Constructed Identity and Social Machines: A Case Study in Creative Media Production

Amy Guy, Ewan Klein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Current discussions of social machines rightly emphasise a human's role as a crucial part of a system rather than a user of a system. The human 'parts' are typically considered in terms of their aggregate outcomes and collective behaviours, but human participants are rarely all equal, even within a small system. We argue that due to the complex nature of online identity, understanding participants in a more granular way is crucial for social machine observation and design. We present the results of a study of the personas portrayed by participants in a social machine that produces creative media content, and discover that inconsistent or misleading representations of individuals do not necessarily undermine the system in which they are participating. We describe a preliminary framework for making sense of human participants in social machines, and the ongoing work that develops this further.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Companion Publication of the 23rd International Conference on World Wide Web Companion
Place of PublicationRepublic and Canton of Geneva, Switzerland
PublisherInternational World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-2745-9
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • creative media production, identity, online communities, social machines, user-generated content


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