Designing Complementary Communication Systems

3d9538e87b7f35791ac3bdc35f246549?s=47 Drew Harry
July 24, 2012

Designing Complementary Communication Systems

We have long assumed that being face-to-face is the best environment for social interaction. But is "being there" the best we can aspire to? One common approach to improving face-to-face contexts is to add new communication channels — a strategy often described as creating "backchannels." In my work, I use a series of novel complementary communication systems to show both how adding communication platforms to collaborative situations can be useful while also arguing for a new conceptual model of side stages (in the Goffman sense) that contrasts with the traditional model of backchannels. I will describe a series of projects that embody this approach and explore its limits. This will include work on virtual world meetings and presentations, an audience interaction tool for large groups (backchan.nl), a tablet-based system for small group discussions (Tin Can), and a platform for connecting huge distributed audiences (ROAR). In each of these projects I will trace my three major research themes: understanding how conversational grounding operates in these environments, how non-verbal actions complement text-based interaction, and how people make decisions about how to manage their attention in environments with multiple simultaneous communication channels.

3d9538e87b7f35791ac3bdc35f246549?s=128

Drew Harry

July 24, 2012
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  1. Drew Harry Speech + Mobility MIT Media Lab July 24,

    2012 Chris Schmandt Judith Donath Wanda Orlikowski Principal Research Scientist MIT Media Lab Former Associate Professor, Media Arts and Sciences Faculty Fellow, Harvard University Berkman Center Professor of Information Technologies and Organization Studies MIT Sloan School of Business Designing Complementary Communication Systems
  2. whisper picture flickr / TRJA

  3. flickr / eston

  4. flickr / Tommy Huynh

  5. chat / IM slide flickr / stephanridgway

  6. flickr / joi

  7. Front Channel Back Channel

  8. Front Channel Back Channel

  9. Back Stage Front Stage

  10. Back Stage Front Stage

  11. Side Stage Main Stage

  12. Attention Nonverbal Actions Grounding

  13. Attention Nonverbal Actions Grounding

  14. Attention Nonverbal Actions Grounding

  15. Attention Nonverbal Actions Grounding

  16. Attention Nonverbal Actions Grounding

  17. flickr / kylesteed

  18. Cisco Telepresence

  19. Apple Facetime, 2010

  20. Not everyone is equally comfortable participating. People talk one-at-a-time; simultaneous

    speaking is viewed as impolite. Details of your identity are available to everyone, and influence the reception of your contributions.
  21. None
  22. My Work

  23. Panel Q&A Class Discussion Spectating flickr / curatorsintl flickr /

    Nic McPhee Virtual Meetings
  24. Panel Q&A Class Discussion Spectating flickr / curatorsintl flickr /

    Nic McPhee Virtual Meetings backchan.nl ROAR Tin Can Class Information Spaces backchan.nl ROAR
  25. Virtual Spaces Lifton et al. 2009 Harry et al. 2008

    Harry 2008 Harry et al. 2007
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  31. Interface Friction Nonverbal Actions

  32. backchan.nl Harry, et al. 2009

  33. flickr/paigebuilt

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  40. 791 Events 2125 Sessions 20430 Posts 14302 Users 61475 Votes

  41. Competing with Screens Attention

  42. Public Displays Grounding

  43. Tin Can Harry, et al. 2012

  44. None
  45. Ideas Topics Time Engagement Presence Participation

  46. Ideas Topics Time Engagement Presence Participation

  47. None
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  49. 19 Students 22 Hours 119 Topics 839 Ideas

  50. Promotion Nonverbal Actions

  51. “I feel like [the professor] would be a speaker for

    people who couldn’t speak, you know. The fact that he was really into Tin Can, so he would read something that [a student] had written and be like oh, I want to quote this or talk about it and [act] as a spokesman for people who aren’t really comfortable speaking”
  52. Which stage is main? Attention

  53. “I can remember a particular ... presentation that he was

    doing a lot of PowerPoint, I think he was completely oblivious to the Tin Can conversation and [the Tin Can conversation] ended up going in a very good direction ... as a result, I do not remember anything he said, because ... the conversation on Tin Can was a little more engaging”
  54. Intro Design Conclusion Study “gave more people a chance to

    say things that they wouldn’t say”
  55. Intro Design Conclusion Study “something that was on my side,

    so to speak. You know what I mean? ... Like it was a resource.”
  56. ROAR

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  62. yes no no yes backchan.nl ROAR Tin Can Information Spaces

    backchan.nl ROAR Main Stage Mediated?
  63. public public private private backchan.nl ROAR Tin Can Information Spaces

    backchan.nl ROAR Display Type
  64. rare occasional often often backchan.nl ROAR Tin Can Information Spaces

    backchan.nl ROAR Side Stage Attention
  65. 10–20 20–500 10–20 1,000–100,000 backchan.nl ROAR Tin Can Information Spaces

    backchan.nl ROAR Audience Size
  66. Drew Harry Speech + Mobility MIT Media Lab July 24,

    2012 Chris Schmandt Judith Donath Wanda Orlikowski Principal Research Scientist MIT Media Lab Former Associate Professor, Media Arts and Sciences Faculty Fellow, Harvard University Berkman Center Professor of Information Technologies and Organization Studies MIT Sloan School of Business Questions?