The iConference, in collaboration with FUSE Labs of Microsoft Research, is pleased to announce the second iConference Social Media Expo. The exposition is designed to showcase exceptional interdisciplinary research and development work from iSchool programs specializing in social media. Students are asked to form interdisciplinary teams of 3-5 students to conduct a specific research, design, development or community-engagement project. Each project should explore a technological solution to meeting a concrete need or opportunity around the theme of leveraging social media to foster a smarter society. See below for more detail on this year’s theme.
Selection for participation will involve two stages. First, by November 1, 2013, a faculty sponsor must express an interest in participating in the iConference Social Media Expo on behalf of their students with a one page Letter of Interest. See template Letter of Interest below.
Second, by December 2, 2013, final projects will be submitted for consideration in the form of 4 page abstracts and a 3-5 minute video. See below for submission instructions.
A panel of reviewers in the iSchool community will select the best student projects to be invited to present at the iConference Social Media Expo. Selection will be based on three criteria: clarity of the expressed need or opportunity; creativity in approach; evidence that both social and technological sciences contribute to the solution.
Participating iSchools will receive a grant of $3,000 to cover an estimated 50 percent of the cost for their selected team to attend the iConference, with the expectation the school will cover the remaining costs.
The iConference Social Media Expo is only open to student teams from member-institutions of the iSchools organization. Although we seek to involve a representative team from many iSchools as possible, this year’s final selections will be made based on each project’s merit. More than one group may be selected from a given school if so warranted by the quality of submissions.
All accepted submissions will be published in the IDEALS open repository.
- November 1, 2013: Faculty sponsors for participating student groups submit a one page Letter of Interest, see instructions below.
- December 2, 2013: Student groups submit 4 page abstracts with 3-5 minute videos summarizing their group projects.
- December 16, 2013: Student groups are notified if they are invited to participate in the iConference Social Media Expo.
- March 4-7, 2014: iConference Social Media Expo 2014 at the iConference in Berlin, Germany.
The 2014 Challenge—Leveraging Social Media to Foster Smarter Societies
In the past decade—with the advent of big social data and participatory social media—one of the most striking transformations in people’s everyday experiences with technology is that computing has extended its reach beyond the home and the enterprise and into the town square. [Citation: Smart societies: from citizens as sensors to collective action; http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2486227.2486249]
Societal computing embodies a vision of social technology as an instrument for gaining awareness of societal patterns, and for supporting large-scale collective action. Looking to the future, we believe the most innovative work will emerge from interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration, and through the Social Media Expo we seek to inspire that conversation with a growing number of individuals and groups actively engaged with this topic.
How do we leverage large scale socio-technical systems toward a smarter society?
Social media in particular has properties that enable emergent, networked groups of people to develop a new awareness of large-scale societal patterns, and to engage in large-scale collective action, collaborating to achieve common social goods. We see this often in the context of public, bottom-up, agile, ad-hoc organizations at the level of neighborhoods, cities, countries, and even global communities.
Toward societal self-awareness: Examining large-scale social data helps us understand and reflect on historical and real-time aggregate behavior. This information analysis is useful not only to governments and large organizations but also to average citizens, who can gain a deeper understanding of their society.
Toward collective action: These new social media tools, platforms, channels, and practices facilitate civic engagement—those civic and political activities motivated by a desire for social change—ranging from community awareness to voting, from government accountability to public dissent. Such civic media is motivated by a desire to foster social change in both local and global communities. The low-effort, participatory, networked communication of social media now enables a variety of individual and organizational structures to achieve the key tasks of collective action heretofore largely the domain of formal organizations: identifying people with common interests, communicating with them as a group, and coordinating their efforts.
How would you, as an interdisciplinary team, recommend we foster our goals of societal self-awareness and collective action through socio-technical systems?
FUSE Labs as an R&D team would approach this problem with a combination of user research, design explorations, prototyping, real world deployments with usage analysis, or community engagement. We encourage you to answer this question with a similarly interdisciplinary approach – involving at least two of these various stages. Through a combination of design stages and methodologies, your team should provide a strong argument for an innovative solution to the stated problem.
We expect projects may incorporate user research, design, prototyping, and/or system evaluation around topics such as:
- Collecting and evaluating big social data
- Statistical/algorithmic work for detecting and summarizing societal patterns
- Visualization of societal patterns
- Designing for large scale collective action
- Supporting emergent, community-based civic activities in addition to direct governmental involvement
Template Letter of Interest
Faculty: Please use the following template for your Letter of Interest, adapted to your particular school, program, or course. The information to be provided by you is in brackets. Once you submit your Letter of Interest, you will receive an acknowledgment. Faculty sponsors are expected to provide some guidance to student groups in submitting their projects, and one faculty sponsor from each school will be required to provide reviews (in short form) for submissions from his or school. Please send your Letter of Interest via email to Shelly Farnham (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 1, 2013.
Date: November 1, 2013
To: Shelly Farnham, FUSE Labs Microsoft Research (email@example.com)
From: [School’s faculty sponsor and primary contact person]
Subject: Letter of Interest for the iConference Social Media Expo 2014
I am writing to express interest on behalf of [your program, your school, student group(s)] in participating in the iConference’s Social Media Expo.
About us: [Provide a description of your school, related social media program(s) or course(s) involved, if applicable, and the character of students involved.]
Participating student groups: [Provide a description of how you expect student groups to participate: as a part of a class, several classes, independent study, on their own.]
We acknowledge that our submission is not guaranteed acceptance; final selections for presentation at the iConference Social Media Expo will be decided by the committee based on merit. We further acknowledge that should our entry be accepted, we will receive a $3,000 US grant, expected to cover about 50 percent travel and conference fee expenses for our school’s participating student group–and that we will make our best effort to cover the remaining travel costs through our own fund-raising efforts. Finally, I agree to provide reviews (short form ratings) of the projects submitted from my school. [Note: in the previous year, 1-5 projects were submitted from each participating school; this year, more than one entry per school may be selected, if quality so warrants.]
My contact information is provided below:
Abstract Submission Guidelines
Length: Abstract can be up to 4 pages, no more than 2,500 words.
Format: Submissions should be in PDF format. Copy should be single-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font, no title page. All submissions must be in English.
Submit: Upload the abstract to the iConference submission site: https://www.conftool.com/iConference2014/
Video Submission Guidelines
Length: 3-5 minutes.
Format: We accept any format that may be successfully uploaded to YouTube, including QuickTime Movie, MP4 Video, Windows Media Video. Accepted submissions will be posted in our 2014 YouTube channel, so we recommend that you please test your submission’s formatting by uploading and playing it on YouTube.
Size: Video file should be 130 megabytes or less.
Title Slide: Include a title slide in your video that has your project title, student names, and school.
Submit: Submit your video by uploading it to a file sharing system and sending the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to give your file a unique and easily identifiable name. Dropbox or SkyDrive preferred.
Tips for improved video submission quality:
- Immediately state your problem, and describe how your project explores or answers the problem
- Avoid too many talking heads, use a voice over instead
- Use illustrative slides, screen animations, photos, or video clips where possible
- Add an underlying music track
- Review last year’s videos for more insights:
Recommended video editing software:
Most Macs and PCs will have pre-installed or free-to-download video editing software, such as MovieMaker or iMovie. (See: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/best-free-video-editing-software/ for recommendations.) Tools such as Camtasia may be used for screen capturing presentations or software demonstrations with voice-overs, and often come with free trial periods.
Letters of Interest: email to Shelly Farnham (email@example.com). Due Nov. 1, 2013.
4-Page Abstract: upload to the iConference submission site: https://www.conftool.com/iConference2014/ Due Dec. 2, 2013
3-5 Minute Video: Upload a file sharing system, Dropbox or SkyDrive preferred. Send the link to Shelly Farnham (firstname.lastname@example.org). Be sure to give your file a unique and easily identifiable name. Due Dec. 2, 2013.
Shelly D. Farnham, Ph.D. (email@example.com)
FUSELabs, Microsoft Research
Andres Monroy-Hernandez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FUSELabs, Microsoft Research
Robert M. Mason (email@example.com)
Information School, University of Washington
Lai Ma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
School of Information and Library Studies, University College Dublin
About FUSE Labs
Microsoft Research, FUSE Labs is a world-class research and rapid prototyping lab focused on innovation in social technologies, thinking 3-5 years out. The lab works in partnership with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work. FUSE Labs experiences give users new ways to create, connect and collaborate with the people, information and ideas that matter to them. Learn more at: http://fuse.microsoft.com/
Questions about the Social Media Expo be directed to the Organizing Committee listed above. Logistical questions having to do with the conference in general can be addressed to to Conference Coordinator Clark Heideger.