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Patrick Tierney (M, 33)
Princeton, US
Immortal since Oct 7, 2007
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    Chat Circles



    Judith Donath lectured today at Broad Art Center today, and for those who missed it, she's the director of the Sociable Media Group in the MIT media lab. She described a few of her projects, most of which are based around Second Life. My favorite project was rather old one, but one that suggests how we could communicate on the web.

    The project is called Chat Circles, and is similar to simple chat program like AIM or Google except that the user must place their circle avatar in a specific location in a large, scrolling, 2d window. All other people catting on the system are represented by circle avatars, though you only see the messages of the people nearby. While this might lead to some people being able to snoop in on your conversations, the power of this method is that suddenly your chats have a focus. On aim, each of your conversations carry the same attention-weight. (which can be appealing, I suppose) However, with Chat Circles you can definitively announce (as in real life) who you are paying the most attention to. You form more tangible groups, you hang out.

    On a related note, she talked of a study that says people are more likely to lie if they are communicating to an avatar with a face than if they are communicating purely by text. Go figure. It has something to do with the fact that when you see a human face, you enter into a social mode, where you try more to impress people rather than stick to facts.

    Tue, Oct 9, 2007  Permanent link

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