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Use and Reuse of Shared Lists as a Social Content Type
Werner Geyer, Casey Dugan, Joan DiMicco,
David R Millen, Beth Brownholtz, Michael Muller
IBM T.J. Watson Research
One Rogers Street, Cambridge, MA 02142
{werner.geyer, cadugan, joan.dimicco,
david_r_millen, beth_brownholtz, michael_muller}@us.ibm.com
ABSTRACT
Social networking sites support a variety of shared content
types such as photos, videos, or music. More structured or
form-based social content types are not mainstream but we
have started seeing sites evolve that support them. This
paper describes the design and use of structured lists in an
enterprise social networking system. As a major feature of
our shared lists, we introduced the ability to reuse someone
else’s list. We report the results on the use and reuse of
shared lists based on three months of usage data from 285
users and interviews with 9 users. Our findings suggest that
despite the structured nature of lists, our users socialize
more around lists than photos, and use lists as a medium for
self-representation.
Author Keyw ords
Social
networking,
shared
lists,
collaboration,
reuse,
memes.
ACM Classification Keyw ords
H5.3. Group and Organization Interfaces:
Collaborative
computing
,
Evaluation/methodology,
Web-based
interaction
INTRODUCTION
Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Flickr,
and YouTube attract millions of users. These services are
free
and
provide
an
easy-to-use
platform
for
self-
expression; everyone can participate and the site becomes a
playground for the creativity of millions. These sites
connect people with each other through content and profile
sharing and communication around those. Some sites focus
on a single content type and create communities around
them, for example, photos or videos (e.g. Flickr; YouTube).
Other sites focus more on profiles (e.g. Facebook,
MySpace) and allow sharing of many content types as a
way to both drive traffic and provide multi-faceted
descriptions of people through the multiple content types
users share.
The Beehive research project within IBM explores how a
social networking site inside the enterprise provides value
for business users. Beehive is an opt-in social networking
site that was built with the goal of aiding corporate users
with various people-related challenges in an enterprise.
These challenges include discovering people with the right
skills, staying in touch with team members and former
colleagues, approaching people, and learning about ongoing
projects.
When we designed Beehive, we evaluated many existing
social networking sites. Our goal was to identify content
types for Beehive that would not only connect people
socially but also provide business value. Many existing
sites offer media sharing, such as photos and videos, which
are easy to create and upload and often draw traffic because
of user curiosity. For specialized communities of interest,
such as photographers and journalists, these sites are also of
professional interest. In a business setting, we thought that
photos could be valuable to reveal personal and social
information, for example, photos of business-related events,
vacation, or life events, but might be less effective at
sharing knowledge and information.
Inspired by Top 10 travel guides [9] and Amazon’s
ListMania [15], we thought that shared lists could be an
interesting content type for an enterprise social networking
site. We hypothesized that lists in an enterprise would be
used to discuss opinions and share information related to
the work context, e.g. “My favorite RSS readers,” “Best
lunch places,” or “Useful web design principles.” Since lists
allow users to express preferences and opinions, and put
items into an order, we envisioned that they would spark
controversy between users and provoke social interaction.
This type of communication around shared content is
typically supported through comments.
However, when we designed the shared lists, we thought
that users, when reading a list, might feel compelled to
create their own list about the same topic, either because
they disagree and want to create a list with different items
and ordering, or the topic inspired them to share something
similar. In order to support and track this kind of behavior,
Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for
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bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise,
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specific permission and/or a fee.
CHI 2008, April 5–10, 2008, Florence, Italy.
Copyright 2008 ACM
978-1-60558-011-1/08/04…$5.00.