Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Managing attention in the social web: the AtGentNet approach in Human Attention in Digital Environments Claudia Roda (Ed.), Cambridge University Press (2011)

By transforming the Web into a massive social space, Web 2.0 has opened a vast set of opportunities for people to interact with one another using online social networking, blogs, wikis or social bookmarking. But at the same time such a phenomenon has created the conditions for a massive social interaction overload: people are being overwhelmed by solicitations and opportunities to engage in social exchange but they have few means by which to deal effectively with this new level of interaction. The objective of this chapter is to investigate the use of ICT (information and communication technologies) to support online social interactions in a more attention-effective way. This is achieved by adapting to a social context a general model (Roda and Nabeth 2008) which defines four levels of attention support: perception, deliberation, operation and metacognition. We then describe how the support of social attention has been operationalized with the implementation of the attention-aware social platform AtGentNet, and tested in the context of communities of learners and professionals. After discussing the results of the experimentation, this chapter concludes by reflecting on how this approach can be generalized to support the interaction of people in the social web in general.