Technology-Mediated Social Participation Webshop

(Images from Webshop 2012)



August 20th-24th

University of Maryland



We are no longer accepting applications for the Summer 2012 Webshop.

Decisions will be sent out by the end of June.



Sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Social Media Research Foundation, and Grand.

Doctoral students in computer science, iSchool, sociology, communications, political science, anthropology, psychology, journalism, and related disciplines are invited to apply to attend this summer’s 4-day intensive workshop on Technology-Mediated Social Participation (TMSP).

Technology-Mediated Social Participation includes social networking tools, blogs and microblogs, user-generated content sites, discussion groups, problem reporting, recommendation systems, and other social media applied to national priorities such as health, energy, education, disaster response, political participation, environmental protection, business innovation, or community safety.

During the 4-day workshop, students will attend presentations from an interdisciplinary group of leaders in the field and engage in other research and community-building activities like working on short-term projects, sharing research plans, developing new research collaborations, learning relevant software, analysis methods and data collection tools, and meeting Federal policy makers.

Accepted students will receive financial support. We will provide suggested places to stay, but students may arrange to stay with friends or relatives in the area.

(Image from Webshop 2011)

This event is modeled on a program called “Webshop” (Web Workshop) that was organized by John Robinson and held for three consecutive summers in the early 2000s. Many people who attended or spoke at the Webshop events remember it enthusiastically. The students who attended include some of the now leading researchers in the field of social science studies of the internet; indeed, there is an impressive alumni list.

As the last Webshop was held in 2003, there have been significant changes in this space since then. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, foursquare, Wikipedia, Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Android, Mechanical Turk, etc., were all new or non-existent when the first Webshops were run. Today we have more reason than ever to focus on the details and patterns of computer-mediated human association. As ever more people channel more of their communications through digital media, the social implications are growing in power and visibility. Social media is becoming a valuable data resource for the social sciences and policy makers that is growing in scale and promise. The billions of traces of interactions enable analysts to build a picture of an aggregate whole, and to start to grasp the terrain and landscape of societies and their participation in social media. While social participation can bring enormous benefits, it often fails, or worse, can be manipulated by malicious users, destructive organizations, and oppressive governments.

Indeed, the idea of Technology-Mediated Social Participation has been maturing for more than two years. An earlier NSF grant led to two workshops to develop a research agenda around social media applications that were aligned with national priorities (see details here). The workshop teams produced 7 papers, published in the November 2010 issue of IEEE Computer.

Another objective of the Summer Social Webshop is to teach participants about tools like the free and open NodeXL social network analysis package to gather and analyze social media data. For example, below is a map of the connections among the 168 people who tweeted the term Webshop2011 through the duration of the event.

These maps reveal the dense web of connections among the people who contributed to the discussion about the event along with the ways that they group together. The key people within each group can be identified to highlight the leading voices as well as the people who link and connect groups to one another. Revealing the landscape of social connections through social network analysis was just one of the methods reviewed during the event which touched on survey methods, experiments, ethnography, log file analysis and interviews.

2011 participant spoke positively of the event, describing it as “fantastic” and “enlightening.” One participant wrote that it “was the most valuable workshop I have attended during my graduate studies. It offered both great speakers (covering both theoretical and practical aspects related to my work) and offered a unique networking opportunity with fellow Ph.D. students who are dealing with topics similar to mine.” Another commented, “Webshop was an intensive learning experience for me, and I gained tremendously not only from the substance but from the contacts with fellow researchers.”

For more information, please contact Alan Neustadtl (



Most events will take place in Art-Sociology Building, room 2309. Lunch and dinner will be available in the 3rd floor courtyard. Workshops will take place in the OACS Lab in LeFrak

Click here for more info.



Nancy Baym @nancybaym Microsoft Research NE
Elizabeth Churchill @xeeliz Yahoo
Nosh Contractor @noshir Northwestern University
Kevin Crowston Nation Science Foundation
Jana Deisner U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Gerhard Fisher U. of Colorado at Boulder
Lise Getoor   U. of Maryland
Jen Golbeck @jengolbeck U. of Maryland
Eszter Hargittai @eszter    Northwestern University
Libby Hemphill @libbyh Illinois Inst. of Technology
Itai Himelboim   U. of Georgia
Bernie Hogan @blurky Oxford Internet Institute
David Huffaker @davetown101 Google
Cliff  Lampe @clifflampe Michigan State University
David MacDonald   U. of Washington
Ines Mergel @InesMergel Syracuse University
Lee Rainie @lrainie Pew Research
Paul Resnick @psresnick University of Michigan
Katie Shilton @KatieShilton U. of Maryland
Zeynep Tufekci @techsoc U. of North Carolina
Jessica Vitak @jvitak Michigan State / UMCP




Internet and Society

Social Media

Information Visualization

Network Analysis

Collective Action

User Interface Design

Health 2.0

Policy, privacy, identity

Research methods: From Ethnography to Computational Social Sciences



Alan Neustadtl (@smilex3md) - Sociology, UMD

Jennifer Preece (@jenpre) - iSchool, UMD

Marc Smith (@Marc_Smith) - Social Media Research Foundation

Ben Shneiderman (@benbendc) - Computer Science, UMD



Summer Social Webshop Webmaster: PJ Rey .



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