Nassim Jafarinaimi (2012) Exploring the Character of Participation in Social Media: The Case of Google Image Labeler, Proceeding iConference ’12 Proceedings of the 2012 iConference
Social media are transforming interpersonal and social interactions, enabling new forms of engagement and participation. However, we know little about how the specific design qualities of social media affect social interaction in these environments. Considering the diversity of social media today, there is a need to engage with specific cases to discern possible patterns of relationship between designed characteristics of social media and the character of participation in them. To illustrate, this paper draws on a case study of the game, “Google Image Labeler.” The design of the game is studied through a close reading of arguments made by its designers followed by an Internet study of what users and critics say about their interactions with the game. These studies, in conjunction with theories of social interaction by John Dewey and Robert Putnam, provide a foundation for a critical stance toward the quality of participation in this game that informs design theory and practice.
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