Hwang, T., Pearce, I. & Nanis, M. 2012. Socialbots: voices from the fronts. interactions 19, 2

This interaction article has an interesting take on social media and interesting format for an article. The article includes four small case articles written by other people. The authors are kind of editors. Although, not very deep or theoretical, the ‘multiple case’ approach works nicely.

Socialbots is about agents/bots/artificial intelligence used in social media. The article argues that socialbots is a major phenomena and that socialbots can impact on social networks of users of social network services (e.g. facebook, twitter, myspace). Both observations are interesting and a bit worrying. It is true that there are currently a lot of for example marketing twitter accounts that publish marketing tweets automatically. These bots are perhaps less visible in Facebook but they seem to exist also there. The amount of marketing twitterbots is an indication that the medium is good (for marketing). However the article presents examples of cases where socialbots actually impact on the structure of social networks in the services (twitter and facebook). If social bots can connect or disconnect people in the services and facilitate discussions or introduce themes into social networks, we should be a bit worried about where to our social network services are evolving and who are driving the development. Software has already taken major role in stock exchange. Do we want it to take similar role in our interaction with each other? Socialbots is an interesting phenomenon also in ux-wise. How ux changes when we collaborate with other people through a system/service and some kind of agent or bot is introduced into the collaboration event?

Tim Hwang, Ian Pearce, and Max Nanis. 2012. Socialbots: voices from the fronts. interactions 19, 2 (March 2012), 38-45. DOI=10.1145/2090150.2090161 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2090150.2090161