Robots and Interaction

interactivity, interactivity, museums, Robots

A couple of years ago I visited Laurel Riek at the computer-lab in Cambridge. Laurel introduced me to some of the stunning humanoid robots she was experimenting with. One application for those robots, she said, could be homes for the elderly or homes where people live on their own; those robots could keep these ‘singles’ company.

At a recent meeting of the Digital Sociology Study Group (British Sociological Association) I met Ciara Garattini (@LifeDeathTech) who runs a blog called Life, Death and Technology. On the blog you’ll find a curious collection of items from a link to a photography collection by David Lynch to a notes on a Seminar on Death at Columbia University.

chen

The item that drew my interest was an art installation by Dan Chen, “A Robot that Comforts you at Death’. Like the robots I encountered at the lab in Cambridge this robot is designed to replace human intimacy with technology. Although Chen said he had no plan to commercialise the robot the deployment of these kinds of technologies seems attractive.

Related work has been undertaken in robotics, where for example, Kobayashi and colleagues (2011) developed robots “that provide assisted care, such as serving tea to the elderly in care facilities. They (2011) also experimented with a robotic wheelchair that automatically moves alongside the caregiver. The motivation for the development of such a device is to facilitate easy communication between the person sitting in the wheelchair and the caregiver. At the same time, the caregiver who now can walk alongside the moving wheelchair is not so much seen as the person caring for the wheelchair user but as someone who is with the wheelchair user.

The development of technologies like the robotic wheelchair demonstrates a growing concern in robotics and human-computer interaction to develop technologies that facilitate and support social interaction between people. Another example for technologies designed to enhance cooperation and interaction can be found in museums. For long, technology designers have focused on enhancing the experience of exhibits for the individual viewer or spectator; examples for such ‘individualising’ technologies are audio-guides and PDAs as well as many touch-screen systems. Fairly recently however, technologies have been deployed and experimented with in museums that facilitate cooperation, interaction and discussion. At the Tate Britain the exhibition of Constables landscape paintings was augmented by a large-scale projection that allowed multiple visitors to real the X-Ray image underneath one of the paintings and discover features that Constable had hidden by painting them over with bushes and treas.

In a very way, and this brings us back to the use of robots in museums, Yamazaki and colleagues (2009) deployed a robot in a major art museum in Japan. The robot was designed to draw visitors attention to particular features of a painting and encourage them to examine those features. The robot thereby monitored visitors’ responses to the information it was giving and produce subsequent actions in alignment with the actions of the visitors.

We therefore see two parallel development that might be worthwhile observing over the coming years as they might dovetail as robotics and human-computer interaction take further notice of sociological research of the organisation of interaction: first, there is the development of robots, robotic devices and other interfaces that facilitate interaction of individuals with technology. And second, there are developments that attempt to situate technologies like robots, gesture interface, and the like within social situations. These novel systems and devices are designed with particular care to fit in emerging social interaction, rather than interrupting it.

Technology and Social Interaction

interaction, interactivity, Marketing, public places, Technology

Over the past few weeks an article by Nick Bilton in the New York Times has raised not only eyebrows but also concerns that the journalist may have gone a little far with his argument to abandon commonly accepted and taken for granted ‘rules of conduct’ and courtesy rituals when using technology. Bilton’s article has received more than 500 comments to some of which he has curteously responded and various journalists, writers and academics, including Nick Carr and Evan Selinger, have written pieces addressing some of the issues raised in his piece. Many of the comments and associated pieces call into question Bilton’s main argument that common forms of etiquette are inefficient and a waste of our time.

The debate reflects a growing uneasiness and uncertainty on the “proper” or “acceptable” use of technology in social occasions. In her film Connected Tiffany Shlain recalls a situation with a friend she had not seen for a long time when the urge to check her phone for new messages was so overwhelming that she apologized herself to the toilet just to update herself on the going-ons elsewhere in the world.

The situation Shlain describes is symptomatic for the uneasiness in the use of technology when in social situations. Whilst in some situations it is acceptable to occasionally glance at the phone in others it is not or it is not clear whether or not it is acceptable. A solution to deal with the situation then is to use techniques or methods like ‘an apology from the table’ and temporarily leave the situation. Thus, the sociability and intimacy of the situation is left intact whilst it becomes possible to use the phone away from the table. The deployment of these techniques also reveals that the leave taking from the table is an accountable action and that not all accounts will do as a satisfying explanation for leaving the table. For example, going to the toilet is acceptable whilst saying you want to check your Facebook Wall for updates in press less so.

In other situations, people unproblematically use their phones while with another person. For example, it is quite common for people sitting at a coffee table to pick up the phone and receive or make calls. Over time methods have been developed that allow people to use a cell phone in these situations. For example, when a cell phone rings at a coffee table where two friends converse the call-taker apologies her/himself while picking up the phone and taking the call. The friend then becomes a third-party to the phone conversation and often provides the call-taker privacy by excusing her/himself (e.g. to the toilet) or by engaging in other activities, such as checking her/his own phone, picking up a newspaper or book, or by looking in the distance  (Humphreys 2005). This does not mean, of course that the friend might not feel undermined or undervalued in the situation, in particular when the phone keeps on ringing and interrupting the face-to-face interaction. Hence, in such situations we sometimes decide to switch the phone off and eliminate this influence from the face encounter.

By and large, people nowadays are familiar with the ubiquitiousness of technology. They employ methods that allow them to use technology and at the same time to limit or sanction its use, depending on situational circumstances. They also create situations that are marked by new rules, such as the  “no phones at the dinner table” rule or the “techno shabbath” that ban technology from situations for longer periods. Arguments about the use of  technologies in situations arise relatively rarely and mostly with those who are not familiar with or not adhering to these rules and social conventions.1 For example, children like Evan Selinger’s daughter are being socialized into the use of technology and its fitting within different social contexts.

With regard to email that has been around for considerable time now and that features particularly prominently in Bilton’s NYT piece social conventions have been developed and are deployed on a day-to-day basis. As with the use of other technologies, such as cell phones, mobile game consoles etc., these conventions and rules are not fixed and followed but contingently drawn on and referred to when the acceptability of their use is questioned or challenged. I would presume that Bilton’s efficiency rule with regard to courtesy conduct in email has long been deployed, in certain situations when time was tight. Such conduct that uses efficiency as an account for the withholding of an act of courtesy however also can be detrimental to the very purpose of its accomplishment, e.g. the withholding of a “thank you” in receipt of an email. Most of us probably have encountered situations when the withholding of a simple “thank you” note in response to an email has occasioned an exchange by email or over the phone to confirm the receipt of an email; a “thank you” note in response to the original email would have been much more efficient than its withholding.

How we conduct ourselves and how we refer to and draw on social conventions or etiquettes comes down to the specifics of the situation in which we find ourselves when using technology and to our competencies to conduct ourselves in specific circumstances. The artificial general abandoning of courtesy action by virtue of some kind of rule set by the Biltons of this world would be non-sensical; and Nick Bilton would probably agree with this. Instead, we all gradually adapt our acquired social competencies to the pervasiveness of technology in situations, thereby embedding technology within our lives and those we live with. And as parents we are responsible for providing our children with the knowledge and skills that allow them to act and be seen as acting, competently in technology-rich situations.

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Footnotes

1 With regard to social conventions in “Technolosocial Situations” see also Mizuko Ito‘s research and Tricia Wang‘s work.

Stepwise Exploration of Museums: arguments for a linear organisation of exhibits

exhibitions, interaction, museums, public places, visitors

There are long-standing debates in sociology and museum studies as well as amongst museum practitioners as to the layout of exhibitions, i.e. the organisation of exhibits in a given gallery space. For long, exhibits were organised in a linear order, often reflecting the history or evolution of human kind, art, science and culture. Tony Bennett famously discussed the political debates about the history of museums. He mentions that at the time it was thought that people would acquire knowledge about ‘progress’ by slowly walking along gallery walls, from exhibit to exhibit like “waking brains”. Thus, it was assumed people would see and learn about humankind’s progress as they see the advancement of culture and technology at each next exhibit.

In the recent past the linear organisation of exhibitions has come under sustained criticism. Most recently a post by Nina Simon on her Museum 2.0 blog takes up the controversy about the linear organisation of exhibits by looking at online exhibitions. Nina Simon makes a number of interesting points and towards the end wonders: “I’d love to see research on how open and closed exhibition layouts impact visitor dwell time, satisfaction, and engagement. What have you observed?” When looking at the existing body of research on visitor behaviour in museums it is noteworthy that studies  largely focus on visitors’ experience rather than on the organisation of their visit. That is, in the centre of her interest is the outcome of people’s engagement with exhibits, not the practices through which people make the engagement with exhibits happen. There are of course notable exceptions like Stephen Bitgood‘s studies of circulation in museums and his research on the “economy of movement” (with Stephany Dukes) in malls.

In a related way research at the Bartlett School of Architecture conducted by Kali Tzortzi explores the relationship between the choices of curators and the architecture of museums. Amongst others this research suggests that the visibility of exhibits from various locations in museums influences where visitors go when they navigate museums.

wmc_cluster

Space Syntax (Bartlett School)

Surprisingly perhaps none of this research shows an interest in the ways in which visitors organise the navigation of exhibitions and the examination of exhibits in social interaction with others. However there is a growing body of studies that explores the social organisation of mobility in public places. These studies include research on car driving by Barry BrownEric Laurier, Pentti Haddington and Lorenza Mondada, guided tours by Mathias Broth, and my own research on mobility in museums. My studies investigate how people orient to the material and visible environment while practically organising their exploration of a gallery. For example, the studies I have conductd with my colleagues at the Work, Interaction & Technology Research Centre (King’s College London) explore how visitors to an art museum bring the looking at a Rembrandt painting to a close and jointly move on without disturbing companions or others who happen to be nearby. Or they examine how visitors arrive and come to stop at paintings and begin to look at them together while standing-side-by-side. Whilst the activities like the withdrawing from and moving to a next exhibit or the approach of a next exhibit may seem mundane and uninteresting they are critical for the way in which visitors orient to the layout of exhibits in a gallery.

0070401111001 (from vom Lehn 2006)

In particular with regard to the linear organisation of exhibits in museums it is worthwhile highlighting here that for visitors to be able to see the next exhibit and to already know what (kind of) exhibit that next exhibit is, helps them to organise their visit with others. They use the visibility of (the content of) the next exhibit, e.g. “another self-portrait”, to draw their companion’s attention to that exhibit and away from the exhibit they have been looking at previously. Thus, visitors are able to organise not only their own individual museum visit but also to influence the organisation of the museum visit of their companions. It is worthwhile stressing here that visitors are able to organise their visit in this way not only because the exhibits are organised in a linear way but because of the visibility of what (kind of) exhibit the next one is.

Furthermore, visitors can see whether that possible next exhibit is occupied by other visitors. They glance to the side and notice others looking at it. Thereby, they use the visual and bodily orientation of others at the next exhibit to gauge their state of involvement with this next piece. If visitors notice that the others are about to move on they prepare their departure from the current exhibit and orient to that next one.

In light of these observations it might be worthwhile reconsidering the critique of the linear organisation of exhibits:

– The linearity of the organisation of exhibits in the gallery coupled with a visibility of information about next exhibits can support visitors in aligning their organisation of the navigation of a gallery with that of other people.

– It is not only the visibility of next exhibits that people use to navigate museums but also they use the visibility of exhibits coupled with the visibility of other people’s actions at these exhibits to fashion their own action at the current exhibit.

– A practical viewpoint of research in museums highlights how the organisation of exhibits can help people with little or no preconception of the detailed layout of the exhibition to (practically) organise their museum visit.

for more on the research go here

Marketing & New Technologies (course outline (2011/12))

Technology

Topics and Readings

 

Week 1 (20 January 2012) – Introduction to the Course

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about the “internet revolution” or the “social media revolution”. These discussions principally argue that technological developments are shaping how we conduct our affairs, including how we organise our daily interactions as well as how we conduct marketing activities. This introductory lecture questions this premise that pervades also many marketing textbooks and sheds light on different perspectives on the relationship between marketing and technology.

The lecture also offers information on the practical issues involved in successfully participating in the module, such as the use of online resources, attendance and participation in lectures and tutorials and the modes of assessment operating in the course.

Readings

Bartels, R. (1986). Marketing: Management Technology or Social Process at the Twenty-First Century? In Marketing Management Technology as a Social Process. Edited by George Fisk. New York et al.: Praeger, pp.30-42.

Brassington, D. F., & Pettitt, D. S. (2007). Essentials of Marketing. Harlow/UK: Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.

Liebowirz, S.J. & Margolis, S.E. (1996). The standard typewriter keyboard is exhibit A in the hottest new case against markets. But the evidence has been cooked. http://reason.com/archives/1996/06/01/typing-errors

Marcuse, H., 1989. Some Social Implications of Technology. In A. Arate & E. Gebhardt, eds. The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. London & New York: Continuum International, pp. 138-162.

Gerardi, S., 2006. Some implications of modern technology: Revisited. The Social Science Journal, 43(2), p.293-295.

*Marx, L. (2010). Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous ConceptTechnology & Culture51(3), 561-577.

*Matthewman, S. (2011). Technology and Social Theory. London: Sage. (Chapt. 1)

Rust, R. & Espinoza, F., 2006. How technology advances influence business research and marketing strategy. Journal of Business Research, 59(10-11), 1072-1078.

Week 2 (27 January 2012) – Marketing Technologies

Over the course of its history marketing has developed powerful technologies that nowadays are central to the knowledge disseminated in marketing textbooks like Kotler and colleagues Principles of Marketing. This lecture uses theories and concepts of technology to examine and critically discuss some of the foundations underlying the marketing concepts and related marketing technologies.

Readings

Bowker, G. & Star, S.L., 1999. Sorting Things Out. Classification and its Consequences, Cambridge, MA/London: MIT.

Joerges, B., 1994. Do Politics have Artefacts? Social Studies of Science, 23(1), p.1-20.

Martin, A. & Lynch, M., 2009. Counting Things and People: The Practices and Politics of Counting. Social Problems, 56(2), p.243-266.

*Matthewman, S. (2011). Technology and Social Theory. London: Sage.

*Suchman, L., 1993. Do Categories have Politics? Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Work (JCSCW), 2, p.177-190.

Tadajewski, M., 2006. The ordering of marketing theory: the influence of McCarthyism and the Cold War. Marketing Theory, 6(2), p.163-199.

*Rust, R. & Espinoza, F., 2006. How technology advances influence business research and marketing strategy. Journal of Business Research, 59(10-11), 1072-1078.

*Winner, L., 1986. Do Artifacts have Politics ? In The whale and the reactor: a search for limits in an age of high technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 19-39.

 

Week 3 (3 February 2012) – Exchange, Markets and Networks

Exchange” is largely seen as a “core concept of marketing” (Kotler, Armstrong et al. 2008). Whilst textbooks describe it as a social relationship between two or more participants few studies examine how these relationships are organised to achieve cooperation. Instead, cooperation in exchange relationships is often ascribed to rational decision making; participants exchanging goods and services when they both “have something of value to offer the other” (Kotler, Armstrong et al. 2008: 12). In this view, the properties of money support the emergence of exchange and therefore are key to the development of modern, capitalist economies. Markets

Underlying this concept of money and exchange is the distinction between rational action and other types of social action. In recent years, this distinction has been criticised and the social uses of money have been elaborated on. This lecture examines the relationship between different types of social action, explores the discussion of the social uses of money and the different ways in which exchange may be organised.

Readings

Bartels, R. (1986). Marketing: Management Technology or Social Process at the Twenty-First Century? In Marketing Management Technology as a Social Process. Edited by George Fisk. New York et al.: Praeger, pp.30-42.

*Beckert, J. (2009). The social order of marketsTheory and Society. Vol.28(3), pp.245-269.

Fligstein, N., & Dauter, L. (2007). The Sociology of Markets.Annual Review of Sociology33(1), pp.105-128.

*Granovetter, M., 1973. The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), p.1360-1380.

Portes, A., 1998. Social Capital: Its Origins and Applications in Modern Sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24(1), p.1-24.

Spillman, L., 1999. Enriching Exchange : Cultural Dimensions of Markets. Journal of Economics, 58(4), p.1047-1071.

*Watts, D.J., 1999. Networks, Dynamics, and the Small-World Phenomenon. American Journal of Sociology, 105(2), p.493-527.

Zelizer, V.A., 2011. The Social Meaning of Money : “Special Monies”’. Culture, 95(2), pp.342-377.

Week 4 (10 February 2012) – Social Media (Guest Lecture – Rob Wilmot, BCS)

Rob Wilmot is one of the co-founders of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) Freeserve. Since 1998, the company facilitated mass access to the internet in the UK. After the company was sold for £1.6bn to Wannado in 2001 Rob has been investing in various ventures. He sits on a number of corporate and public sector boards. He also is Chairman at Doncaster College.

One of his current interests are developments in social media and social networking. In his lecture Rob will talk about these developments and their relationship to marketing.

Readings

Baym, N., 2010. Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press

*Benkler, Y., 2007. The Wealth of Networks, Yale University Press. – Chapter 1, p.1-34

Bernoff, J. & Li, C., 2008. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Brogan, C. & Smith, J., 2010. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

*Cova, B. & Dalli, D., 2009. Working consumers: the next step in marketing theory? Marketing Theory, 9(3), p.315-339.

Hamilton, K. & Hewer, P., 2010. Tribal mattering spaces: Social-networking sites, celebrity affiliations, and tribal innovations.Journal of Marketing Management, 26(3), p.271-289.

Katona, Z., Zubcsek, P.P.A.L. & Sarvary, M., 2011. Network Effects and Personal Influences : The Diffusion of an Online Social Network. Journal of Marketing Research, XLVIII(June), p.425-443.

Kirkpatrick, D., 2010. The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World, Virgin Books.

 

Reading Week 5 (17 February 2012)

 

Week 5 (24 February 2012) – Reputation Management

Social networking sites are often used to communicate about brands, products and service. They therefore have become sites where brand image and brand vale are created or co-created with people contributing to the communication. This communication can involve talk about people’s experience with products and services and often also includes communication in which people vent their dissatisfaction with companies. And in some cases, employees submit information to social networking sites that potentially influence the company’s brand image or reputation. This lecture discusses some aspect of reputation management and social networking.

Readings

Bernoff, J., Li, C., 2008. Harnessing The Power of The Oh-So-Social Web, MIT Sloan Management Review, 2008; 49; 3; pp.35-42

Brogan, C. & Smith, J., 2010. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Burt, R., S., 1999. “The Social Capital of Opinion Leaders”, The ANNALS of The American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1999; 566; pp.37-54

Hutton, J., G., Goodman, M., B., Alexander, J., B., Genest, C., M., 2001. “Reputation Management: The New Face of Corporate Public Relations?” Public Relations Review, 2001; 27; pp.247-261

*Ferguson, R., 2008. Word of mouth and viral marketing: taking the temperature of the hottest trends in marketing. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 25(3), p.179 – 182.

Holloman, C., 2012. The Social Media MBA: Your Competitive Edge in Social Media Strategy Development and Delivery, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Katona, Z., Zubcsek, P.P.A.L. & Sarvary, M., 2011. Network Effects and Personal Influences : The Diffusion of an Online Social Network. Journal of Marketing Research, XLVIII(June), p.425 -443.

Miller, D., 2011. Tales from Facebook, Cambridge: Polity Press.

*Rao, H., 1994. “The Social Construction of Reputation: Certification Contests, Legitimation, and The Survival of Organisations in The American Automobile Industry: 1895-1912”, Strategic Management Journal, 1994; 15; pp.29-44

Wartick, S., L., 1992. “The Relationship Between Intense Media Exposure and Change in Corporate Reputation”, Business Society, 1992; 31; pp.33-49

Yu, B., Singh, M., P., 2000. “A Social Mechanism of Reputation Management in Electronic Communities”, Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Cooperative Information Agents, 2000, pp.154-165

 

Week 6 (2 March 2012) – Innovation in Consumer Research (Siamack Salari)

Siamack Salari is founder of Everyday Lives a market and consumer research company that is well known for its innovative use of technology to conduct its studies. The projects of Everyday Lives include video-based research of shopping behaviour as well as detailed ethnographies of how people use products in their day-to-day lives.

Readings

*Belk, R. W. (1995). Studies in the New Consumer Behavior. In D. Miller (ed.) Acknowledging Consumption. London: Routledge, 58-95.

*Belk, R. W., & Kozinets, R. V. (2005). Videography in marketing and consumer research. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal8(2), 128-141.

 

Week 7 (9 March 2012) – Search Marketing

Over the past decade or so two important developments have emerged in the context of Internet Marketing: Search Marketingand Social Media Marketing. The growing economic weight of companies like Google suggest that Search will be one of the important marketing activities over the coming years. It is being used to obtain an understanding of the market as well as for the building of relationships and networks (Marsden and Kirby 2005; Moran and Hunt 2008). The lecture will discuss some of the practices involved in Search Marketing and assess possible problems these practices might raise for the relationship between companies and their customers. It then will turn to Social Media Marketing and explore how social networks like Facebook, Myspace or Jumo are used for marketing purposes, including the design, promotion and distribution of products and services (Penenberg 2009; Scott 2008). The discussion will touch on current debates concerned with viral marketing and online gaming as well as trust and reputation.

Readings

Marsden, P., & Kirby, J. (2005). Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution. A Butterworth-Heinemann Title.

Moran, M., & Hunt, B. (2008). Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company’s Web Site. IBM Press.

Pariser, E., 2011. The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You, Viking.

Penenberg, A. (2009). Viral Loop: The Power of Pass-it-on. Sceptre.

*Phelps, J. E., Lewis, R., Mobilio, L., Perry, D., & Raman, N. (2004). Viral Marketing or Electronic Word-of-Mouth Advertising: Examining Consumer Responses and Motivations to Pass Along Email. Journal of Advertising Research44(04), 333-348.

Scott, D. M. (2011). The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly. (3rd Edition). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

*Sweeney, J. C., Soutar, G. N., & Mazzarol, T. (2008). Factors influencing word of mouth effectiveness: receiver perspectives.European Journal of Marketing42(3/4), 344-364.

Vaidhynathan, S., 2011. The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry), Berkely, CA: University of California Press.

 

Week 8 (16 March 2012) – Service-Marketing and Service Technology

Service-Marketing has emerged as an alternative to the managerial approach to marketing that dominated developments in the discipline for the past four or five decades. This chapter briefly introduces the key concepts of service- and relationship marketing and then turns to the recent deployment of service technology into service- and retail-settings. It will briefly discuss the research on these developments and then examine some aspects of the relationship between service technology and customers by examining video-recordings collected in museums and galleries.

Readings

Armstrong, G., Kotler, P., Harker, M., & Brennan, R. (2009).Marketing an Introduction. Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.

Bitner, M. J. (2001). Service and technology: opportunities and paradoxes. Managing Service Quality11(6), 375 – 379.

Bitner, M., Brown, S., & Meuter, M. (2000). Technology infusion in service encounters. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science28(1), 138-149.

Curran, J. M., & Meuter, M. L. (2005). Self-service technology adoption: comparing three technologies. Journal of Services Marketing19(2), 103-113.

*Heath, C. & Lehn, D. vom, 2008. Configuring “Interactivity”: Enhancing Engagement in Science Centres and Museums. Social Studies of Science, 38(1), p.63-91.

Holloway, B. B., & Beatty, S. E. (2003). Service Failure in Online Retailing: A Recovery Opportunity. Journal of Service Research,6(1), 92-105.

Parasuraman, A., & Grewal, D. (2000). The impact of technology on the quality-value-loyalty chain: A research agenda. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science28(1), 168-174.

Week 9 (23 March 2012) Working in Social Media (Guest Lectures: Jadis Tillery)

Jadis Tillery is Head of Social Media for dot.talent a digital publisher for celebrity talent and top tier brands. In this role Jadis develops strategic WOM campaigns to harness the power of the social web through content creation and authentically engaging online communities.

Readings

Baym, N., 2010. Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press

Benkler, Y., 2007. The Wealth of Networks, Yale University Press.

Bernoff, J. & Li, C., 2008. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

*Hamilton, K. & Hewer, P., 2010. Tribal mattering spaces: Social-networking sites, celebrity affiliations, and tribal innovations.Journal of Marketing Management, 26(3), p.271-289.

Katona, Z., Zubcsek, P.P.A.L. & Sarvary, M., 2011. Network Effects and Personal Influences : The Diffusion of an Online Social Network. Journal of Marketing Research, XLVIII(June), p.425 -443.

Kirkpatrick, D., 2010. The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World, Virgin Books.

Shih, C., 2010. The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Market, Sell, and Innovate, Prentice Hall.

 

Week 10 (30 March 2012) – Marketing, Technology and Society

The growing deployment of new technologies in all parts of society is often likened to the emergence of a new form of society and coupled with that a new form of economy, namely the network economy. This lecture reflects on the content of the course and debates in sociology and related disciplines to explore how marketing theory and methods may be developed to capture current changes in marketing practice.

References

Achrol, R. S. and Kotler, P. (2010). Marketing in the Network EconomyNetwork63(1999), 146-163.

Anderson, C. (2009). The Long TailBusiness. London: Random House.

Baym, N., 2010. Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Bennett, S., Maton, K. & Kervin, L., 2008. The “digital natives” debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), p.775-786.

Brogan, C. & Smith, J., 2010. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust, John Wiley & Sons.

Benkler, Y., 2007. The Wealth of Networks, New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

Castells, M. (1996). The Rise of the Network Society. Vol. I: The Information Age. Economy, Society and Culture. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Castells, M. (2002). The Internet Galaxy. Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chaffey, D., Ellis-Chadwick, F., Mayer, R., & Johnston, M. K. (2008). Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice (4th ed.). Harlow/UK: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.

Cova, B., & Dalli, D. (2009). Working consumers: the next step in marketing theory?. Marketing Theory9(3), 315-339.

Ito, M. et al., 2009. Out, Hanging. Around, Messing Out. Geeking Out. Kids Living and Learning with New Media,

Palfrey, J., 2010. Born Digital. New York: Basic Books.

Qualman, E., 2010. Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Rust, R. & Espinoza, F., 2006. How technology advances influence business research and marketing strategy. Journal of Business Research, 59(10-11), 1072-1078.

Shirky, C., 2009. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, London: Penguin.

Tapscott, D., 2008. Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. McGraw-Hill Professional.

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. (2008). Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. London: Atlantic Books.

There are various attempts by science museums to bring to life some of the hidden ways in which the Internet works. When I visited the Science Museum in Chicago about 10 years ago there was an exhibit where I took a photograph of myself that then was transmitted to the other end of the gallery and displayed on a screen; the transmission of the picture was visualised on a wall where small packages moved along to where the screen was.

A few months ago in late March the National Media Museum’s Internet Galleries in Bradford opened together with Life Online that pursue a similar goal; making the development and functioning of the Internet intelligible.

Now in late July 2012, the Science Museum in London together with Google launched Chrome Weblab, “a series of interactive Chrome Experiments made by Google that bring the extraordinary workings of the internet to life”. The exhibition is in the basement of the Wellcome Wing. When I visited the gallery had just opened to the public and was already heaving with people.

Weblab is comprised of five ‘experiments’ people can engage with by using a Lab Tag and the various interfaces and systems displayed in the space. On entering the gallery each visitor can draw a Lab Tag from a computer system that is used as an identifier through which visitors’ engagement with the individual experiments is recorded and made retrievable from home. From here on the route took me into the gallery and a first large screen, the Data Tracer.

On entering the gallery I heard musical sounds which apparently came from the centre of the space but I had no idea who or what produced them and why. On closer look I saw a number of machines that looked like musical instruments that made sounds without anybody in particular playing them. I was intrigued but before I got to move to one of those instruments a person at the exhibit in front of me left the computer system and I engaged with the Data Tracer.

  

Data Tracer is comprised of three or four small screens connected to a large display showing a map of the world. On arrival I waited for a few minutes until a small screen become available and then fed my Lab Tag into an interface. I then was confronted with a number of thumbnail images showing objects and photographs of faces; on selecting one of the thumbnails a large copy of the image appeared on the large screen opposite locating the physical place where the image is stored and then drawing lines from there back to the Science Museum; thus, the exhibit visualizes the transformation of the image into data packages and their ‘journey’ to the Science Museum. Like the old exhibit at the Chicago Science Museum this Weblab experiment makes visible the process of using Google search engine. 

Having experimented with the exhibit for a while by tapping on two or three of the thumbnails I noticed other visitors waiting behind me and moved on to the next experiment, the Sketchbotswhere robots draw faces captured by a webcam of physical visitors in the gallery and online visitors in sand.

Only few people stopped for longer than a minute or so at the robots and often moved on when noticing that at the next lot of robots they can have their own faces or those of their children drawn.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkzXSZnDs1E&feature=player_embedded

The process fascinates people. Having taken a picture they observe the robot at work and their image appearing. They take pictures on their cameras or film the process with their mobile phones, commenting on the delicate strokes the machine makes in the sand. People also exploit the possibility to take pictures of others as a means to engage their (small) children with the exhibit who otherwise may not stay with the experiment for long. They lift children up in front of the camera, take the picture of their face and then show them that the robot is drawing that picture of their face in the sand; the activity keeps the children engaged with the exhibit for considerable time.

From the robots my visitor journey took me to the Teleporter, an exhibit that uses periscopes connected to the web to look at location around the world pre-determined by the designers. For somebody on their own the use of the periscope can feel a bit strange, as you pull the system in front of your eyes and loose awareness of what is happening around you.

Looking through the periscope I saw the inside of an aquarium located in Cape Town and could turn around to get a 360 degrees view of the space. On occasions I pressed a button at the top of the periscope to take a photograph that with the help of the Lab Tag was saved on my account. As I discovered when leaving the periscope on the wall behind the exhibit my picture was displayed on small digital photo frames together with those taken by others. The picture bears a time-stamp and can be discussed with others who had no access to what I was looking at while using the system.

One of the potentially most exciting exhibits is the Universal Orchestra, a robotic orchestra made up of eight instruments simultaneously operated by people in the gallery and on the Internet. The instruments are located in the centre of the gallery, each equipped with a computer system that people can use to create sounds. You touch different notes on the screen, the information is fed to the robot that then creates the sound.

Arriving here helped explain the soundscape I had been hearing on entering the gallery. As with some of the other exhibits I was a secondary user of the exhibit, experiencing how to use the systems and what they do before I gained access to one of the instruments. The interaction with the system kept me busy for a while, as I tried to figure out how my actions on the computer screen relate to the sounds made by instruments. Also, the exhibit is described as a “real-time collaboration with people across the world” but because it is difficult to make out who creates what sound the use of the notion of “collaboration” to describe the events is problematic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCXX02dFbIM&feature=player_embedded

Finally, I went to a workstation where the Lab Tag is used to retrieve information about the activities a visitor has engaged with during their visit to the Weblab. The Lab Tag is slotted into the system and the computer screen shows what exhibits the visitor has been at and what they have accomplished there; for example, the photograph taken with the periscope or the sounds produced as part of the Universal Orchestra can be revisited. Seeing on the screen what I had done and what I had missed doing encouraged me to return to the gallery and conduct some further experiments with the Universal Orchestra before then leaving the exhibition.

Having arrived back home I booted my computer to visit the Online Chrome Weblab. I typed in the web address given on the back of the Lab Tag, scanned in the tag and immediately arrived at my Lab Report. The site shows my activities in the galleries on at the Science Museum, and allowed me to conduct the same experiments online. When opening for example, Online Sketchrobot, a site opens that shows live footage from the gallery before opening a screen that looks very similar to the one in the gallery. I took a picture of myself which then was processed ready for the robot to draw in the sand.

I then typed in my email address through which the system later notified me that the robot had completed its job.

The other exhibits work in a similar way. The Online Data Tracer invites visitors to ask the system to use for a physical location of an image file. I typed n my Twitter handle and the system located the associated picture in Isenburg, a small city in the German federal state of Hesse. TheOnline Teleporter allows the user to click on an image and obtain a live view into the bakery in North Carolina, the miniature exhibition in Hamburg and the aquarium in Cape Town. And the Online Universal Orchestra facilitates access to the eight instruments; one can view events in the gallery and play the instruments in the gallery from a remote location, audible to visitors in the museum and remotely. The played music can be recorded and then like the activities at the other exhibits, is retrievable from the Online Lab Tag Explorer.

Chrome Weblab is a fascinating experiment of an exhibition. It tries to make intelligible that the Internet connects remote locations on the planet. And this connectedness involves much more than the accessibility of information through search engines and web browsers but also allows for the possibility to act and interact with machines and people across the world in real-time.

The exhibition invites visitors to engage and participate with exhibits in the gallery and remotely and discover for themselves the relationship between the Internet and the social world in the gallery and remotely. It is successful in engaging people for considerable time with the topic of the Internet and creates an awareness for the connected world we are now living in; robots can be operated remotely, people in remote locations can “collaboratetively” make music, we can have a peek into the world of others from remote locations.

Over the past 10 years or so I had the opportunity to study visitors participating with technology in museums, including the Science Museum and the Wellcome Wing. Therefore, for me visiting Chrome Weblab was interesting also to see how features of  exhibits in Who am I? and Digitopolishave been further developed by the design team of Chrome Weblab. For example, the replacement of the flaky fingerprinting mechanism to save visitors’ activities with exhibit on a server by the physical Lab Tag is a huge improvement.  The tag works well and without problems with webcams at home (and at work) and also is a nice memorabilia from the visit. However I could imagine that in the future the Lab Tag is transferred to a mobile phone as people tend to loose or forget about items they take away from visits to museums. Also, the taking of photographs of people’s faces that has been a critical feature of exhibits in Who am I? has been improved. The interface is much more flexible and adaptable to use pictures visitors take.

There are three aspects of the exhibition that I believe might be worthwhile exploring further for the design team and google when revising the galleries. First, I think the key message of Weblab, i.e. the interconnectedness, is not coming through clearly enough. The relationship between people’s action in the gallery and remotely need to be made more intelligible and obvious. For example, at the moment it is unclear who plays what note at the instruments of the Universal Orchestra; at Data Tracer the actions on the small screens could be made visible, and at Sketchrobot more needs to be done to make the activities by the remote participant visible to give this part of the exhibit more prominence in the gallery.

Second, as the gallery is described as a laboratory the design team and their research staff might use it not only as a laboratory to experiment with technology but also as a space where they can experiment with human behaviour in technology-rich spaces. For example, it has been a common problem for museums that display a large number of computer-based exhibits that the number of interfaces is often much lower than the number of visitors who wish to participate with the exhibits at any one time. This leads to long waiting-times and queues at exhibits, people being secondary users rather than experiencing exhibits first hand, and unfortunately also people leaving disappointed because they did not get a chance to use an exhibit first-hand. Being setup as an experimental space the gallery would allow the design team to experiment with different ways to manage the flow in the galleries and to mange access to exhibits.

And third and maybe most importantly, considering that many visitors come with friends and family the design team could use the space to experiment with the provision of resources that facilitate and encourage collaboration at computer-based exhibits. The observations at the Sketchrobots where parents provide their children with access to the exhibit illustrate that visitors are interested in experiencing the exhibits together, yet the interfaces often prioritise individual users over collaboration. It would be fascinating to see experiments with novel interfaces that encourage visitors to collaborate with others in the gallery, and also with people in remote locations.

References

Heath, C., & vom Lehn, D. (2008). Configuring Interactivity: Enhancing Engagement in Science Centres and Museums. Social Studies of Science38(1), 63-91.

Heath, C., & vom Lehn, D. (2004). Configuring Reception: (Dis-)Regarding the “Spectator” in Museums and Galleries. Theory, Culture & Society21(6), 43-65.

Heath, C., Luff, P., vom Lehn, D., Hindmarsh, J., & Cleverly, J. (2002). Crafting participation: designing ecologies, configuring experience. Visual Communication1(1), 9-33.

Hindmarsh, J., Heath, C., vom Lehn, D., & Cleverly, J. (2005). Creating Assemblies in Public Environments: Social interaction, interactive exhibits and CSCWJournal of Computer Supported Collaborative Work (JCSCW)14(1), 1-41.

vom Lehn, D., Hindmarsh, J., Luff, P., & Heath, C. (2007). Engaging constable: revealing art with new technology. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on HumanComputer Interaction (pp. 1485-1494). San Jose,CA: ACM Press.

vom Lehn, D. (2010). Generating experience from ordinary activity: new technology and the museum experience. In D. O’Reilly & F. Kerrigan (Eds.), Marketing the Arts. A fresh approach (pp. 104-120). Abingdon: Routledge.

vom Lehn, D., & Heath, C. (2005). Accounting for new technology in museum exhibitions.International Journal of Arts Management7(6), 11-21.

vom Lehn, D., Heath, C., & Hindmarsh, J. (2001). Exhibiting interaction: Conduct and collaboration in museums and galleries. Symbolic Interaction24(2), 189–216.

@dirkvl

http://www.vom-lehn.net

 

interaction, interactivity, museums