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Did You Come Here Alone? Group Structural Awareness and Invisible Leadership SNAGs in Our Understanding of Social Media

Date & Time:
14:00:00 - 15:30:00,
Wednesday 14 September, 2011


Online, nobody really knows if they are in a group; or what being in a group means. In fact, technologically mediated groups and communities are not experienced by their members in the same way that their face to face equivalents are.

To understand these differences, computational social scientists must begin to think more clearly at the small group unit of analysis. Dr Sean P. Goggins refers to this transformative shift as Group Informatics. Unlike prior work examining distributed teams with multiple collocated cohorts, Group Informatics research focuses on a new form of social organization, the small naturally asynchronous group (SNAG). Such groups are technologically mediated in the sense that members perform most work when not collocated. SNAGs rely on computer mediated communication for the performance of group work, the maintenance of group identity and to meet individual member needs.

This talk will describe the application of Group Informatics approaches to identifying group emergence and leadership behaviours in Government-NGO coordination during the crisis following the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, in software engineering teams, online learning and political groups on Facebook.

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  • Name: Dr Sean Goggins
  • Affiliation: Assistant Professor, Drexel University iSchool
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  • Bio: Dr Sean Goggins is an Assistant Professor at Drexel University’s iSchool. His research is focused on the identification and description of group development and leadership in real world, socio-technical environments. His work integrates network analytic techniques with complex systems modelling, ethnography and case study methods. Dr Goggins’ research questions centre on the knowledge creation abilities, information use, identity development and structure of technologically mediated groups. Dr Goggins has applied his integrated methods to the study of groups in software engineering, education, health care and small business networks.