The Future of Social Computing??

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The future of Social Computing??
* Ruchika Arora
The article is based on the article John Riedl, “The Promise and Peril of Social Computing”, IEEE publication, Volume: 44, Issue: 1, Publication Year: 2011, Page(s): 93 - 95. The author of the article presents to us the world of social computing, its evolution and its scope, highlights some interesting developments in this field, and evaluates its impact on human lives and social structures, in particular. The article leads the deliberation to an interesting question – Is social computing here to stay or die out? And the aim is to find the answer by assessing its potential to benefit or harm the social structures, which would eventually determine its own fate. The author would write few more articles to present unfolding trends in Social Computing based on the research results that would guide us towards resolving the mystery about the future of Social Computing.  Social computing can be described as use of computers/Internet technologies for the gathering, processing and dissemination of information across groups of people which can be an organization, group of friends, family, social communities or markets. It provides the opportunity to interact, and thereby enables knowledge sharing i.e. exchange of information, expertise or skills among people. The column maintains a broad perspective on what constitutes Social Computing, citing a few examples - Wikipedia, social networking sites like Facebook, content sharing sites like Flickr, product review and rating systems as offered by Amazon. It also includes micro blogging services like Twitter despite the limitation on the length the content. Videocasts are also counted in, however smart phones are not. Another part of Social Computing are the social organizations performing actual computing, known as collective intelligence systems, which includes Futures markets like Iowa Electronic Markets (that predicts real-world events by collecting and processing opinions of a large group of people).   Social Computing can be traced back to 1970's: PLATO system at University of Illinois had multi user chat room, group message boards, and instant messaging. Until 1990's, the growth had been sluggish, primarily for two reasons: * Low access to internet

* Absence of user friendly user interfaces to access these social tools. However, with advances in technology, social computing finally exploded in 1990's and over the last decade, has become an inherent part of our society. It has had a deep impact on our social structure and is continuing to affect human lives and their relationship in a number of ways. And one of the reasons why this topic interests researchers is because of its potential to change the type and structure of human relationships. Article cites certain benefits that Social Computing offers: * Computers help our brain to be more efficient for certain computational tasks; * Social networking tools like Facebook can enhance our social effectiveness by building and maintaining relations with distant friends, remembering important occasions. * Research by Moira Burke with her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University shows correlation between having a rich social network on Facebook and feelings of well-being. It gives same feeling of security and sense of belonging. You can virtually develop a family over internet. * It provides people with the power of information enabling them to predict or control real-world events, Elections for instance.  However, it has the potential to damage the structure of society in many ways. * It allows one to form close groups with like-minded people, and each such group may choose to exchange ideas with only those other groups who have common thoughts and opinions. Thus it can lead to fragmentation of the society into smaller virtual communities with limited interaction between the different kinds of groups segmented by their ideas. In the physical world, there is...
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