* The European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work 2003 * Workshop on Inhabiting Virtual Places: Social Context in Online Work Places WORKSHOP AIMS As work becomes more global and distributed, being able to support informal interactions that are not face to face becomes more important. Modern communication technologies increasingly situate interpersonal interactions virtually. This has had an enormous impact on people's social networks and work relationships, as communication media increasingly allow being able to connect people, wherever they might be, synchronously, as well as asynchronously. While, these changes have not lessened the importance of place, be it virtual or physical, in shaping interaction patterns and discourse, they have altered the resources available for individuals to make decisions about those they are working with, and thus their behavior. This workshop aims to explore the myriad of ways that: 1) The design of virtual or hybrid spaces / places sets up the conditions for ongoing interactions 2) Work groups use interactions in virtual spaces to create shared meaning. These explorations will in turn be used to examine aspects of social and cognitive behavior online, and how they might differ between work and leisure related virtual places. Organizers Christine A. Halverson Social Computing Group, IBM T. J. Watson Research Quentin Jones Information Systems Department, College of Computing Sciences, New Jersey Institute of Technology Important Information: Send submissions to: [log in to unmask] Deadline for submission: June 7, 2003 Notification of Acceptance: by June 23, 2003 Workshop Date: Monday, September 15, 2003 GOALS and OBJECTIVES Many kinds of work are becoming more global and distributed, while increased costs often demand, not that people hop on planes, but that business be conducted in some other way: telephone, video, and increasingly via instant messaging (IM), online portals, and virtual communities. Situating interpersonal interactions virtually is impacting people’s social networks, work relationships, and work practices—a trend that has always accompanied distributed work (Chalmers 2001) .Place, whether virtual or physical, is still vital in shaping interaction patterns and discourse. However, the medium may have altered the resources available for individuals to make decisions about those they are working with, and thus their behavior. While we have moved away from the notion that virtualization of interpersonal communications has necessarily led, as Meyrowitz’s (Meyrowitz 1985) describes it, to a sense of placeless-ness we do not yet understand how "place-ness" comes to be in a virtual space (Harrison and Dourish 1996) . It is widely accepted among computer-mediated communication researchers that cyberspace abounds with virtual places within which vibrant interactions occur and some of which become associated with community (Rheingold 1993; Preece 1998) . Our goal is to better understand how virtual places are successfully inhabited. This task is made even more pressing by our burgeoning understanding of the importance of informal interactions in the workplace (Bellotti and Bly 1996; Isaacs, Walendowski et al. 2002) .We posit that creating virtual community, whether for work or leisure, requires not just a virtual space/place, but inhabiting it successfully. Living in a virtual place, like a physical place, engages our perception and cognition. We need cues to perceive others' behavior, and we need to make inferences about what that behavior means in order to successfully interact with them (Erickson, Smith et al. 1999) . This workshop aims to explore how the design of virtual spaces sets up the conditions for ongoing interactions, and how work groups use interactions in virtual spaces to create shared meaning. Among the questions we hope participants will take on are the following: · Is ease of habitation designed into place? Are social rules dictated? Or renewed and altered through interactions on some regular basis? · What cues provide a context for understanding online behavior? · What's the balance between play and seriousness in a work place? · How does the supporting technology impact users' interactions? · What is the interaction between the design of user interfaces and the ability of the participants to create a viable place for social interaction? · What theoretical constructs have been useful to you in understanding how interactions in community places have enabled people to stays tied together? A variety of disciplines are pertinent to these explorations, including architecture, sociology, linguistic and discourse analyses, and design. Each one approaches the ideas of place and common ground for interaction from a slightly different perspective, and level of detail. Other disciplines may have pertinent insights and approaches. For example, facial expression, gesture, and audible cues are all prevalent in face to face interaction. Online cues might be extended to auditory and haptic modalities. We would like to encourage them all. There have been a number of past community workshops, covering formation of communities, construction of infrastructures and understanding aspects of group formation and vitality. Recently there has been more emphasis on how to study and understand active communities. We would like to expand this to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved as they relate to inhabiting virtual space, thus creating place and community. WORKSHOP ORGANIZATION If participants agree, activities will start with dinner at a local restaurant the night preceding the full day workshop. Prior to ordering dinner a general orientation of the workshop will be given by the organizers, along with introductions. During dinner participants will present their submissions. They will be given a maximum of 3 minutes to speak. This dinner meeting will enable us to maximize the full day workshop. Accepted participants will be expected to have read the positions papers before attending the dinner and the workshop. The full day will be divided into a number of interactive sessions, rather than just presentation of position papers. The exact details will depend upon the position papers received, however we hope to: 1) Explore participants’ examples of how the design of virtual place provides common ground for user interactions; 2) Examine how communities use public interactions in virtual spaces to create shared meaning; and 3) Look at the impact of virtual behavior on community development and maintenance. and the final organization will be adapted to take into account the number expected and the range of submissions. Ideally, we expect about 12-15 participants, but could expand up to 20. If size approaches the maximum we will adjust the workshop organization to spend some time broken into small groups so that the quality of the discussions remains high. By the end of the workshop participants will have catalogued design differences, cues, and behaviors in various virtual settings, and explored how they support behavior in work related spaces. If attendance is high we may break into subgroups for more intense discussion. If this is the case then each smaller group will report back with their key ideas PARTICIPATION Participants will be selected on the basis of position papers submitted prior to the workshop. Proposals should be no longer than 6 pages and should include description of the following aspects. 1) An existing place used to support community (or communities), including information about whether or not it is a work community and ; 2) An examination of how the place/s under consideration provides cues and common ground for user interactions, and ; 3) Theoretical ideas or approaches that help you understand context and social interaction, or; 4) Analysis of similarities or differences between a work related and a leisure related community. Position papers should explain how the author’s work relates to the workshop theme. We are particularly interested in seeing perspectives at a variety of levels, ranging from meta views to micro-scale analyses. Position papers will be reviewed by the workshop organizers Submissions should be sent to [log in to unmask] by June 7, 2003. Position papers will be reviewed by the workshop organizers and notification of acceptance will be by June 23, 2003. We encourage a wide range of participants. System architects and designers who have thought about and implemented supports for social interaction, social psychologists, linguists and sociologists who have studied online interactions, and others we may not have previously considered. ORGANIZERS' BIOS Christine Halverson is a researcher in the Social Computing Group at IBM Research. She is involved with the development and analysis of systems to help work groups interact collaboratively over networks. Her analytic approaches have included visualizations, linguistic analysis, online participation and observations among others. Her research group has designed and deployed a number of online systems including BABBLE & Loops. http://www.research.ibm.com/SocialComputing/ Quentin (Gad) Jones is an Assistant Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Prior to his current position, Quentin was a researcher at AT&T Labs, New Jersey. Before living in the United States he was a doctoral student in Information Systems at Hebrew and Haifa Universities Israel. Quentin's research focus is on understanding mass interaction ecologies that result in thriving virtual communities. His current community projects include ContactMap, and GeoMemory. RELATED PAST WORKSHOPS Jones, Q. and Halverson, C. The Role of Place in Shaping Virtual Community, CSCW 2002 Erickson T., Herring S., Sack W., Discourse Architectures: The Design and Analysis of Computer-Mediated Conversation. CHI 2002. Erickson T., and Herring S., "Persistent Conversation" workshops at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) from 1999-2002 Farnham S., Smith M., et. al. Integrating Diverse Research and Development Approaches to the Construction of Social Cyberspaces. CHI 2001 Bruckman A., Erickson T., et. al. Dealing with Community Data, CSCW 2000 Muller M., and Friedman J., Electronic Communities: Places and Spaces, Contents and Boundaries. CHI 2000 Barbesino et. al. Designing Across Borders: The Community Design of Community Networks. CSCW 1998. Toomey L., Tang J., Adams L., and Gloria Mark Designing Virtual Communities for Work. CSCW 1998 Bruckman A., Erickson T., et. al. Workshop on Research Issues in the Design of Online Communities. CHI 1999 REFERENCES Bellotti, V. and S. Bly (1996). Walking away from the desktop computer: distributed collaboration and mobility in a product design team. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Boston, MA, ACM. Chalmers, M. (2001). "Place, media, and activity." ACM SIGGROUP Bulletin 22(3): 38-42. Erickson, T., D. N. Smith, et al. (1999). Socially Translucent Systems: Social Proxies, Persistent Conversation, and the Design of Babble. Human Factors in Computing: The Proceedings of CHI 99, Pittsburgh, PA, ACM Press. Harrison, S. and P. Dourish (1996). Re-place-ing space: the roles of place and space in collaborative systems. ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Boston, MA, ACM. Isaacs, E., A. Walendowski, et al. (2002). The Character, Functions, and Styles of Instant Messaging in the Workplace. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), New Orleans, LA, ACM. Meyrowitz, J. (1985). No sense of place. New York, Oxford University Press. Preece, J. (1998). "Empathic communities: reaching out across the Web." interactions 5(2): 32-43. Rheingold, H. (1993). The virtual community. Homsteading on the electronic frontier. Reading, MA., Addison-Wesley.