Chapter 1: Experience, Disaster, and the Social Web

Chapter 1 defines the concept of social web systems, discussing the need for an interdisciplinary worldview for architecting these technologies, and gives an overview of the disasters surveyed in this book. Such an examination is, in itself, an interdisciplinary task, for any analysis of the tools for building the social web must take into account the many systems that mediate communication among people, organizations, and technologies. Discussing the need for shared perspectives, this book calls for research and practice that can aid in eliminating boundary areas. We need to move beyond traditional concepts of communication, networks, and participation.

Chapter 2: Methods for Researching and Architecting the Social Web

Chapter 2 takes a deep dive into the theory and methods presented in this book. This chapter discusses how experience architects can use actor-network theory as a method for architecting effective systems of communication. Researching how people find and exchange information, share links, offer assistance, and so on is important for understanding how individuals can and do work to locate, validate, and distribute content. This framework, in turn, provides a mechanism for tracing these scenarios and tasks in order for architects to make visible the work of both the participants and users of mediated systems.

Chapter 3: Locating Data in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Chapter 3 examines how everyday people and websites situate data, discovering what kinds of data are contextually useful and how to then create participatory spaces for that data to flourish. The cases in this chapter are in a perpetual state of data, unable to move forward because of gatekeeping, mismatches, and misunderstandings in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Discovering how participants locate data can lead architects to an understanding of how to build systems that are participant centered. We can create systems that allow for improved information flows—a difficult task, as illustrated by these case studies.

Chapter 4: Validating Information during the London Bombings

Chapter 4 employs numerous case studies to illustrate how everyday participants in the social web verify and validate content across their networks. These cases illustrate how participants turned data into information, repurposing and linking people, websites, networks, and various other sources during the London bombings. Observing and analyzing how individuals and technologies verify information is central to understanding how communicators can better research these interactions and design for these experiences. Looking specifically at high-pressure cases during disasters, researchers can see how participants make use of the tools available and architects can envision new solutions for products and services.

Chapter 5: Transferring Knowledge During the Mumbai Attacks

Chapter 5 analyzes how content was redistributed to the community as knowledge during the Mumbai attacks. This knowledge-making stage is an important step in moving information outward to people who need it most. By observing and analyzing such interactions, researchers can understand how these systems work and experience architects can learn how to design for them.

Chapter 6: Architecting Systems for Participation

Chapter 6 discusses the major issues surrounding the role of experience architects for researchers, practitioners, and educators. It reviews recent disasters and the ways these events have affected social web tools and their participants. In technical communication literature, the site of study is typically the workplace. The social uses of technology—the communication issues of everyday experience—typically go unnoticed by our discipline. However, these sites of everyday use and participation are rich with examples of how people communicate outside the authorities of large organizations, corporations, and other institutions. 


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