Research on new media social influences and context

I recently dug up predictions Gartner made in January 2010 about IT and new media (Gartner’s recent predictions are referenced here [.pdf]). The two 2010 predictions that piqued my interest are:

  • By 2012, Facebook will become the hub for social network integration and Web socialization.
  • By 2015, context will be as influential to mobile consumer services and relationships as search engines are to the Web.

social hub reverb

Following the “Facebook as hub” meme as a research concept, I came across empirical studies focusing on the Web and “socialization” of family units (i.e., new media as a “hub” within the family unit). Similarly, I wanted to see if empirical research existed that explored how “context” is defined or determined via computer science. I found two interesting studies:

Relating to tech-media “socialization”:

Media, Communication and Information Technologies in the European Family. A couple of key findings:

  • (Finding 1) Two tech-media trends contribute to familial tension. Trend one: families using emerging media to generate and reinforce communal experiences. Trend two: increasingly personalized consumption of media used in private spaces. These trends consistently collide and cause familial tension.
  • (Finding 2) Promoting media literacy (which one could extrapolate to mean “Internet literacy”) is a key policy concern given “today’s technologically convergent, globalised market” and is critical to ensuring that individuals have the means and methods to participate in all spheres of society.

Facebook—despite its autocratic set of rules—could be seen as an enabler of promoting “new media literacy”, essentially a democratizing and leveling tool regarding “Web socialization” globally.

Relating to “context”:

Context-Aware Recommender Systems is an excellent academic article exploring how a recommender system uses “context” as a primary factor to deliver relevant results. The authors distill “context” using six vectors: data mining, e-commerce personalization, ubiquitous mobile data, database management systems, effective information retrieval, marketing and management processes. Further, @briansolis authored a great post, Behaviorgraphics Humanize the Social Web, where he essentially argues that understanding behavior is a key factor in determining and understanding context, which will enable marketers to more meaningfully and relevantly communicate with individuals who are within social networks.

Photo credit: ViaMoi


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