I have been doing a lot of work in a variety of areas. Below are summaries of all of my projects. If you want to know about ongoing projects, check out the project pages.
Creepy experiences when using technology
At this stage in the development of personal information and communication technologies, many people are essentially creeped out (or, if they knew, would be creeped out) by the information sharing behaviors of the applications and services which they have integrated into their daily lives. Collins English dictionary defines creepy as “having or causing a sensation of repulsion, horror, or fear, as of creatures crawling on the skin”. finiding a particular experience “creepy” is a kind of emotional experience that is difficult to articulate, but it can also serve as an indication of a disjuncture between the way developers and users experience and interpret functions or applications. The goals of this project are: to develop a practical theory of creepiness, its varieties, and its temporalities (e.g., does creepiness fade over time with familiarity, and if so, what replaces it?); to consider how we might design to address, challenge and reconsider data sharing, disclosure and creepiness.
Disclosure, ambiguity and risk on real-time dating sites
This project considers what we can learn solely from structural analysis of large social network datasets as well as how we can enrich our understanding and ability to exploit these datasets through qualitative methods. The dating and casual sex site under investigation is unique because it has a publically visible social network, allowing us to examine issues like social influence. This dataset touches directly on issues of disclosure and presentation in a virtual environment and such sensitive topics as HIV status and drug use. Here, better understanding of use patterns and information disclosure can have significant public health implications.
Cultural Meanings of Personal Networks
This study is focused on how access to the Internet and existing traditional expectations of the role of friendship in daily life shape the use and the understanding of Russian-language social network sites. Although the primary focus of this research is on relationship maintenance and the meaning relationships hold for individuals involved in them, investigating relationships in non-western contexts necessarily leads to a range of questions related to issues of the politics of access, transnationality, cultural differences, locality and mediation.
Effects of Surveillance on Paroled Sex-Offenders in Southern California
This interdisciplinary project, led by Drs. Paul Dourish and Simon Cole from UCI, considers the effects of surveillance on paroled sex offenders in Southern California, who are tracked via satellite positioning as part of their parole conditions. Results from this work suggest that location-based systems must be conceptualized as embedded in forms of social and cultural participation. The presence of the GPS system not only directly affects parolee’s behavior in terms of patterns of movement, but also redefines the meaning of urban mobility, location and presence as points on a map for their parole officers.
Residential Mobility, Technology & Social Ties
Proximity generally increases the likelihood of personal and work relationships, and geographic mobility disrupts them. Is this true in the Internet age? My dissertation research examines how information and communication technologies, such as cellular phones and the Internet, change the initiation, maintenance, and dissolution of friendships for recent movers. This research also attempts to understand what factors influence psychological and social adjustment to the new location after a residential move.
Internet and Social Relationships
The Internet opens new options for communication and may change the extent to which people use older communication media. Changes in the way people way people communicate are important, because communication is the mechanism people use to develop and maintain social relationships, so valuable for their physical and mental health. I was involved several studies on this topic, analyzing data from two national longitudinal surveys and conducting a meta-analysis of existing large-scale national surveys that examined how people’s Internet use affects their social interaction. This work was conducted with Sara Kiesler, Robert Kraut, Bonka Boneva, Lee Rainie and a number of other collaborators.
Engaging the city
Socio-technical research on the urban environment often treats a city’s citizens as simply a dense population of users. This research, conducted with Michele Chang (Red Design), Chet Orloff (Oregon State) & Katrina Junginckel (Surrey University), attempted to advance discussion on the role of public interfaces in engaging citizens within the urban context. The aim was to determine how technology can help to develop cities that address the needs and reflect the desires of its inhabitants. The challenge was to work toward designing more effective public interfaces that provide citizens with more active access, authorship, and agency. This work resulted in a CHI 2005 workshop, featured in the Oregonian (a Portland, OR newspaper) and a special issue of IEEE Computer on Urban Computing, published September 2006.