadened to include disciplines such as interaction, experience and service design. Before developing our conclusions on how this affects the design process benchmarking study, some detailed examples of the design processes will follow.

Archer defined design as employing a combination of the intuitive and the cognitive, and therefore attempted to turn the design process into a science by formalising a creative process. Archer was thereby also trying to formalise the intuitiveness of design and the designer, and place their creativity into the context of the production process, including its external influencers. With the emergence of design methods came the Design process methods mapping of the design process, generating models, The exploration of the design process began to be formulae and diagrams that aimed to illustrate best taken seriously in the work of the Bauhaus in the practice. In the early days of formalising the design early 20th century, where attitudes to design were process (the 1960s), it often took on a linear format radically changed, specifically in industrial design. and featured a series of arrows and boxes, such as the one below by Brian Lawson.vii The design proThe new approach revolutionised many success ful companies and their products as they began to cess began to take on a tangible format and stanre-establish themselves on the basis of Bauhaus dard phases such as analysis, evaluation and synthesis were associated with the practice of design theories for the first time. These models themselves tell us a great deal about the design process. They reflect a moment in time

Fig.2 Brian Lawson

Fig. 1 Bruce Archer Many academics and practitioners have in the past tried to find common paths for the design process. Bruce Archer played a key role in the design methods movement and was instrumental in developing the discipline of design research. Bruce Archer published his model of the design process in 1963 as part of a series of articles for Design magazine (Figure 1). Essentially, the model broke the design process down into key stages. It was recognised that the sometimes overwhelming weight of design considerations was taking a toll on the flow of creativity, and a design methods ‘movement’ attempted to make sense of the growing complexity of the situation (Archer). Archer wrote Systematic method for designers in the 1960s, compiled from the papers he had published.

and exist to be lived by and improved upon. Design had stepped into the genre of science. Models of the design process took on their own form and the linear format of Archer and Lawson proved to be the most widely adopted. The linear format remained a consistent feature, with a number of different iterations shared among researchers. However, over the last forty years, business has actively sought to adopt a methodology that acknowledges other competing factors within businesses. The linear format was criticised for suggesting that a problem could be solved in one go, so revised models that incorporated loops and iterative phases taking wider design and business activities into account were developed. These models allowed time to evaluate and test ideas, and also enabled the designer to consider a number of different ideas at one time.


The core-based model by Stuart Pugh (left image in Figure 3) suggests a process of iteration, testing and evaluation.viii Pugh referred to a ‘design core’ which consists of activities which he claimed were imperative for any design activity ‘irrespective of domain’. Figure 3 (right image) is an example of one of these iterative loops that could take place at each of the stages of the core-based model. Furthermore, around the core-based model, there would be a plethora of other impacting business and design activities present.

of social science, marketing and branding. For example, Peter Dormer noted that ‘design was seen to have two separate but related functions: it could be used strategically by corporations to help plan its manufacturing and shape its marketing, and it had a more obvious role in making individual products attractive to consumers.’ix One key result of this was the increased awareness of the user, and indeed user participation. How and when users are included in the design of products and services is one of the most critical lessons learned.

As such, the core-based model identified different aspects of the process and the stages involved. Models such as this one were used to understand situations, users and activities undertaken and proved very helpful with more complex problems, such as in engineering.

Equally, another development is the recognition of the specific role that the designer plays within the design process. Cooper and Press (1994) recognise the difference between the process used by the individual designer and the design skills they use to solve a problem, and the design process as the strategic planning of product development (Figure 4). Their model demonstrates the design process as it occurs from the individual’s perspective, and describes their thought process as they address a problem. This is often personal and based on education and experience.

Fig. 3 Stuart Pugh Pugh focused on a concept called total design which he believes incorporates everything from the early identification of market and user need through to the selling of a product that meets that need. One of the key outcomes of the development and formalising of the design process was the emergence of user participation. Given that the role of the designer had become more widely acknowledged, it grew and stretched, crossing boundaries

In contrast, on a corporate level the process has a much broader scope and incorporates external factors such as finance, marketing and tangible measurable aspects of business. Walker’s model (Figure 5) refers to the external productive process of design because it reflects two key activities, namely planning and production. Consequently, this model succeeds in reflecting a combination of the corporate design process, and the individual

Fig. 4 Cooper & Press


designer’s process. This more structured methodology and process to design activities can help to anticipate problems and manage risk.

Fig. 6 Nigel Cross

Design process as best practice? Fig. 5 Walker

The design process of today

There is already extensive material published on the best practice of design process. One of the most recent and comprehensive reviews of design process improvement is by Clarkson and Eckert. xiii Clarkson and Eckert believe that there is a central core of generic stages that constitute a commonality between design processes. However, these commonalities are modified and adapted to reflect the problem or user need. These constraints and drivers that influence the direction of the design process give the process its project-specific characteristics (Figure 7).

As research has progressed our awareness of design as a process has increased. The level of complexity that occurs within the process is accentuated by factors such as technology, sustainability, social responsibility, legislation and so on. It would seem that as social and cultural boundaries continue to blur so too do the borders of design as a discipline. The boxes have become permeable and the paramClarkson and Eckert acknowledge that although eters pushed. companies are confronted by similar challenges The design process of today is less scientific. It is and constraints they often deal with them difadapted to meet changing business requirements. ferently. The product has a major impact on the Our world is evolving so quickly that there may nev- process as does the type, nature and position of er be an ideal methodology or process. What mat- design within the company. ters therefore is that a flexible infrastructure is in place with the foresight and intelligence to respond Best (2006) agrees that although there is no single quickly and appropriately to creative change. An ex- best practice design process, there are core activiample of this is Nigel Cross’s model below (Figure 6). ties which can be adapted to fit a particular project In Engineering Design Methods, Cross investigated or situation. Best contends that while there may and presented theories of how design and engi- be standardised processes that are adopted to solve design problems, this standardised process is neering could work in partnership. necessarily adapted to the situation or problem at hand. She describes this as:


_ ‘Standardised processes that have a defined set of project steps, a timeframe and a known or expected outcome. _ Customised processes that are more detailed processes adapted from standardised models to suit a particular problem or project’xiv In order for a company to make amendments and improvements it needs to understand its own context and define what influences its methods of approach and design process. To understand a design process well, the business also needs to understand its constraints. The external or internal pressures, challenges and connections on each stage of the design process (such as budget, technology, legislation, etc.) should be understood. Clarifying the influence each has on the other will also help to create a concise picture. The general consensus is that there is no set best practice in design process. However, there is agreement that there are some commonalities across processes used.

Fig. 7 Clarkson & Eckert


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Design Resear


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Design Itself


Design Research As a young linguistics student I would first like to clear what design and research mean in context to this project . Design has many definitions; Charles Eames refers to it as ‘ a plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a a particular purpose “ At the same time Serges Gagnon infers that “design is the cultural appropriation of of technology” . However a complete and self sufficient definition of DESIGN is difficult to conjure., as no single definition could possibly account for the diversity of inputs and outputs of contemporary design practices.

wherein emotions and feelings are allowed their own intelligence. For e.g. today the information or data about EVERYTHING explodes in a frenzy of rhizomatic connectivity, so now the very search for what to research becomes its own research issue. The research model becomes a design problem that can also function as its own solution.

Design Methodologies Design methodologies are the ways in which the design research is pursued. They can be individual or performed in groups but the core of any methodology is “why, and for whom?”

Research alone as a noun would take us to the study and analysis of materials , sources& ideologies in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Though this is only the tip of the iceberg when the word design is combined with it.

Design methodologies have to be selected very carefully if one has to achieve concrete results. You can either follow quantitative or qualitative methodologies. While can be equally good they can be a great waste of time and money if used for the wrong things.

There have been numerous attempts at defining what design research is and how to classify its methodologies right from the Bauhaus movement to the last time an expert spoke on it. I tend to like what Frayling identifies as three key modes of design research;

Here I would like to concentrate on qualitative research methodologies so that we can study this area in a greater level of detail. The subtypes of methodologies can be put as

Research into design Research through design Research for design Research into design is the traditional historical and aesthetic studies of art and design. Research through design is project based and includes materials and development . Research for design is the hardest to characterize as its purpose is to create objects and systems that display the results of the research and then prove its worth . Also we need new categories of design research because of the impact of digital technologies on the design discipline over the past 30 years. The computer democratized the access to the tools of the professional designer and has since brought about an amazing efflorescence of new styles. Another way of putting design research is to think about it as research. Design as research uses its own media to perform the investigations. Design as research is a rational practice, but it is one

Experimental Speculative Experiential Performative Discovery – led Procedural And many others ...

Focus groups Traditional focus groups are one of the oldest forms of qualitative methods where one tries to gain information from what the user has to say. Mostly a focus group is a gathering of about 10-12 people/ customers who are led in a tightly scripted discussion by a trained moderator usually for about 2 hours. Originally used for any topic or purpose they are now recommended primarily when you need to


generate ideas or and expand understanding with out needing to reach consensus.

e.

Triads

a.

f.

Party group

Three people who are either similar to each other, or are different in a special way are interviewed by Focus groups are a bad choice where your subject is a moderator following an outline or lightly scripted sensitive or where the responses are related to per- guide. sonal or professional status. Triads provide a lot more depth than a 1-on-1 interview. Take for example professionals from compaFocus groups also tend to have led to several spin- nies varying in size. Then the answers they provide offs which each have their own strengths and weak- can be seen in comparison, leading to a number of nesses, some of them are findings usually difficult o find through 1-on-1’s.

Mini focus groups

A slightly smaller group of people, around 6-8 consumers or fewer who are led in a tightly scripted discussion by a trained moderator. Mini focus groups are to be treated in more or les the same way as a normal focus groups. The main difference is that you can go for deeper conversations because of the increase time period available per consumer.

b.

1-on -1 interviews

One person interviewed by a researcher following either a lightly scripted guide or a loose outline. The interviews can last anything between 20 minutes to about an hour. 1 on 1 interview is ideal for learning exactly how a person feels without the influence of others

c.

Dyads

Dyads are two friends interviewed by a researcher following an outline or a lightly scripted guide, usually for at least one hour. Dyads or friendship pairs as they are sometimes called are a powerful tool to explore issues that are difficult for people to articulate or for interviewing people who are not comfortable participating in research. For that reason, dyad interviews are frequently used with children and teens.

d.

Super Groups.

A group of people who are all known to each other gather together at someones home and spend 2-3 hours conversing with each other and the moderator on a chosen topic . Usually the clients are also invited so that they get a live demo of what people are thinking. Party groups are suited to singular topics that benefit from deep, thoughtful and candid discussions.

g.

Online discussion groups

These take more or less the same rules as normal versions but are based online on a portal. The advantages are that the number of people participating has virtually no limit as also the time period. It can last for anything between a week to several months.

Ethnography While focus groups were spawning a new range of offspring, other quantitative methods began showing up and gaining credence .Thanks to influence from social scientists, the term “ethnography” started popping up in design discussionsin late 1980’s. Just exactly what is ethnography? I would sum it up as the researchapproach that produces a detailed, beliefs and preferencesby observing them and interacting with them in a natural environment. These to are found in many avatars:

50-100 people are gathered in a large auditorium to view ideas, products designs or other exhibits presented on a large screen. One or two moderators lead the group from the stage. Usually respondents are given devices that allow them to respond/ rate the things they are shown. Occasionally a seField ethnography lected number of people from these are drawn into a. breakout sessions for further insight into particular A person ar group of people are observed by a researcher while they go about their normal lives. thought groups. The duration of these observation can range from 1 hour to several days or week. Field ethnographies are ideal in early exploratory stages when a-


Film needs to learn more about the people for whom they are designing.

b.

Digital ethnography

This is a more recent variation on traditional ethnography ,using digital tools to speed up the process without compromising on the quality of the work.. It typically follows a similar approach observing people as they go about their lives , but uses digital cameras, pda’s, laptops, virtual collaborations sites or other technology to record, transmit, edit and present the information.

Ethnography & design Many people identify the work done at xerox parc and other research labs in early 1980’s as the first use of ethnography in design. While it is true that a number of anthropologists were hired by xerox and carried out pioneering ethnographic research, it is important to identify important a few precursors to xerox parc’s integration of social science and design.

Broadly speaking, the antecedents to socially oriented design can be traced back to early futurism, constructirism and the bahaus school. Later, gerc. Photo ethnography A person is given a camera (still or video or digital many’s hochschule fiir gerstaltung (hfg) ulm, and ) and asked to capture images of his / her life and the swiss kunstgenerbeschule, basel also produced describe then with accompnaying notes. The im- influential, socially /scientifically based design ages are then returned to the researcher who then reviews them and learns from both the visuals and The introduction of social science theory and ethnonotes. This approach is highly useful when the pres- graphic methods into the fields of human computer ence of an ethnographer will drastically of an the interaction and computer supported co-operative work represents a modest highpoint in transdiscipeople’s behaviour. plinary work(much of it at xerox parc). However in general the use of sociological and anthropologid. Ethnofuturism cal literature has unfolded in extremely selective This is a very young but rapidly growing variation ways. Initially, engineers and computer scientists, as that marries digital ethnography focused on daily opposed to social scientists working in a research activities and smaller details of cultural signifi- and development setting, borrowed from sociology cance with a future perspective that look at major and anthropology in course of developing cscw, trends inflencing and changing culture as a whole . gui’s and tangible computing. Social scientists howIts most conductive for technological products that ever, were soon drawn into service. The use of socall for understanding of both the individual users cial science method and theory in this computer perspective and the “big picture” and networking based context was often aimed at preagmatically trying to improved these now coe. Etnography enactments modified tools. The methods and theory used have First popularised by mtv in their real world series, largely been deracinated of considerations of phethe approach builds an environment for people and nomena like social inequality, gender, class, and, then monitors them within it. Its been used for sev- more generally power relations. Historically product eral technology companies hoping to understand and graphic design have found a similarily narrow how people’s life change when their homes become path and used a few research tools imported from filled with new digital appliances and distributed or applied by social science practisioners. computing. While it is true that ethnographic research results in better products and systems, it is not enough to proPERSONAS These are actually scenarios ar profiles created to in- duce better systems and products in a conventional spire and guide design. They are typically visual and sense. For designers and social scientists the questextual descriptions, but ideally, they are the results tion should become: how can we design artifacts of studying real people. This approach was heavily so that they radiate freedom necessary to enhance used by the advertisers in 1980’s and 90’s. Personas the self-invention that de certeau observe? Can the are less effective if the audience is diverse by- defi- cross-pollination between these proffesions move nation personas are narrow descriptions best suited towards the introduction of emancipatory content into designed artifacts? Can this direction comport to homogeneous markets or niche audience. with the business imperatives inherent in the


production of goods And development of services. I for populations which have little in common with think the answer is yes, but the questions are daunt- the designers. ingly complex and solutions will only come through sustained hard work. Informance can take many different forms. Different forms are practical in different business situations. Eric dishman describes the most elaborate form “performance for an audience “. The great advantage Informance : Role in Design of performance for an audience is that a great number of people can be brought into the research and design process; for example engineers who may be Design researchers must go beyond what they can remote from the research process can be included find; to see more than what is visible, and to learn in the audience and bring new insights and engimore than what can be heard. Accordingly design neering components that improve the design. research is an act of imagination, just as much as design itself. Informance can be a part of the daily life of design teams, and at its most casual level it already The metaphor of consumers as tribes of culturally is. Team discussions with improvised examples are unknown people has influenced much of the dean elementary form of Informance. As researchers sign today. Hence ethnographic field methods and and designers discuss their potential consumers, other techniques provide disciplined approaches some people will no doubt exemplify their ideas for research. The goal of ethnography is to underwith comments about what consumer Jane might stand is to understand what is foreign to ones own think, even mimic what Jane might say about a deworld view. sign feature. This pretense should be encouraged in the team discussions. As team members bring rigor Some have used the expression “empathetic design” to their characterizations of consumers they have to express a more ambitious goal of seeing a situastudied, they can bring consumers voices into the tion internally; that is, as potential customers would meetings which are quite a useful thing. see it. The goal of “Informance“and its cousins design improvisation and performance ethnography goes beyond understanding consumers culture or even having an inside understanding of consumers. The goal is to create, through performance characters which can speak about their world, express opinions about product features, answer questions about design possibilities and even design products. Informance is a set of techniques in which actors and/or researchers study what is known about the consumers and role-play potential consumers. Informance subsumes both ethnography and empathy. It begins with ethnographic study and researchers move on to interpreting their data through empathy: seeing situations, uses and elements as the studied consumers would see them. The next step is Informance itself: acts of pretending which transform empathy to action.

Finding, the void. Sun Tzu observed that direct assault on fortified cities was the most costly and dangerous strategy. It is more effective to appear when one is not expected (Sun Tzu 1971). What is the corresponding maneuver in research in design? It is to find the “void”- the unpopulated area where nothing yet exists

This observation sets a meta- requirement for strategic thinking-; to find the void. I broach this in a structuralist manner, describing the essential qualities of an existing design space, technology or user experience and then imagining inverting a small number of its specific qualities. In a way, this is akin to the deconstructionist creation of the “other “by knowing the “self’. For example consider a conversation between two people. In days ancient and now forgotten conversations were all face to face. The Two situations especially call for Informance. Design opposite (inversion) of this is to have bodies sepafor entirely new categories of products because it rated in space. Lets think of describing this structuris particularly difficult for people to imagine. Infor- ally as a number line, comma with face to face at the left end (at zero), a shouted conversation across a mance is also useful with products canyon a little to right (at 0.3) and a telephone


conversation at the far right (at 1). We now have three points along an axis. One could imagine building something to populate the unoccupied point (at 0.6) perhaps a super mega-phone? We can imagine a new axis, at right angle (y axis) to the first (x axis or space), and for this new axis”time”. What would excursions along it be like? Well face to face is at the origin and the recording is at the top of the y axis , we now have a Cartesian grid, with type recorders at (0.1) , face to conversations at (0,0) and telephony at (1,0). And there is a void – an unoccupied locus, on the grid at (1,1). Clearly its “nature“would be a recorded conversation between two people far apart in space and separated in time. In other words Voicemail ! Can we add a third axis? Perhaps that of other media types? This rapidly takes us into what is now the domain of instant messaging services, which are all populating new loci in “conversation space”. Perhaps we can even add a forth axis: the number of people involved. Notice that many of the loci, exposed by such a structuralist analysis are dependant on having technologies to create capabilities to support their intent. Often such capabilities are logistical in nature as in the telephone network – but they can be repurposed to support a new intent revealed as part of a structuralist design process just as the telephone network was repurposed to be used by the first computer modems to transport digital data over analog voice lines by the strategic air command’s SAGE network in the 1950’s. Cleverly repurposing existing logistics in an important heuristic for design. But sometimes there is no way to crease a capability that can populate the void; we call this “Unobtainium” None the less, we now have a powerful analytic tool for design. We describe experiences and affordances creating a Cartesian multispace, and note where existing things cluster. Then we observe where the unpopulated loci are and describe their nature in terms of the experience and affordances. Then we analyze the technology needed to support their existence and proceed to actual engineering.

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Se Sem Se Sem an ant an anti ne nes ne ness


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Semantic publishing will benefit greatly from the semantic web. In particular, the semantic web is exThe Semantic Web pected to revolutionize scientific publishing, such The Semantic Web is an evolving extension of the as real-time publishing and sharing of experimental World Wide Web in which the semantics of informa- data on the Internet. This simple but radical idea tion and services on the web is defined, making it is now being explored by W3C HCLS group’s Scienpossible for the web to understand and satisfy the tific Publishing Task Force (http://esw.w3.org/topic requests of people and machines to use the web /HCLS/ScientificPublishingTaskForce) . content. It derives from World Wide Web Consortium director Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the Web Tim Berners-Lee has described the semantic web as a component of Web 3.0. as a universal medium for data, information, and knowledge exchange. At its core, the semantic web comprises a set of design principles, collaborative working groups, and a variety of enabling technologies. Some elements of the semantic web are ex- Relationship to the hypertext web pressed as prospective future possibilities that are yet to be implemented or realized. Other elements Limitations of HTML of the semantic web are expressed in formal specifications.[5] Some of these include Resource De- Many files on a typical computer can be loosely scription Framework (RDF), a variety of data inter- divided into documents and data. Documents like change formats (e.g. RDF/XML, N3, Turtle, N-Triples), mail messages, reports, and brochures are read by and notations such as RDF Schema (RDFS) and the humans. Data, like calendars, addressbooks, playWeb Ontology Language (OWL), all of which are in- lists, and spreadsheets are presented using an aptended to provide a formal description of concepts, plication program which lets them be viewed, terms, and relationships within a given knowledge searched and combined in many ways. domain. Currently, the World Wide Web is based mainly on documents written in Hypertext Markup Language Purpose (HTML), a markup convention that is used for codHumans are capable of using the Web to carry out ing a body of text interspersed with multimedia obtasks such as finding the Finnish word for “monkey”, jects such as images and interactive forms. reserving a library book, and searching for a low Metadata tags, for example price on a DVD. However, a computer cannot accomplish the same tasks without human direction <meta name=”keywords” content=”computing, because web pages are designed to be read by peo- computer studies, computer”> ple, not machines. The semantic web is a vision of <meta name=”description” content=”Cheap widinformation that is understandable by computers, gets for sale”> so that they can perform more of the tedious work <meta name=”author” content=”Billy Bob McThreeinvolved in finding, sharing and combining infor- teeth”> mation on the web. Tim Berners-Lee originally exprovide a method by which computers can categorpressed the vision of the semantic web as follows: ise the content of web pages. With HTML and a tool to render it (perhaps web browser software, perhaps I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] be- another user agent), one can create and present a come capable of analyzing all the data on the Web page that lists items for sale. The HTML of this catalog – the content, links, and transactions between peo- page can make simple, document-level assertions ple and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should such as “this document’s title is ‘Widget Superstore’”. make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it But there is no capability within the HTML itself to does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureau- assert unambiguously that, for example, item numcracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines ber X586172 is an Acme Gizmo with a retail price of talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people €199, or that it is a consumer product. Rather, HTML can only say that the span of text “X586172” is somehave touted for ages will finally materialize. thing that should be positioned near – Tim Berners-Lee, 1999


“Acme Gizmo” is a kind of title or that “€ 199” is a price.

Encoding similar information in a semantic web page might look like this:

There is also no way to express that these pieces of information are bound together in describing a discrete item, distinct from other items perhaps listed on the page. Semantic HTML refers to the traditional HTML practice of markup following intention, rather than specifying layout details directly. For example, the use of <em> denoting “emphasis” rather than <i>, which specifies italics. Layout details are left up to the browser, in combination with Cascading Style Sheets. But this practice falls short of specifying the semantics of objects such as items for sale or prices. Microformats represent unofficial attempts to extend HTML syntax to create machine-readable semantic markup about objects such as retail stores and items for sale.

<item rdf:about=”http://dbpedia.org/ resource/Cat”>Cat</item>

Relationship to object oriented programming

A number of authors highlight the similarities which the Semantic Web shares with object-oriented programming (OOP). Both the semantic web and object-oriented programming have classes with attributes and the concept of instances or objects. Linked Data uses Dereferenceable Uniform Resource Identifiers in a manner similar to the common programming concept of pointers or “object identifiers” in OOP. Dereferenceable URIs can thus be used to access “data by reference”. The Unified ModSemantic Web solutions eling Language is designed to communicate about object-oriented systems, and can thus be used for The Semantic Web takes the solution further. It both object-oriented programming and semantic involves publishing in languages specifically de- web development. signed for data: Resource Description Framework (RDF), Web Ontology Language (OWL), and Extensi- When the web was first being created in the late ble Markup Language (XML). HTML describes docu- 1980s and early 1990s, it was done using objectments and the links between them. RDF, OWL, and oriented programming languages such as ObjecXML, by contrast, can describe arbitrary things such tive-C, Smalltalk and CORBA. In the mid-1990s this as people, meetings, or airplane parts. Tim Berners- development practise was furthered with the anLee calls the resulting network of Linked Data the nouncement of the Enterprise Objects Framework, Giant Global Graph, in contrast to the HTML-based Portable Distributed Objects and WebObjects all by World Wide Web. NeXT, in addition to the Component Object Model released by Microsoft. XML was then released These technologies are combined in order to pro- in 1998, and RDF a year after in 1999. Similarity to vide descriptions that supplement or replace the object oriented programming also came from two content of Web documents. Thus, content may other routes: the first was the development of the manifest as descriptive data stored in Web-accessi- very knowledge-centric “Hyperdocument” systems ble databases, or as markup within documents by Douglas Engelbart [10], and the second comes (particularly, in Extensible HTML (XHTML) inter- from the usage and development of the Hypertext spersed with XML, or, more often, purely in XML, Transfer Protocol. with layout/rendering cues stored separately). The machine-readable descriptions enable content managers to add meaning to the content, i.e. to Skeptical reactions describe the structure of the knowledge we have about that content. In this way, a machine can process knowledge itself, instead of text, using process- Practical feasibility es similar to human deductive reasoning and inference, thereby obtaining more meaningful results Critics question the basic feasibility of a complete or and facilitating automated information gathering even partial fulfillment of the semantic web. Some and research by computers. An example of a tag develop their critique from the perspective of huthat would be used in a non-semantic web page: man behavior (see e.g., metacrap). Other commentators object that there are limitations that stem <item>cat</item> from the current state of software engineering


itself (see e.g., Leaky abstraction).

Components

Where semantic web technologies have found a greater degree of practical adoption, it has tended to be among core specialized communities and organizations for intra-company projects. The practical constraints toward adoption have appeared less challenging where domain and scope is more limited than that of the general public and the World-Wide Web.

The semantic web comprises the standards and tools of XML, XML Schema, RDF, RDF Schema and OWL that are organized in the Semantic Web Stack. The OWL Web Ontology Language Overview (http:// www.w3.org/TR/owlfeatures/) describes the function and relationship of each of these components of the semantic web:

An unrealized idea

XML provides an elemental syntax for content structure within documents, yet associates no The original 2001 Scientific American article by semantics with the meaning of the content conBerners-Lee described an expected evolution of the tained within. existing Web to a Semantic Web. Such an evolution has yet to occur. Indeed, a more recent article from XML Schema is a language for providing and Berners-Lee and colleagues stated that: “This simple restricting the structure and content of elements idea, however, remains largely unrealized.” contained within XML documents. RDF is a simple language for expressing data models, which refer to objects (“resources”) and their Another criticism of the semantic web is that it would relationships. An RDF-based model can be be much more time-consuming to create and publish represented in XML syntax. content because there would need to be two formats for one piece of data: one for human viewing and one RDF Schema is a vocabulary for describing properfor machines. However, many web applications in ties and classes of RDF-based resources, with sedevelopment are addressing this issue by creating a mantics for generalized-hierarchies of such propermachine-readable format upon the publishing of data ties and classes. or the request of a machine for such data. The development of microformats has been one reaction to this OWL adds more vocabulary for describing properkind of criticism. Specifications such as eRDF and ties and classes: among others, relations between RDFa allow arbitrary RDF data to be embedded in classes (e.g. disjointness), cardinality (e.g. “exactly HTML pages. The GRDDL (Gleaning Resource De- one”), equality, richer typing of properties, characscriptions from Dialects of Language) mechanism al- teristics of properties (e.g. symmetry), and enumerlows existing material (including microformats) to be ated classes. automatically interpreted as RDF, so publishers only SPARQL is a protocol and query language for seneed to use a single format, such as HTML. mantic web data sources.

Doubling output formats

Need The idea of a ‘semantic web’ necessarily coming from some marking code other than simple HTML is built on the assumption that it is not possible for a machine to appropriately interpret code based on nothing but the order relationships of letters and words. If this is not true, then it may be possible to build a ‘semantic web’ on HTML alone, making a specially built ‘semantic web’ coding system unnecessary. There are latent dynamic network models that can, under certain conditions, be ‘trained’ to appropriately ‘learn’ meaning based on order data, in the process ‘learning’ relationships with order (a kind of rudimentary working grammar). See for example latent semantic analysis.

Current ongoing standardizations include: Rule Interchange Format (RIF) as the Rule Layer of the Semantic Web Stack The intent is to enhance the usability and usefulness of the Web and its interconnected resources through: Servers which expose existing data systems using the RDF and SPARQL standards. Many converters to RDF (http://esw.w3.org/topic/ConverterToRdf) exist from different applications. Relational databases are an important source. The semantic web server attaches to the existing system without affecting its


Documents “marked up” with semantic information (an extension of the HTML <meta> tags used in today’s Web pages to supply information for Web search engines using web crawlers). This could be machine-understandable information about the human-understandable content of the document (such as the creator, title, description, etc., of the document) or it could be purely metadata representing a set of facts (such as resources and services elsewhere in the site). (Note that anything that can be identified with a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) can be described, so the semantic web can reason about animals, people, places, ideas, etc.)

Semantic markup is often generated automatically, rather than manually. Common metadata vocabularies (ontologies) and maps between vocabularies that allow document creators to know how to mark up their documents so that agents can use the information in the supplied metadata (so that Author in the sense of ‘the Author of the page’ won’t be confused with Author in the sense of a book that is the subject of a book review). Automated agents to perform tasks for users of the


semantic web using this data.

foundationalism in philosophy, debates over the Cyc project in AI). Differences between the two are Web-based services (often with agents of their largely matters of focus. Philosophers are less conown) to supply information specifically to agents cerned with establishing fixed, controlled vocabular(for example, a Trust service that an agent could ask ies than are researchers in computer science, while if some online store has a history of poor service or computer scientists are less involved in discussions spamming).Lets now look at the building blocks of first principles (such as debating whether there starting with ontology. are such things as fixed essences, or whether entities must be ontologically more primary than processes). Ontology In ontology in computer science and information science is a formal representation of a set of concepts within a domain and the relationships between those concepts. It is used to reason about the properties of that domain, and may be used to define the domain.

History

Historically, ontologies arise out of the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, which deals with the nature of reality – of what exists. This fundamental branch is concerned with analyzing various types or modes of existence, often with special attention In theory an ontology is a “formal, explicit specifi- to the relations between particulars and universals, cation of a shared conceptualisation”. An ontology between intrinsic and extrinsic properties, and beprovide a shared vocabulary, which can be used to tween essence and existence. The traditional goal model a domain, that is, the type of objects and/or of ontological inquiry in particular is to divide the concepts that exist, and their properties and rela- world “at its joints”, to discover those fundamental tions. categories, or kinds, into which the world’s objects naturally fall. Ontologies are used in artificial intelligence, the Semantic Web, software engineering, biomedical in- During the second half of the 20th century, philosoformatics, library science, and information architec- phers extensively debated the possible methods or ture as a form of knowledge representation about approaches to building ontologies, without actually the world or some part of it. building any very elaborate ontologies themselves. By contrast, computer scientists were building some Overview large and robust ontologies (such as WordNet and Cyc) with comparatively little debate over how they The term ontology has its origin in philosophy, and were built. Since the mid-1970s, researchers in the has been applied in many different ways. The core field of artificial intelligence have recognized that meaning within computer science is a model for capturing knowledge is the key to building large describing the world that consists of a set of types, and powerful AI systems. AI researchers argued that properties, and relationship types. Exactly what is they could create new ontologies as computational provided around this varies, but this is the essentials models that enable certain kinds of automated reaof an ontology. There is also generally an expecta- soning. In the 1980s, the AI community began to tion that there be a close resemblance between the use the term ontology to refer to both a theory of real world and the features of the model in an ontol- a modeled world and a component of knowledge ogy. systems. Some researchers, drawing inspiration from philosophical ontologies, viewed computaWhat ontology has in common in both computer tional ontology as a kind of applied philosophy. science and in philosophy is the representation of entities, ideas, and events, along with their proper- In the early 1990s, the widely cited Web page and ties and relations, according to a system of catego- paper “Toward Principles for the Design of Ontolories. In both fields, one finds considerable work on gies Used for Knowledge Sharing” by Tom Gruber[7] problems of ontological relativity (e.g., Quine and is credited with a deliberate definition of ontology Kripke in philosophy, Sowa and Guarino in com- as a technical term in computer science. Gruber inputer science) and debates concerning whether a troduced the term to mean a specification of a connormative ontology is viable (e.g., debates over ceptualization. That is, an ontology is a description


like a formal specification of a program, of the concepts and relationships that can exist for an agent or a community of agents. This definition is consistent with the usage of ontology as set of concept definitions, but more general. And it is a different sense of the word than its use in philosophy.

Relations: ways in which classes and individuals can be related to one another

Ontologies are often equated with taxonomic hierarchies of classes, class definitions, and the subsumption relation, but ontologies need not be limited to these forms. Ontologies are also not limited to conservative definitions – that is, definitions in the traditional logic sense that only introduce terminology and do not add any knowledge about the world. To specify a conceptualization, one needs to state axioms that do constrain the possible interpretations for the defined terms.

Restrictions: formally stated descriptions of what must be true in order for some assertion to be acceptedas input

Function terms: complex structures formed from certain relations that can be used in place of an individual term in a statement

Rules: statements in the form of an if-then (antecedent-consequent) sentence that describe the logical inferences that can be drawn from an assertion in a particular form

Axioms: assertions (including rules) in a logical form that together comprise the overall theory that the In the early years of the 21st century, the interdisci- ontology describes in its domain of application. plinary project of cognitive science has been bring- This definition differs from that of “axioms” in genering the two circles of scholars closer together. For ative grammar and formal logic. In these disciplines, example, there is talk of a “computational turn in axioms include only statements asserted as a priori philosophy” that includes philosophers analyzing knowledge. As used here, “axioms” also include the the formal ontologies of computer science (some- theory derived from axiomatic statements. times even working directly with the software), while researchers in computer science have been Events: the changing of attributes or relations making more references to those philosophers who work on ontology (sometimes with direct conse- Lets now move on to Folksonomy ...... quences for their methods). Still, many scholars in both fields are uninvolved in this trend of cogni- Folksonomy tive science, and continue to work independently of one another, pursuing separately their different Folksonomy (also known as collaborative tagging, concerns. social classification, social indexing, and social tagging) is the practice and method of collaboratively Ontology components creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content. Folksonomy describes the bottomContemporary ontologies share many structural up classification systems that emerge from social similarities, regardless of the language in which tagging. In contrast to traditional subject indexing, they are expressed. As mentioned above, most on- metadata is generated not only by experts but also tologies describe individuals (instances), classes by creators and consumers of the content. Usually, (concepts), attributes, and relations. In this section freely chosen keywords are used instead of a coneach of these components is discussed in turn. trolled vocabulary. Folksonomy (from folk + taxonomy) is a user-generated taxonomy. Common components of ontologies include: Folksonomies became popular on the Web around Individuals: instances or objects (the basic or 2004 as part of social software applications including “ground level” objects) social bookmarking and annotating photographs. Tagging, which is characteristic of Web 2.0 services, Classes: sets, collections, concepts, types of objects, allows non-expert users to collectively classify and or kinds of things. find information. Some websites include tag clouds as a way to visualize tags in a folksonomy. Attributes: aspects, properties, features, characteristics, or parameters that objects (and classes) can Typically, folksonomies are Internet-based, have


although they are also used in other contexts. Aggregating the tags of many users creates a folksonomy.[1] Aggregation is the pulling together of all of the tags in an automated way. Folksonomic tagging is intended to make a body of information increasingly easy to search, discover, and navigate over time. A well-developed folksonomy is ideally accessible as a shared vocabulary that is both originated by, and familiar to, its primary users. Two widely cited examples of websites using folksonomic tagging are Flickr and Delicious, although Flickr may not be a good example of folksonomy. As folksonomies develop in Internet-mediated social environments, users can discover who used a given tag and see the other tags that this person has used. In this way, folksonomy users can discover the tag sets of another user who tends to interpret and tag content in a way that makes sense to them. The result can be a rewarding gain in the user’s capacity to find related content (a practice known as “pivot browsing”). Part of the appeal of folksonomy is its inherent subversiveness: when faced with the choice of the search tools that Web sites provide, folksonomies can be seen as a rejection of the search engine status quo in favor of tools that are created by the community. Folksonomy creation and searching tools are not part of the underlying World Wide Web protocols. Folksonomies arise in Web-based communities where provisions are made at the site level for creating and using tags. These communities are established to enable Web users to label and share user-generated content, such as photographs, or to collaboratively label existing content, such as Web sites, books, works in the scientific and scholarly literatures, and blog entries.

Practical evaluation Folksonomy is criticized because its lack of terminological control causes it to be more likely to produce unreliable and inconsistent results. If tags are freely chosen (instead of taken from a given vocabulary), synonyms (multiple tags for the same concept), homonymy (same tag used with different meaning), and polysemy (same tag with multiple related meanings) are likely to arise, lowering the efficiency of content indexing and searching.[4] Other reasons for meta noise are the lack of stemming (normalization of word inflections) and the heterogeneity of users and contexts.

Classification systems have several problems: they can be slow to change, they reflect (and reinforce) a particular worldview, they are rooted in the culture and era that created them, and they can be absurd at times.I diosyncratic folksonomic classification within a clique can especially reinforce pre-existing viewpoints. Folksonomies are routinely generated by people who have spent a great deal of time interacting with the content they tag, and may not properly identify the content’s relationship to external items. For example, items tagged as “Web 2.0” represent seemingly inconsistent and contradictory resources. The lack of a hierarchical or systematic structure for the tagging system makes the terms relevant to what they are describing, but often fails to show their relevancy or relationship to other objects of the same or similar type.

Origin The term folksonomy is generally attributed to Thomas Vander Wal.[6][7] It is a portmanteau of the words folk (or folks) and taxonomy that specifically refers to subject indexing systems created within Internet communities. Folksonomy has little to do with taxonomy—the latter refers to an ontological, hierarchical way of categorizing, while folksonomy establishes categories (each tag is a category) that are theoretically “equal” to each other (i.e., there is no hierarchy, or parent-child relation between different tags). Early attempts and experiments include the World Wide Web Consortium’s Annotea project with usergenerated tags in 2002.[8] According to Vander Wal, a folksonomy is “tagging that works”. Folksonomy is unrelated to folk taxonomy, a cultural practice that has been widely documented in anthropological and folkloristic work. Folk taxonomies are culturally supplied, intergenerationally transmitted, and relatively stable classification systems that people in a given culture use to make sense of the entire world around them (not just the Internet).

Folksonomy and the Semantic Web Folksonomy may hold the key to developing a Semantic Web, in which every Web page contains machinereadable metadata that describes its content.[10] Such metadata would dramatically improve the precision (the percentage of relevant documents) in search


engine retrieval lists. However, it is difficult to see how the large and varied community of Web page authors could be persuaded to add metadata to their pages in a consistent, reliable way; web authors who wish to do so experience high entry costs because metadata systems are time-consuming to learn and use.[12] For this reason, few Web authors make use of the simple Dublin Core metadata standard, even though the use of Dublin Core meta-tags could increase their pages’ prominence in search FOAF Logo engine retrieval lists.[13] In contrast to more formalized, top-down classifications using controlled vocabularies, folksonomy is a distributed classification the first Social Semantic Web application, in that it combines system with low entry costs. RDF technology with ‘Social Web’ concerns. Tim Berners-Lee in a recent essay[1] (http://dig.csail.mit. Four main problems of folksonomy tagging are plu- edu/breadcrumbs/node/215) redefined the Semanrals, polysemy, synonymy, and depth (specificity) of tic web concept into something he calls the Giant tagging. Folksonomy-based systems can employ Global Graph, where relationships transcend netoptional authority control of subject keywords, works/documents. He considers the GGG to be on place, personal, or corporate names and resource equal grounds with Internet and World Wide Web, titles, by connecting the system to established au- stating that “I express my network in a FOAF file, and thority control files or controlled vocabularies using that is a start of the revolution.” new techniques. A folksonomy-based system needs a controlled vocabulary and a suggestion-based system.

Main problems of folksonomy tagging

FOAF FOAF (an acronym of Friend of a Friend) is a machine-readable ontology describing persons, their activities and their relations to other people and objects. Anyone can use FOAF to describe him or herself. FOAF allows groups of people to describe social networks without the need for a centralised database. FOAF is a descriptive vocabulary expressed using RDF Resource Description Framework and OWL Web Ontology Language. Computers may use these FOAF profiles to find, for example, all people living in Europe, or to list all people both you and a friend of yours know. This is accomplished by defining relationships between people. Each profile has a unique identifier (such as the person’s e-mail addresses, a Jabber ID, or a URI of the homepage or weblog of the person), which is used when defining these relationships. The FOAF project, which defines and extends the vocabulary of a FOAF profile, was started in 2000 by Libby Miller and Dan Brickley. It can be considered

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Case Study


y

the social in “online”,

how user affects tech


Digital Culture

That is why I studied it and then focused on the social aspects of this digitized world to extract some knowledge about what makes things click in this rapidly changing area of online communication, online presence and social networking. I found some very interesting things which I’ll be sharing as we move apace. I’ll be looking at services like IRC , Yahoo messenger and Orkut and study the social implications that they brought about and how the users affect these technology based services.

In the western world (and also the developing nations now) and increasingly everywhere we are becoming more and more digitized. This is true of processes, activities and communication. Many of us find ourselves spending a fair share of our lives on the computer, and that computers are also moving out of the gray boxes and into our everyday lives in the form of PDA’s, mobile technology and wireless networks. Some aspects of our lives are becoming virtualized. Clearly this is an area which is inherently But first we should look at what are these services in multidisciplinary as it involves so many different greater detail so we will be reading about social networking services , instant messengers , social netthings. working aggregators , etc and when we reach each First of all it is a good idea to identify some of the of the examples a little history on them too. salient aspects of digital culture. My personal list would probably include cyberspace , spatial de- Social Networking Services sign, virtual reality , online communication, virtual communities, online environments , social aspects A social network service focuses on building online of online life, embodiment , socialization, identity , communities of people who share interests and reputation, immersion, interfaces , hypertext, narra- activities, or who are interested in exploring the intives , blogs , digital art , computer games. terests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of This is a long list which at first might look a bit clut- ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant tered , but it does help us approach the field. Look- messaging services. ing at this we can only imagine the huge amounts of data each individual who is a part of this digital Social networking has created new ways to comculture is creating both with and without his knowl- municate and share information. Social networking edge. Now it is up to us whether we decide to use websites are being used regularly by millions of this goldmine of data to our advantage or look the people, and it now seems that social networking other way and continue the traditional methods of will be an enduring part of everyday life. The main knowing our consumers. types of social networking services are those which contain directories of some categories (such as Especially the people who are engaged in the de- former classmates), means to connect with friends sign of online services and things which are or (usually with self-description pages), and recomwould be a part of the digital culture have to look at mender systems linked to trust. Popular methods these new methods to design or produce new ideas now combine many of these, with MySpace and Faand services which create a whole new area for rev- cebook being the most widely used in North Amerenue generation. ica; Nexopia (mostly in Canada); Bebo, Facebook, Hi5, MySpace, Tagged, Xing; and Skyrock in parts of This is where I thought of expanding the normal Europe; Orkut and Hi5 in South America and Central ethnographic methods of learning more about your America; and Friendster, Orkut, Xiaonei and Cyworld consumer by studying his online life and the partici- in Asia and the Pacific Islands. patory methods in this digital culture. So first I went about trying to find out what are we doing current- There have been some attempts to standardize ly to mine this data, and then I stumbled upon this these services to avoid the need to duplicate entries absolutely brilliant platform of “The Semantic Web” of friends and interests (see the FOAF standard and which had me more or less out of business because the Open Source Initiative), but this has led to some it already had proposed a platform for the very concerns about privacy. things I wanted to do , that too automatically and was already put into practice in secluded packets, enjoying success.


History of social networking services

site in the world, not limited by particular geographic followings.

The notion that individual computers linked electronically could form the basis of computer mediated social interaction and networking was suggested early on . There were many early efforts to support social networks via computer-mediated communication, including Usenet, ARPANET, LISTSERV, bulletin board services (BBS), and EIES: Murray Turoff’s server-based Electronic Information Exchange Service (Turoff and Hiltz, 1978, 1993). The Information Routing Group developed a schema about how the proto-Internet might support this.

Social networking began to flourish as a component of business internet strategy at around March 2005 when Yahoo launched Yahoo! 360°. In July 2005 News Corporation bought MySpace, followed by ITV (UK) buying Friends Reunited in December 2005. Various social networking sites have sprung up catering to different languages and countries. It is estimated that combined there are now over 200 social networking sites using these existing and emerging social networking models, without counting the niche social networks (also referred to Early social networking websites included Class- as vertical social networks) made possible by sermates.com (1995), focusing on ties with former vices such as Ning and KickApps. school mates, and SixDegrees.com (1997), focusing on indirect ties. User profiles could be created, mes- Research on the social impact of social sages sent to users held on a “friends list” and other networking software members could be sought out who had similar interests to yours in their profiles. Whilst these features had existed in some form before SixDegrees. An increasing number of academic commentacom came about, this would be the first time these tors are becoming interested in studying Facebook functions were available in one package. Despite and other social networking tools. Social science these new developments (that would later catch on researchers have begun to investigate what the and become immensely popular), the website sim- impact of this might be on society. Typical articles ply wasn’t profitable and eventually shut down. It have investigated issues such as was even described by the website’s owner as “simply ahead of its time.” Two different models of social Identity networking that came about in 1999 were trust- Privacy based, developed by Epinions.com, and friendship- E-learning based, such as those developed by Jonathan Bishop Social capital and used on some regional UK sites between 1999 Teenage use and 2001. A special issue of the Journal for Computer-MediInnovations included not only showing who is ated Communications was dedicated to studies of “friends” with whom, but giving users more control social network sites (http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13 over content and connectivity. Between 2002 and /issue1/) . Included in this issue is an introduction to 2004, three social networking sites emerged as the social network sites. A list of academic scholarship most popular form of these sites in the world, caus- on these sites is also available. A 2008 book pubing such sites to become part of mainstream users lished by Forrester Research, Inc. titled Groundswell globally. First there was Friendster (which Google builds on a 2006 Forrester Report about social comtried to acquire in 2003), then, MySpace, and finally, puting and coins the term groundswell to mean Bebo. By 2005, MySpace, emergent as the biggest “a spontaneous movement of people using online of them all, was reportedly getting more page views tools to connect, take charge of their own experithan Google. 2004 saw the emergence of Facebook, ence, and get what they need-information, support, a competitor, also rapidly growing in size. In 2006, ideas, products, and bargaining power--from each Facebook opened up to the non US college commu- other.” nity, and together with allowing externally-developed add-on applications, and some applications Business applications enabled the graphing of a user’s own social network - thus linking social networks and social network- Social networks connect people at low cost; this can be beneficial for entrepreneurs and small business ing, became the largest and fastest growing


looking to expand their contact base. These networks often act as a customer relationship management tool for companies selling products and services. Companies can also use social networks for advertising in the form of banners and text ads. Since businesses operate globally, social networks can make it easier to keep in touch with contacts around the world.

audience with interested and passionate users. Users benefit by interacting with a like minded community and finding a channel for their energy and giving. Examples include SixDegrees.org,TakingITGlobal and Network for Good. The charity badge is often used within the above context.

One example of social networking being used for business purposes is LinkedIn.com, which aims to interconnect professionals. It claims to have more than 20 million registered users from 150 different industries.

CMC can have a positive effect on student/teacher communication which can lead to positive student outcomes. The use of emoticons enables the relationship between teachers and students to become more personal.

Pros of Social networking applications

Professional networking sites function as online meeting places for business and industry professionals. Other sites are bringing this model for niche business professional networking.

Business decision makers are now preferring communication channels that are two-way dialogs, channels that resemble social networking applications. This is a great way for businesses to advertise their product. It is also a way that has proved to be Virtual communities for business allow individuals more effective than the previous â&#x20AC;&#x153;word of mouthâ&#x20AC;? to be accessible. People establish their real identity influence. in a verifiable place. These individuals then interact with each other or within groups that share com- Social networking allows us to identify and connect mon business interests and goals. They can also with friends and strangers while on the go. Such post their own user generated content in the form computer mediated communication also allows us of blogs, pictures, slide shows and videos. Like a so- to reconnect with friends from the past whom we cial network, the consumer essentially becomes the may have lost contact with. publisher. LinkdeIn is a sns (social networking site) particularA professional network is used for the business to ly used by jobseekers. It is a tool used to link users business marketplace. These networks improve to people they may have worked with in the past the ability for people to advance professionally, by through various jobs or institutions. Users also have finding, connecting and networking with others. the opportunity to link to certain companies they Business professionals can share experiences with aspire to work with. others who have a need to learn from similar experiences.

Cons of Social Networking Applications

The traditional way to interact is face-to-face. Interactive technology makes it possible for people to network with their peers from anywhere, at anytime in an online environment. Professional network services attract, aggregate and assemble large business-focused audiences by creating informative and interactive meeting places.

On the contrary, all networking applications used in the professional environment are not beneficial or successful. Some prospects experience trouble while trying to build their networks, thus they may produce ineffective work. Employees are now more likely than before to carry inappropriate conversations at work. Communicating with such technologies creates a relaxed feeling in a professional enSocial networks for social good vironment. Some messages that should be relayed in person are being sent through the computer; the Several websites are beginning to tap into the pow- nature of the message and the audience should dicer of the social networking model for social good. tate the medium used to transmit the message. The Such models may be highly successful for connect- ability to network with 100 people will not improve ing otherwise fragmented industries and small or- our communication skills when in contact with ganizations without the resources to reach a broad them.


Social networking has forced people to trade in fewer relationships with close family and friends for distant and virtual ones that are much greater quantitatively.

Typical structure of a social networking service Basics In general, social networking services allow users to create a profile for themselves, and can be broken down into two broad categories: internal social networking (ISN) and external social networking (ESN) sites, such as Orkut,MySpace, Facebook and Bebo. Both types can increase the feeling of community among people. An ISN is a closed/private community that consists of a group of people within a company, association, society, education provider and organization or even an “invite only” group created by a user in an ESN. An ESN is open/public and available to all web users to communicate and are designed to attract advertisers. ESN’s can be smaller specialised communities (i.e. linked by a single common interest eg TheSocialGolfer, ACountryLife. Com, Great Cooks Community) or they can be large generic social networking sites (eg MySpace, Facebook etc). However, whether specialised or generic there is commonality across the general approach of social networking sites. Users can upload a picture of themselves, create their ‘profile’ and can often be “friends” with other users. In most social networking services, both users must confirm that they are friends before they are linked. For example, if Alice lists Bob as a friend, then Bob would have to approve Alice’s friend request before they are listed as friends. Some social networking sites have a “favorites” feature that does not need approval from the other user. Social networks usually have privacy controls that allows the user to choose who can view their profile or contact them, etc. Several social networks in Asian markets such as India, China, Japan and Korea have reached not only a high usage but also a high level of profitability. Services such as QQ (China), Mixi (Japan), Cyworld (Korea) or the mobile-focused service Mobile Game Town by the company DeNA in Japan (which has over 10 million users) are all profitable, setting them apart from their western counterparts.

Social status The social status of an individual is revealed on social networks. Sociologist, Erving Goffman refers to the “Interaction Order” which he claims is the “part of the social life where face-to-face and spoken interactions occur” (Rhiengold: 2002, P171). He believes that the way people represents themselves provides other users information about them they want others to believe while concealing the rest. Goffman beliefs that peole also give off “information leaking true but uncontrolled information along with their more deliberate performances” (Rheingold: 2002, P171). Through social networks people are now able to completely control the information provided about themselves through the photos they include, the information provided, whether it be true or false and the friends they make. People are therefore now able to control their personal information and their desired social status. Some social networks have additional features, such as the ability to create groups that share common interests or affiliations, upload or stream live videos, and hold discussions in forums. Geosocial networking co-opts internet mapping services to organize user participation around geographic features and their attributes. There is also a trend for more interoperability between social networks led by technologies such as OpenID and OpenSocial. Lately, mobile social networking has become popular. In most mobile communities, mobile phone users can now create their own profiles, make friends, participate in chat rooms, create chat rooms, hold private conversations, share photos and videos, and share blogs by using their mobile phone. Mobile phone users are basically open to every option that someone sitting on the computer has. Some companies provide wireless services which allow their customers to build their own mobile community and brand it, but one of the most popular wireless services for social networking in North America is Facebook Mobile. Other companies provide new innovative features which extend the social networking experience into the real world.


Business model of these sites

to an individual, may be taken.

Few social networks currently charge money for membership. In part, this may be because social networking is a relatively new service, and the value of using them has not been firmly established in customers’ minds. Companies such as MySpace and Facebook sell online advertising on their site. Hence, they are seeking large memberships, and charging for membership would be counter productive. Some believe that the deeper information that the sites have on each user will allow much better targeted advertising than any other site can currently provide. Sites are also seeking other ways to make money, such as by creating an online marketplace (Facebook’s Marketplace) or by selling professional information and social connections to businesses: such as LinkedIn.

Furthermore, there is an issue over the control of data - information having been altered or removed by the user may in fact be retained and/or passed to 3rd parties. This danger was highlighted when the controversial social networking site Quechup harvested e-mail addresses from users’ e-mail accounts for use in a spamming operation.

Social networks operate under an autonomous business model, in which a social network’s members serve dual roles as both the suppliers and the consumers of content. This is in contrast to a traditional business model, where the suppliers and consumers are distinct agents. Revenue is typically gained in the autonomous business model via advertisements, but subscription-based revenue is possible when membership and content levels are sufficiently high. Other business models such as including digital goods (personalization, avatars, background music, skins, gifts, etc.), connection with casual games (on QQ in China or Mobile Game Town in Japan), or link to mobile first made successful in Asia. QQ’s revenues in 2007 were US$523 million and a US$225 million profit.

Privacy On large social networking services, there have been growing concerns about users giving out too much personal information and the threat of sexual predators. Users of these services need to be aware of data theft or viruses. However, large services, such as MySpace, often work with law enforcement to try to prevent such incidents. In addition, there is a perceived privacy threat in relation to placing too much personal information in the hands of large corporations or governmental bodies, allowing a profile to be produced on an individual’s behavior on which decisions, detrimental

In medical and scientific research, asking subjects for information about their behaviors is normally strictly scrutinized by institutional review boards, for example, to ensure that adolescents and their parents have informed consent. It is not clear whether the same rules apply to researchers who collect data from social networking sites. These sites often contain a great deal of data that is hard to obtain via traditional means. Even though the data are public, republishing it in a research paper might be considered invasion of privacy.

Investigations Social network services are increasingly being used in legal and criminal investigations. Information posted on sites such as MySpace and Facebook has been used by police, probation, and university officials to prosecute users of said sites. In some situations, content posted on MySpace has been used in court. Facebook is increasingly being used by school administrations and law enforcement agencies as a source of evidence against student users. The site, the number one online destination for college students, allows users to create profile pages with personal details. These pages can be viewed by other registered users from the same school which often include resident assistants and campus police who have signed-up for the service.

Potential for misuse The relative freedom afforded by social networking services has caused concern regarding the potential of its misuse by individual patrons. In October 2006, a fake Myspace profile created in the name of Josh Evans by Lori Janine Drew led to the suicide of Megan Meier. The event incited global concern regarding the use of social networking services for bullying purposes.


In July 2008, a Briton, Grant Raphael, was ordered to pay a total of GBP £22,000 (about USD $44,000) for libel and breach of privacy. Raphael had posted a fake page on Facebook purporting to be that of a former schoolfriend Matthew Firsht, with whom Raphael had fallen out in 2000. The page falsely claimed that Firsht was homosexual and that he was dishonest.

members to share their other social network activities like Twitter, Youtube, Stumbleupon, Digg, and other major platforms. One can also integrate their blog posts and comments in the aggregation platform. Everything is shown in real time to other members who subscribe to a particular community, which eliminates the need to jump from one social media network to another, trying to keep an eye on one’s interests. [5] The aggregation is done by an API application. For the API to be able to access a users actions from another platform, the user will have to give permission to the social aggregation platform, by specifying user id and password of the social media to be syndicated. This concept is similar to open id.

At the same, genuine use of social networking services has been treated with suspicion on the ground of the services’ misuse. In September 2008, the profile of Australian Facebook user Elmo Keep was banned by the site’s administrators on the grounds that it violated the site’s terms of use. Keep is one of several users of Facebook who were banned from the site on the presumption that their names aren’t real, as they bear resemblance the names of char- Distributed social networking acters like Sesame Street’s Elmo. The misuse of social networking services has led many to cast doubt In March 2008, The Economist reported that social over whether any information on these services can network services are only beginning the move away in fact be regarded as true. from “walled gardens” to more open architectures. Some sites are working together on a “data portability workgroup”, while others are focussing on a Social Networking Aggregation single sign-on system called OpenID to allow users to log on across multiple sites. Historically the trend Social network aggregation is the process of col- from private services to more open ones can be lecting content from multiple social network ser- seen across many internet services from email and vices, such as MySpace or Facebook. The task is instant messaging to the move that early online seroften performed by a social network aggregator, vice providers made to become websites.. which pulls together information into a single location[1], or helps a user consolidate multiple social The OpenSocial initiative aims to bridge the memnetworking profiles into one profile. Various aggre- ber overlap between various online social network gation services provide tools or widgets to allow us- services. ers to consolidate messages, track friends, combine bookmarks, search across multiple social network- Overlap between multiple social network ing sites, read rss feeds for multiple social networks, services see when their name is mentioned on various sites, access their profiles from a single interface, provide Many users have accounts on several different social “lifestreams”, etc networking sites. In November 2007, Alex Patriquin of Compete.com reported on the member overlap Social network aggregation services attempt to orbetween various online social network services: ganize or simplify a user’s social networking experience although the idea has been satirized by the Members of Bebo concept of a “social network aggregator aggrega65% are MySpace members. tor.” 25% are Facebook members. 3% are Hi5 members. Social Networking Aggregators 2% are Friendster members. 1% are LinkedIn members. FriendFeed, Gathera, Youmeo, Spokeo and Second- 1% are Ning members. brain are examples of social network aggregators. 0% are Orkut members. Social network aggregation platforms like Myblo- 0% are Plaxo members. glog, a Yahoo property, Plaxo, Jaiku or others, allow


Members of Facebook 64% are MySpace members. 9% are Plaxo members. 4% are Bebo members. 2% are Friendster members. 2% are Hi5 members. 2% are LinkedIn members. 1% are Ning members. 1% are Orkut members.

Members of Ning 44% are MySpace members. 35% are Facebook members. 19% are LinkedIn members. 6% are Bebo members. 6% are Friendster members. 2% are Orkut members. 2% are Plaxo members. 1% are Hi5 members.

Members of Friendster 49% are MySpace members. 23% are Facebook members. 6% are LinkedIn members. 5% are Bebo members. 4% are Hi5 members. 2% are Ning members. 1% are Orkut members. 0% are Plaxo members.

Members of Orkut 29% are MySpace members. 26% are Facebook members. 8% are LinkedIn members. 7% are Hi5 members. 4% are Friendster members. 3% are Bebo members. 2% are Ning members. 1% are Plaxo members.

Members of Hi5 69% are MySpace members. 24% are Facebook members. 7% are Bebo members. 4% are Friendster members. 2% are Orkut members. 1% are LinkedIn members. 0% are Ning members. 0% are Plaxo members.

Members of Plaxo 54% are LinkedIn members. 48% are Facebook members. 34% are MySpace members. 14% are Ning members. 8% are Friendster members. 5% are Bebo members. 4% are Orkut members. 2% are Hi5 members.

Members of LinkedIn 42% are Facebook members. 32% are MySpace members. 8% are Friendster members. 8% are Ning members. 4% are Bebo members. 3% are Orkut members. 3% are Plaxo members. 2% are Hi5 members.

Instant messaging 路 Internet

Members of MySpace 20% are Facebook members. 3% are Bebo members. 1% are Friendster members. 1% are Hi5 members. 0% are LinkedIn members. 0% are Ning members. 0% are Orkut members. 0% are Plaxo members.

Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. The text is conveyed via devices connected over a network such as the Internet.

Overview Instant messaging (IM) and chat are technologies that create the possibility of real-time text-based communication between two or more participants over the internet or some form of internal network/ intranet. It is important to understand that what separates chat and instant messaging from technologies such as e-mail is the perceived synchronicity of the communication by the user - Chat happens in real-time before your eyes.


Some systems allow the sending of messages to people not currently logged on (offline messages), thus removing much of the difference between Instant Messaging and e-mail. While many services have additional features such as: the immediate receipt of acknowledgment or reply, group chatting, conference services (including voice and video), conversation logging and file transfer, those functions are beyond the scope of this article. IM allows effective and efficient communication, featuring immediate receipt of acknowledgment or reply. In certain cases Instant Messaging involves additional features, which make it even more popular, i.e. to see the other party, e.g. by using webcams, or to talk directly for free over the Internet. It is possible to save a conversation for later reference. Instant messages are typically logged in a local message history which closes the gap to the persistent nature of e-mails and facilitates quick exchange of information like URLs or document snippets (which can be unwieldy when communicated via telephone).

In early instant messaging programs each character appeared when it was typed. The UNIX “talk”command shown in these screenshots was popular inthe 1980s and early 1990s.

While the Quantum Link service ran on a Commodore 64, using only the Commodore’s PETSCII textgraphics, the screen was visually divided up into sections and OLMs would appear as a yellow bar saying “Message From:” and the name of the sender along with the message across the top of whatever the user was already doing, and presented a list of options for responding. As such, it could be considered a sort of GUI, albeit much more primitive than History the later Unix, Windows and Macintosh based GUI Instant messaging actually predates the Internet, IM programs. OLMs were what Q-Link called “Plus first appearing on multi-user operating systems like Services” meaning they charged an extra per-minCTSS and Multics[1] in the mid-1960s. Initially, many ute fee on top of the monthly Q-Link access costs. of these systems, such as CTSS’.SAVED, were used Modern, Internet-wide, GUI-based messaging clias notification systems for services like printing, ents, as they are known today, began to take off in but quickly were used to facilitate communication the mid 1990s with ICQ (1996) being the first, folwith other users logged in to the same machine. As lowed by AOL Instant Messenger (AOL Instant Mesnetworks developed, the protocols spread with the senger, 1997). networks. Some of these used a peer-to-peer protoAOL later acquired Mirabilis, the creators of ICQ. col (eg talk, ntalk and ytalk), while others required peers to connect to a server (see talker and IRC). A few years later ICQ (by now owned by AOL) was During the Bulletin board system (BBS) phenom- awarded two patents for instant messaging by the enon that peaked during the 1980s, some systems U.S. patent office. Meanwhile, other companies incorporated chat features which were similar to developed their own applications (Excite, MSN, instant messaging; Freelancin’ Roundtable was one Ubique, and Yahoo), each with its own proprietary protocol and client; users therefore had to run mulprime example. tiple client applications if they wished to use more In the last half of the 1980s and into the early 1990s, than one of these networks. In 1998 IBM released the Quantum Link online service for Commodore 64 IBM Lotus Sametime, a product based on technolocomputers offered user-to-user messages between gy acquired when IBM bought Haifa-based Ubique currently connected customers which they called and Lexington-based Databeam. “On-Line Messages” (or OLM for short). Quantum Link’s better known later incarnation, America On- In 2000, an open source application and open stanline, offers a similar product under the name “AOL dards-based protocol called Jabber was launched. Jabber servers could act as gateways to other Instant Messenger” (AIM).


IM protocols, reducing the need to run multiple clients. Multi-protocol clients can use any of the popular IM protocols by using additional local libraries for each protocol. IBM Lotus Sametime’s November 2007 release added IBM Lotus Sametime Gateway support for XMPP. Recently, many instant messaging services have begun to offer video conferencing features, Voice Over IP (VoIP) and web conferencing services. Web conferencing services integrate both video conferencing and instant messaging capabilities. Some newer instant messaging companies are offering desktop sharing, IP radio, and IPTv to voice and video features. The term “instant messenger” is a service mark of Time Warner and may not be used in software not affiliated with AOL in the United States. For this reason, the instant messaging client formerly known as Gaim or gaim announced in April 2007 that they would be renamed “Pidgin”

Cooperation Standard free instant messaging applications offer functions like file transfer, contact lists, the ability to have simultaneous conversations etc These may be all the functions that a small business needs but larger organisations will require more sophisticated applications that can work together. The solution to finding applications capable of this is to use enterprise versions of instant messaging applications. These include titles like Jabber, Lotus Sametime, Microsoft Office Communicator, etc., which are often integrated with other enterprise applications such as workflow systems. These enterprise applications, or Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), are built to certain constraints, namely storing data in a common format. There have been several attempts to create a unified standard for instant messaging: IETF’s SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and SIMPLE (SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions), APEX (Application Exchange), Prim (Presence and Instant Messaging Protocol), the open XML-based XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), more commonly known as Jabber and OMA’s (Open Mobile Alliance) IMPS (Instant Messaging and Presence Service) created specifically for mobile devices. Most attempts at creating a unified standard for the major

IM providers (AOL, Yahoo! and Microsoft) have failed and each continues to use its own proprietary protocol. However, while discussions at IETF were stalled, Reuters head of collaboration services, David Gurle (the founder of Microsoft’s Real Time Communication and Collaboration business), signed the first inter-service provider connectivity agreement on September 2003. This agreement enabled AIM, ICQ and MSN Messenger users to talk with Reuters Messaging counterparts and vice-versa against an access fee. Following this, Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL came to a deal where Microsoft’s Live Communication Server 2005 users would also have the possibility to talk to public instant messaging users. This deal established SIP/SIMPLE as a standard for protocol interoperability and established a connectivity fee for accessing public instant messaging clouds. Separately, on October 13, 2005 Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that by (the Northern Hemisphere) summer of 2006 they would interoperate using SIP/ SIMPLE which is followed on December 2005 by the AOL and Google strategic partnership deal where Google Talk users would be able to talk with AIM and ICQ users provided they have an identity at AOL. There are two ways to combine the many disparate protocols: 1. One way is to combine the many disparate protocols inside 1. the IM client application. 2. The other way is to combine the many disparate protocols inside the IM server application. This approach moves the task of communicating to the other services to the server. Clients need not know or care about other IM protocols. For example, LCS 2005 Public IM Connectivity. This approach is popular in Jabber/XMPP servers however the so-called transport projects suffer the same reverse engineering difficulties as any other project involved with closed protocols or formats. Some approaches allow organizations to create their own private instant messaging network by enabling them tolimit access to the server (often with the IM network entirely behind their firewall) and administer user permissions. Other corporate messaging systems allow registered users to also connect from outside the corporation LAN, by using a secure firewall-friendly HTTPS based protocol.


Typically, a dedicated corporate IM server has several advantages such as pre-populated contact lists, integrated authentication, and better security and privacy.

keystrokes. The language has become universal, with well known expressions such as ‘lol’ translated over to face to face language. Emotions are often expressed in shorthand, such as the abbreviation LOL. Some, however, attempt to be more accurate Some networks have made changes to prevent with emotional expression over IM. Real time reacthem from being utilized by such multi-network IM tions such as (chortle) (snort) (guffaw) or (eye-roll) clients. For example, Trillian had to release several are becoming more popular. Also there are certain revisions and patches to allow its users to access standards that are being introduced into mainthe MSN, AOL, and Yahoo! networks, after changes stream conversations including, ‘#’ indicates the use were made to these networks. The major IM provid- of sarcasm in a statement and ‘*’ which indicates a ers typically cite the need for formal agreements spelling mistake and/or grammatical error in the as well as security concerns as reasons for making previous message, followed by a correction. these changes.

Mobile instant messaging Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) is a presence enabled messaging service that aims to transpose the desktop messaging experience to the usage scenario of being on the move. While several of the core ideas of the desktop experience on one hand apply to a connected mobile device, others do not: Users usually only look at their phone’s screen — presence status changes might occur under different circumstances as happens at the desktop, and several functional limits exist based on the fact that the vast majority of mobile communication devices are chosen by their users to fit into the palm of their hand. Some of the form factor and mobility related differences need to be taken into account in order to create a really adequate, powerful and yet convenient mobile experience: radio bandwidth, memory size, availability of media formats, keypad based input, screen output, CPU performance and battery power are core issues that desktop device users and even nomadic users with connected network.

Friend-to-friend networks Instant Messaging may be done in a Friend-tofriend network, in which each node connects to the friends on the friends list. This allows for communication with friends of friends and for the building of chatrooms for instant messages with all friends on that network.

IM language Users sometimes make use of internet slang or text speak to abbreviate common words or expressions in order to quicken conversations or to reduce

Social Implications Now that we have read about the generic processes that are present in the “online presence” phenomenon let us look into the social implications of online communication throgh some extracts from a dissertation , the link to the dissertation is available at the end of this document. I do not claim any credit to the dissertatiion and am including it just beacuse it makes a relevant and interesting read.

1. Traditional forms of human interaction have their codes of etiquette. We are all brought up to behave according to the demands of social context. We know, as if instinctively, when it is appropriate to flirt, to be respectful, to be angry, or silent. The information on which we decide which aspects of our systems of social conduct are appropriate to our circumstances are more often physical than verbal. Place and time are perceptions of a physical reality that are not dependent on statements made by other people. We do not need to be told that we are at a wedding, and should be quiet during the ceremony, in order to enact the code of etiquette that our culture reserves for such occasions. “Being cultured” says Greg Dening, “we are experts in our semiotics... we read sign and symbol [and] codify a thousand words in a gesture.”(24) In interacting with other people, we rely on non-verbal information to delineate a context for our own contributions. Smiles, frowns, tones of voice, posture and dress - Geertz’s “significant symbols” - tell us more about the social context within which we are placed than do the statements of the people we socialise with.(25) Language does not express the full play


of our interpersonal exchanges - which, continues Dening, “are expressed in terms of address, in types of clothing, in postures and facial expressions, in appeals to rules and ways of doing things.”(26) The words themselves tell only half the story - it is their presentation that completes the picture. Internet Relay Chat, however, deals only in words. Computer- mediated communication relies only upon words as a channel of meaning.(27) “Computer-mediated communication has at least two interesting characteristics:” writes Kiesler, “(a) a paucity of social context information and (b) few widely shared norms governing its use.”(28) Users of these systems are unable to rely on the conventions of gesture and nuances of tone to provide social feedback. They cannot rely upon the conventional systems of interaction if they are to make sense to one another. Words, as we use them in speech, fail to express what they really mean once they are deprived of the subtleties of speech and the non- verbal cues that we assume will accompany it. Internet Relay Chat is synchronous, as is face-to-face interaction, but it is unable to transmit the non-verbal aspects of speech that conventions of synchronous communication demand. It is not only the meanings of sentences that become problematic in computermediated communication. The standards of behaviour that are normally decided upon by non-verbal cues are not clearly indicated when information is purely textual. Not only are smiles and frowns lost in the translation of synchronous speech to pure text, but factors of environment are unknown to interlocutors. It is not immediately apparent, in computer-mediated communication, what forms of social etiquette are appropriate at any given time. 2.

Reduced Self-Regulation

Researchers of human behaviour on computermediated communication systems have often noted that users of such systems tend to behave in a more uninhibited manner than they would in faceto- face encounters. Sproull and Kiesler state that computer-mediated behaviour “is relatively uninhibited and nonconforming.”(34) Kielser, Siegel and McGuire have observed that “people in computermediated groups were more uninhibited than they were in face-to-face groups.”(35) Rice and Love suggest that “disinhibition” may occur “because of the lack of social control that nonverbal cues provide.”(36) Internet Relay Chat reflects this observation. Protected by the anonymity of the computer

medium, and with few social context cues to indicate ‘proper’ ways to behave, users are able to express and experiment with aspects of their personality that social inhibition would generally encourage them to suppress: IRC encourages disinhibition. The lack of social context cues in computer-mediated communication obscures the boundaries that would generally separate acceptable and unacceptable forms of behaviour. Furthermore, the essential physical impression of each user that he is alone releases him from the social expectations incurred in group interaction. Computermediated communication is less bound by conventions than is face-to-face interaction. With little regulating feedback to govern behaviour, users behave in ways that would not generally be acceptable with people who are essentially total strangers. The lack of self-regulation amongst users of IRC can be both positive and negative, as far as interaction is concerned. The safety of anonymity can “reduce self-consciousness and promote intimacy” between people who might not otherwise have had the chance to become close.(38) It can also encourage “flaming”, which Kiesler, Siegel and McGuire define as the gratuitous and uninhibited making of “remarks containing swearing, insults, name calling, and hostile comments.”(39)

3. The corollary of Geertz’s definition of culture is that groups of people who fail to communicate do not compose a common culture. If meaning is lost in transition from speaker to addressee, then community is lost - “undirected by culture patterns - organized systems of significant symbols - man’s behaviour would be virtually ungovernable, a mere chaos of pointless acts and exploding emotions, his experience virtually shapeless.”(61) In order for IRC users to constitute a community it is necessary for them to contrive a method to circumvent the possibility of loss of intended meaning of statements. Verbalisation of physical condition is that method. Interlocutors will describe what their reactions to specific statements would be were they in physical contact. Of course, this stylized description of action is not intended to be taken as a literal description of the speakers’ physical actions, which are, obviously, typing at a keyboard and staring at a monitor. Rather they are meant to represent what would be their actions were the virtual reality of IRC an actual reality. Without some way


compensating for the inherent lack of social context cues in computer-mediated communication, IRC would get no further than the deconstruction of conventional social boundaries. The textual cues utilised on IRC provide the symbols of interpretation and discourse that the users of IRC have devised to ‘meet specific problems posed by situations they face in common.’ Without these textual cues to substitute for non-verbal language, the users of IRC would fail to constitute a community with them, they do. The users of IRC often utilise a ‘shorthand’ for the description of physical condition. They (in common with users of other computer-mediated communication systems such as news and email) have developed a system of presenting textual characters as representations of physical action. Commonly known as ‘smileys’, CMC users employ alphanumeric characters and punctuation symbols to create strings of highly emotively charged keyboard art: :-) or : ) a smiling face, as viewed side-on ;-) or ; ) a winking, smiling face :-( or : ( an ‘unsmiley’: an unhappy face :-(*) someone about to throw up 8-) someone whose eyes are opened wide in surprise. :-P someone sticking out their tongue >:-O someone screaming in fright, their hair standing on end :-X someone whose lips are sealed @}-`-,-`-- a rose These ‘emoticons’ are many and various.(62) Although the most commonly used is the plain smiling face - used to denote pleasure or amusement, or to soften a sarcastic comment - it is common for IRC users to develop their own emoticons, adapting the symbols available on the standard keyboard to create minute and essentially ephemeral pieces of textual art to represent their own virtual actions and responses. Such inventiveness and lateral thinking demands skill. Successful communication within IRC depends on the use of such conventions as verbalised action and the use of emoticons. Personal success on IRC, then, depends on the user’s ability to manipulate these tools. The users who can succinctly and graphically portray themselves to the rest of the IRC usership will be most able to create a community within that virtual system.

4. The sanctions available to the IRC community for use against errant members are both social and structural. The degree to which members feel, as ‘Allison’ did, a sense of shame for actions which abuse the systems of meaning devised by the IRC community, is related to the degree to which they participate in the deconstruction of traditional social conventions. By being uninhibited, by experimenting with cultural norms of gender and reciprocity in relationships, ‘Allison’ became a part of a social network that encourages self-exposure by simulating anonymity and therefore invulnerability. In this case, the systems of meaning created by the users of IRC have become conventions with a terrorizing authority over those who participate in their use. As I shall describe, users of IRC who flout the conventions of the medium are ostracised, banished from the community. The way to redemption for such erring members is through a process of guilt and redemption; through, in ‘Allison’s’ case, a ‘public’ ritual of self-accusation, confession, repentance and atonement. IRC supports mechanisms for the enforcement of acceptable behaviour on IRC. Channel operators ‘chanops’ or ‘chops’ - have access to the /kick command, which throws a specified user out of the given channel. IRC operators - ‘opers’ - have the ability to ‘kill’ users, to break the network link that connects them to IRC. The code of etiquette for doing so is outlined in the documentation that is part of the IRC program: Obnoxious users had best beware the operator who’s fast on the /kill command. “/kill nickname” blows any given nickname completely out of the chat system. Obnoxiousness is not to be tolerated. But operators do not use /kill lightly.(67) There is a curious paradox in the concomitant usage of the words ‘obnoxious’ and ‘kill’. Obnoxiousness seems a somewhat trivial term to warrant the use of such textually violent commands such as /kick and /kill. The word trivialises the degree to which abusive behaviour, deceit, and shame can play a part in interaction on Internet Relay Chat. The existence of such negative behaviour and emotions is played down, denigrated - what is stressed is the measures that can be taken by the ‘authorities’ - the chanops and opers - on IRC. Violators of the integrity of the IRC system are marginalised, outcast, described so as to seem insignificant, but their potential for disrupting the IRC community is suggested by the


emotive strength of the words with which they are punished. The terms ‘killing’ and ‘kicking’ substitute for their physical counterparts - IRC users may be safe from physical threat, but the community sanctions of violence and restraint are there, albeit in textualised form. Operators have adopted their own code of etiquette regarding /kills. It is the general rule that an operator issuing such a command should let other operators, and the victim, know the reason for his or her action by adding a comment to the ‘/kill message’ that fellow operators will receive: *** Notice -- Received KILL message for I4982784 from MaryD (Obscene Dumps!!!) *** Notice -- Received KILL message for mic from mgp (massive abusive channel dumping involving lots of ctrl-gs and gaybashing, amongst other almost as obnoxious stuff ) *** Notice -- Received KILL message for JP from Cyberman ((repeatedely ignorning warnings to stop nickname abuse))(68) There is no technical reason why such comments or excuses should be given - they are purely a ‘courtesy’. Those in authority on IRC have self-imposed codes of behaviour which supposedly serve to ensure that operator privileges are not abused. Let us now look at 3 examples of such services namely irc, orkut and yahoo messenger and what are the reasons that they are enjoying success or having a hard time surviving in the ever changing web.

irc

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real-time Internet chat or synchronous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication via private message, as well as chat and data transfers via Direct Client-to-Client. IRC was created by Jarkko Oikarinen in late August 1988 to replace a program called MUT (MultiUser talk) on a BBS called OuluBox in Finland. Oikarinen found inspiration in a chat system known as Bitnet Relay, which operated on the BITNET. IRC was used to report on the Soviet coup attempt of 1991 throughout a media blackout.[1] It was previously used in a similar fashion during the Iraqi invasion. Logs of these events, and other events, are kept in the ibiblio archive.[2] IRC client software is available for virtually every computer operating system.Let us look further into the structure of irc.

Commands and replies IRC is based on a line-based structure with the client sending single-line messages to the server, receiving replies to those messages and receiving copies of some messages sent by other clients. In most clients users can enter commands by prefixing them with /. Depending on the command, these may either be handled entirely by the client, or - generally for commands the client does not recognize - passed directly to the server, possibly with some modification. Due to the nature of the protocol, it is impossible for automated systems to pair a sent command with its reply. Channels The basic means of communication in an established IRC session is a channel. Channels in a server can be displayed using the command /list [#string] [-min #] [-max #] that lists all currently available channels,


optionally filtering for parameters (#string for the entire or part of the name, with wildcards, and #min / #max for number of users in the channel). Users can join to a channel using the command / join #channelname and send messages to it, which are relayed to all other users on the same channel. Channels that are available across an entire IRC network are prepended with a ‘ # ‘, while those local to a server use ‘&’. Other non-standard and less common channel types include ‘+’ channels — ‘modeless’ channels without operators, and ‘!’ channels, a form of timestamped channel on normally nontimestamped networks.

Modes Users and channels may have modes, which are represented by single case-sensitive letters and are set using the mode command. User modes and channel modes are separate and can use the same letter to mean different things (e.g. usermode “i” is invisible mode whilst channelmode “i” is invite only). Modes are usually set and unset using the mode command which takes a target (user or channel), a set of modes to set (+) or unset (-) and any parameters the modes need. Some but not all channel modes take parameters and some channel modes apply to a user on a channel or add or remove a mask (e.g. a ban mask) from a list associated with the channel rather than applying to the channel as a whole. Modes that apply to users on a channel have an associated symbol which is used to represent the mode in names replies (sent to clients on first joining a channel and use of the names command) and in most clients to represent it in this list of users in the channel.

Workarounds for this are possible on both the client and server side but none are widely implemented. Many IRCd programmers have added extra modes or modified the behavior of modes in the above list so it is strongly advisable to check the documentation of the IRC network or IRCd (though note that the network may have patched the IRCd) for more detailed information on what the modes do on a particular server or network.

IRC operators There are also users who maintain elevated rights on their local server, or the entire network; these are called IRC Operators, sometimes shortened to IRCops. On some IRC implementations, IRC operators are also given channel operator status in every channel, although many people believe that administration of channels and administration of the network should be kept separate, and that IRC operator status does not confer the right to interfere with a particular channel’s operation. However in most networks, IRC operators usually do not interfere with channel administrations unless they violate the network’s terms of services.

Challenges

Issues in the original design of IRC were the amount of shared state data[6] being a limitation on its scalability,[7] the absence of unique user identifications leading to the nickname collision problem,[8] lack of protection from netsplits by means of cyclic routing,[9][10] the trade-off in scalability for the sake of real-time user presence information,[11] protocol weaknesses providing a platform for abuse,[12] no In order to correctly parse incoming mode messages transparent and optimizable message passing,[13] and track channel state the client must know which no encryption.[14] Some of these issues have been mode is of which type and for the modes that ap- addressed in Modern IRC. ply to a user on a channel which symbol goes with which letter. In early implementations of IRC this Attacks had to be hard-coded in the client but there is now a de-facto standard extension to the protocol which Because IRC connections are usually unencrypted sends this information to the client at connect time. and typically span long time periods, they are an There is a small design fault in IRC regarding modes attractive target for malicious crackers. Because of that apply to users on channels, the names message this, careful security policy is necessary to ensure used to establish initial channel state can only send that an IRC network is not susceptible to an attack one such mode per user on the channel, but mulsuch as an IRC takeover war. IRC networks may also tiple such modes can be set on a single user. For exk-line or g-line users or networks that have a harmample, if a user holds both operator status (+o) and ing effect. voice status (+v) on a channel, a new client will be unable to know the less precedented mode (voice). A small number of IRC servers support SSL


connections for security purposes. This helps stop the use of packet sniffer programs to obtain the passwords of IRC users, but has little use beyond this scope due to the public nature of IRC channels. SSL connections require both client and server support (which may require the user to install SSL binaries and IRC client specific patches or modules on their computers).

The idea behind this was that even if a netsplit occurred, it was useless to an abuser because they could not take the nickname or gain operator status on a channel, and thus no collision of a nickname or ‘merging’ of a channel could occur. To some extent, this inconvenienced legitimate users, who might be forced to briefly use a different name (appending an underscore was popular) after rejoining.

IRC served as an early laboratory for many kinds of Internet attacks, such as using fake ICMP unreachable messages to break TCP-based IRC connections (nuking) to annoy users or facilitate takeovers.

Timestamping

The alternative, the timestamp or TS protocol, took a different approach. Every nickname and channel on the network was assigned a timestamp – the date Abuse prevention and time when it was created. When a netsplit occurred, two users on each side were free to use the One of the most contentious technical issues sur- same nickname or channel, but when the two sides rounding IRC implementations, which survives were joined, only one could survive. In the case of to this day, is the merit of “Nick/Channel Delay” nicknames, the newer user, according to their TS, vs. “Timestamp” protocols. Both methods exist to was killed; when a channel collided, the members solve the problem of denialof- service attacks, but (users on the channel) were merged, but the chantake very different approaches. The problem with nel operators on the “losing” side of the split lost the original IRC protocol as implemented was that their channel operator status. when two servers split and rejoined, thetwo sides of the network would simply merge their channels. TS is a much more complicated protocol than ND/ If a user could join on a “split” server, where a chan- CD, both in design and implementation, and denel which existed on the other side of the network spite having gone through several revisions, some was empty, and gain operator status, they would implementations still have problems with “desyncs” become (where two servers on the same network disagree about the current state of the network), and allowa channel operator of the “combined” channel after ing too much leniency in what was allowed by the the netsplit ended; if a user took a nickname which ‘losing’ side. Under the original TS protocols, for exexisted on the other side of the network, the server ample, there was no protection against users setting would kill both users when rejoining (i.e., ‘nick-col- bans or other modes in the losing channel which lision’). This was often abused to “mass-kill” all users would then be merged when the split rejoined, on a channel, thus creating “opless” channels where even though the users who had set those modes no operators were present to deal with abuse. Apart lost their channel operator status. Some modern from causing problems within IRC, this encouraged TS-based IRC servers have also incorporated some people to conduct denial of service attacks against form of ND and/or CD in addition to timestamping IRC servers in order to cause netsplits, which they in an attempt to further curb abuse. would then abuse. Most networks today use the timestamping approach. The timestamp versus ND/CD disagreeNick/channel delay ments caused several servers to split away from EFThe nick/channel delay (abbreviated ND/CD) solu- net and form the newer IRCnet. After the split, EFnet tion to this problem was very simple. After a user moved to a TS protocol, while IRCnet used ND/CD. signed off and the nickname became available, or a channel ceased to exist because all its users left (as often happens during a netsplit), the server would not allow any user to use that nickname or join that channel, respectively, until a certain period of time (the delay) had passed.


Reasons for Downfall The irc network was successful during 1970’s to 1980’s reaching its peak around 1995 but the introductio of newer protocols privatised by companies which offered a lot of additional features led to tremendous user attrition.

orkut

Orkut is a social networking service which is run by Also the split of 1996 where the US and European Google and named after its creator, an employee of servers seperated to form two seperate network Google - Orkut Büyükkökten. The service states that regulation systems was a big blow to the irc. it was designed to help users meet new friends and maintain existing relationships. Also the very base of common minded people was being attacked as more and more people joined irc Orkut is similar to other networking sites. Since Ocand mos of them had little or no computer knowl- tober 2006, Orkut has permitted users to create acedge as compared to the 70’s and the 80’s. counts without an invitation. Orkut is the most visKeeping a server dedicated to irc became costlier and more and more legal hassles were springing up due to the unencrypted nature of the irc.

ited website in Brazil and second most visited site in India. A large percentage of users in India are high school and college students. The initial target market for Orkut was the United States, but the majority of its users are in Brazil and India.[2] In fact, as of May 2008, 53.86% of Orkut’s users are from Brazil, followed by India with 16.97%[3] and 23.4% of the traffic comes from Brazil, followed by India with 18.0%.[4] Unlike Facebook and Friendster, it is not a popular website in the United States of America and Canada. Originally hosted in California, in August 2008 Google announced that Orkut will be fully managed and operated in Brazil, by Google Brazil. This was decided due to the large Brazilian user base and growth of legal issues.

Features A user first creates a “Profile”, in which the user provides “Social”, “Professional” and “Personal” details. Users can upload photos into their Orkut profile with a caption. Users can also add videos to their profile from either YouTube or Google Video with the additional option of creating either restricted or unrestricted polls for polling a community of users.There is an option to i


ntegrate GTalk (An instant messenger from Google) with Orkut enabling chatting and file sharing.

Scrapbook “Scrapping” is popular among the Orkut community as a form of offline and online communication. In December 2007, the ability to pop up alerts immediately when a scrap is received was added. The scrap feature is sometimes used for chatting.

Communities Another feature of Orkut are “Communities”. Anyone with an Orkut account can create a community on anything. One can post topics, inform users about an event, ask them questions or just play games. There are more than one million communities on Orkut with topics ranging from pizza to pasta. The first five communities on Orkut were started within 24 hrs of the site’s launch. There were a total of 47,092,584 communities on Orkut as per March 24, 2008 4:25PM IST (+5:30 GMT). With the recent Addition of the search topic feature in the communities, some Orkut communities become the in fact source for the website links to movies, e-books etc. A community’s members may also create polls, and invite other members.

Other miscellaneous features Members can make groups to join friends according to their wishes. Further, each member can become fans of any of the friends in their list and can also evaluate whether their friend is “Trustworthy”, “Cool”, “Sexy” on a scale of 1 to 3 (marked by icons) and is aggregated in terms of a percentage. Unlike Facebook, where a member can view profile details of people only on their network, Orkut allows anyone to visit anyone’s profile, unless a potential visitor is on your “Ignore List” (This feature has been recently changed so that users can choose between showing their profile to all networks or specified ones). Importantly, each member can also customize their profile preferences and can restrict information that appear on their profile from their friends and/ or others (not on the friends list). Another feature is that any member can add any other member on Orkut to his/her “Crush List” and both of them will be informed only when both parties have added each other to their “Crush List”.

When a user logs in, they see the people in their friends list in the order of their logging in to the site, the first person being the latest one to do so.[9] Orkut’s competitors are other social networking sites including MySpace and Facebook. Ning is a more direct competitor, as they allow creation of Social Networks which are similar to Orkut’s communities.

Reasons For Downfall Since about a year now orkut has been slowly declining in India , this is due to many reasons the foremost being security issues and privacy. The scrapping methodology is a eonderful freevector to deliver virusses. Also untill recently the photos and personal stuff that a personal puts on orkut was free for all to view. When I interviewed my friends and classmates most also replied that orkut is not “cool’ or hip anymore mostly because someone they knew had their account hacked. Most of them also dont know how to approach orkut if they have a grievance. Taking a look at the other alternatives present and the fact that an orkut account hasnt cost them anything substantial they just skip the service and start using another one. A lot of other sites like orkut have flooded the market and particularly those with affiliations to a a music channel are posing great threats to orkut. even legal hassles with the government have put orkut in Bad light and the parents also are vary of letting their wards be n orkut.


Yahoo!

messenger

On October 29, 2007, Yahoo! Messenger an ounced Yahoo! Messenger is an advertisement-supported the release of Yahoo! Messenger 9 Beta. It features a instant messaging client and associated protocol new and improved interface, new emoticons (also hidden emotions[3]), the integration with Flickr acprovided by Yahoo!. count and a new in-line media player which enables Yahoo! Messenger is provided free of charge and the user to view maps, photos and videos from sites can be downloaded and used with a generic “Ya- like Yahoo! Video and YouTube right in the IM winhoo! ID” which also allows access to other Yahoo! dow.[4] services, such as Yahoo! Mail, where users can be automatically notified when they receive new email. Yahoo! has announced a partnership with MicroYahoo! also offers PC-PC, PC-Phone and Phone-to- soft to join their instant messaging networks. This PC service, file transfers, webcam hosting, text mes- would make Yahoo! Messenger compatible with saging service, and chat rooms in various categories Microsoft’s .NET Messenger Service. It also made Yahoo chat rooms have become almost useless due Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger compatible to “bots”--automated clients offering female sexual with Yahoo!’s Network. This change has taken effect as of 2006-07-13 - Yahoo! Messenger has integrated services to the male members of the chat room. instant messaging with Windows Live Messenger Yahoo! Messenger was originally launched under users, and is fully functional. British Telecommunithe name Yahoo! Pager on 1998-03-09.[1] In addi- cations’ BT Communicator software is based on Yahoo! Messenger. BT Communicator was withdrawn tion to instant messaging features similar to those offered by ICQ, it also offers (on Microsoft Windows) on 2006-12-31.[5] features such as: IMVironments (customizing the look of Instant Message windows, some of which Features include authorized themes of famous cartoons such as Garfield or Dilbert), address-book integration and Custom Status Messages.[2] It was also the first ma- Yahoo! Voice jor IM client to feature BUZZing and music-status. Another recently added feature is customized ava- Yahoo! Voice is a Voice over IP PC-PC, PC-Phone and tars. Phone-to-PC service [6], [7] provided by Yahoo! via its Yahoo! Messenger instant messaging application. It is also available for the Mac OS X platform [8]. Voicemail and file sharing Yahoo! added voicemail On December 5, 2007, Yahoo! Messenger announc- and file sending capabilities to their client. File-shares the release of Yahoo Messenger for Windows ing of sizes up to 2GB was added. Vista as a Beta Release. It includes transparent Glass Windows and a new skin and GUI for the Windows Plug-ins Sidebar and program. Also integrated new tabs for going between different chat windows. From Octo- As of 8.0, Yahoo! Messenger has added the ability ber 25, 2008, Yahoo! Messenger for Vista version is for users to create plug-ins (via the use of the freely no longer available. (http://www.ymessengerblog. available Yahoo! Messenger Plug-in SDK (http://decom/blog/2008/10/24/yahoomessengerveloper.yahoo.com/messenger/) ), which are then for-vista-version-is-no-longer-available/) hosted and showcased on the Yahoo! Plug-in gallery (http://gallery.yahoo.com/messenger) .

Announcements


Yahoo! Mail integration Yahoo! plans to integrate Yahoo! Mail Beta and Yahoo! Messenger.[9] Conversations will be archived and stored in the same manner as emails. This allows users to search within their chat logs easily, and to have them centrally stored and accessible from any computer.

Chat All versions of Yahoo! Messenger have included the ability to access Yahoo! Chat rooms. On June 19, 2005, with no advance warning, Yahoo! disabled users’ ability to create their own chat rooms. The move came after KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas reported that many of the user-created rooms were geared toward pedophilia. Many regulars in these rooms used the rooms to set up meetings to have sex with children and trade lewd pictures. While it was thought this move came as a result of several advertisers pulling their ads from Yahoo!, a more likely cause was a $10 million lawsuit filed by watchdog groups of internet portals on behalf of a 12-year-old victim of molestation[10] . Yahoo! has since closed down the chat.yahoo.com site (which is now a redirect to a section of the Yahoo! Messenger page) because the great majority of chat users accessed it through Messenger. In August 2007, it began requiring word verification in order to use Yahoo! Chat. Officially, this is to guard against spammers and automated bots, which had been a source of frustration for many chatters (This method has proved highly unsuccessful, as many rooms now have more bots than users). However, as this also logs users’ IP addresses, this feature could presumably be used to monitor against the type of behavior that prevailed in the pedophiliaoriented rooms. The company claims to be still working on a way to allow users to create their own rooms while providing safeguards against abuse. As of November 2008, Yahoo’s inability to control chat bots and spammers continues to be a major issue. Over 90% of all chat messages, even in supposedly family oriented chat rooms like genealogy, appear to be originated by automated spam bots spewing solicitations for adult activities, web cams and pictures.

On October 16th, 2008, the Yahoo! Profiles community rolled out a new “beta” profile network with no prior announcement. According to customer feedback, the new profiles now resemble a “strippeddown version of MASH.” This unexpected move resulted in hundreds of thousands of existing profiles being cleared of all information. Although some profiles (primary identities) can have this information recovered, this must be accomplished by contacting Yahoo! Chat’s Customer Care department. Secondary or alternative profiles, however, can not be recovered. This has resulted in a response of nearly unanimous outrage, especially from thousands of online roleplayers and socially active chatters who depended on the old system. Yahoo! Profiles community director Jim Stoneham and community managers Melissa Daniels and Robyn Tippins respond to only a few of the hostile comments with assurances that Yahoo! is “reading and listening to every comment.” As of October 20th, the only positive action taken was to apologize for the lack of communication in this decision. However, the staff continues to refuse comment on what is being done to rectify the situation.

Web Messenger Similar to MSN Web Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger’s Aim Express and Quick Buddy, Yahoo! Messenger also has a web applet version that runs in a browser window to communicate with friends. Recently, it has switched from DHTML to Adobe Flash in coding.

Offline messaging Offline messaging, a feature long offered by Yahoo!, allows online users to send messages to their contacts, even if said contacts are not signed in at the time. The sender’s offline contacts will receive these messages when they next go online.

Games There are various games and applications available that can be accessed via the conversation window by clicking the games icon and challenging your current contact. It requires Java to work.


Interoperability

Reasons for Survival

On October 13, 2005, Yahoo! and Microsoft announced plans to introduce interoperability between their two messengers, creating the second largest real time communications service userbase worldwide: 40 percent of all users (AIM currently holds 56 percent). The announcement comes after years of 3rd party interoperability success (most notably, Trillian, Pidgin) and criticisms that the major real time communications services were locking their networks. Microsoft has also had talks with AOL in an attempt to introduce further interoperability, but so far, AOL seems unwilling to participate.

Yahoo Messenger according to me is by far the most feature rich IM software to date. this is one of the major reasons for its survival.

Interoperability between Yahoo! and Windows Live Messenger was launched July 12, 2006. This allows, for Yahoo! and Windows Live Messenger users to chat to each other without the need to create an account on the other service, provided both contacts use the latest versions of the clients. For now, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impossible to talk using the voice service among both messengers.

Compatible software Digsby Adium BitlBee Centericq Fire imeem IMVU Gyachi MECA Messenger meebo Meetro Miranda IM Paltalk Pidgin (formerly Gaim) Proteus Qnext SIM Trillian Trillian Pro Trillian Astra Windows Live Messenger Kopete

Second most important reason is that Yahoo took steps to stop the user attrition which is why the previous two examples failed. As seen in the previous pages yahoo allowed third party multi network softwares to access yahoo messenger data and also made pacts with the two major networks belonging to AOL and Microsoft. Its constant revisions and latest versions with removed bugs is also a plus point, also because it appears in a fresh yet same old feeling with every version. Also the ads and the sdk have led a lot of revenue streams through the messenger making it one of the major subsidiaries of yahoo inc.


References & Bibliography 1. Design Research : Methods and Perspectives ( Edited by Breda Laurel) 2. Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org/en) 3. Qualitative Research (book) 4. Irc Homepage and Academic Section. 5. Reid, E. Electropolis: Communication and Community on Internet Relay Chat. Honours Dissertation, University of Melbourne, 1991. (http://www.irchelp.org/irchelp/communication-research/academic/academic/acade) 6. Google Indexes 7. Contextual Inquiries(book) 8. UK Design Council Desk Report 9. Vanderwaal : The term folksonomy ( http://www.vanderwal.net/folksonomy.html)

Thanks To: Mrs. Sheetal Natu for her guidance on the topic. All my classmates who helped me during the data collection and surveys that i undertook . To the HOD, Mr Anand , the server admin and the administrative staff to give me unrestricted access for unbriddled research work time, and anyone and evryone i have failed to mention here.


This work is a project under Design Process and Methodology Module of the Symbiosis Institute of Design. All rights belong to Apurv Ray and the owner of the original source. The matter here may not be published or re printed or copied in any form digital or analog without the prior permission from Apurv Ray or the Director, Symbiosis Institute of Design AND the original source author. You are free to use this matter for educational purposes and uncommercial purpose under the creative commons agreement 8.1


Apurv Ray CD 07050221017 Symbiosis Institute Of Design 5th Dec 2008, Pune


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