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On Wayfaring in Social Machines

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWWW '15 Companion Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-3473-0
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2015


In this paper, we concern ourselves with the ways in which humans inhabit social machines: the structures and techniques which allow the enmeshing of multiple life traces within the flow of online interaction. In particular, we explore the distinction between transport and journeying, between networks and meshworks, and the different attitudes and modes of being appropriate to each. By doing this, we hope to capture a part of the sociality of social machines, to build an understanding of the ways in which lived lives relate to digital structures, and the emergence of the communality of shared work. In order to illustrate these ideas, we look at several aspects of existing social machines, and tease apart the qualities which relate to the different modes of being. The distinctions and concepts outlined here provide another element in both the analysis and development of social machines, understanding how people may joyfully and directedly engage with collective activities on the web.

    Research areas

  • co-creation,design,social machines,sociality,wayfaring

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