The survival of the social: social interaction foraging in highly distributed professional social networks
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
We present an empirical study of social interaction in a highly distributed professional social network. It takes as point of departure, previous research into distributed work and information foraging theory to explore social interaction search behaviour. We look at how people locate relevant collaborators to execute shared work tasks in a distributed network of professionals in the area of logistics. From our empirical data we identify six characteristics of the explored processes. We identify “the survival of the social” as a cornerstone for efficient and long-term professional social networks and outline design implications arising from our findings. In particular we identified some characteristics related to the active nature of social agents, the need for negotiation and long-term maintenance of social networks. Rather than optimising based on task characteristics, efficiency and cost, we show that participants are oriented to logistics solutions that involve active social agents and social relations. These behaviours illustrate basic mechanisms of highly distributed effective professional social networks and motivate the need for social interaction foraging theory. Furthermore, our design recommendations suggest that personal (as opposed to public) open interaction channels could be beneficial for the effectiveness and strength of the whole professional social network.
Social interaction foraging, information foraging, social network, distributed work, coordination, interaction serach
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29944OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-29944DiVA: diva2:278630