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Abstract

See and Be Seen: Communication in the Age of Social Transparency

In this talk, I offer some building blocks for a theory of communication visibility based on a series of field studies of the implementation of new enterprise social networking sites in a large companies. The emerging theory suggests that once invisible communication occurring between others in the organization becomes visible for third parties to see, those third parties may be able to improve their metaknowledge (knowledge of “who knows what” and “who knows whom”). Seeing the contents of other people¹s messages helps third-party observers to make inferences about the knowledge other people have and seeing the structure of other people¹s communication networks helps third-party observers to make inferences about who those people talk with on a somewhat regular basis. The emerging theory further suggests that enhanced metaknowledge can lead to more innovative products and services and less knowledge duplication if individuals learn to work in new ways. I discuss how the important implications this emerging theory of communication visibility has for work and the design of new technologies and organizations.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
CSE 1202

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