Butler Lies: Deception in Text-Based Communication
People frequently find themselves in situations where they want to end a conversation prematurely, perhaps because the conversation is boring, or because another event or activity is more important. There are also times when it is desirable to avoid a conversation altogether, or to postpone it to a later time. We refer to behavior in these situations as “availability management” – that is, behavior that allows us to control when and how we interact with others. Availability management can be difficult in that people typically want to appear polite, even when they are doing something (such as leaving or avoiding a conversation) that could be perceived as rude. Examples of common availability management behaviors include setting one’s instant messenger status to “away” or “busy” to avoid conversations only with certain people. This project focuses on how people use various technologies to manage their availability, and how we can design novel systems to improve support for these behaviors.
National Science FoundationPublications:
Birnholtz, J., Guillory, J., Hancock, J.T., & Bazarova, N.N. (2010). “On my way”: Deceptive Texting and Interpersonal Awareness Narratives. Proceedings of the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2010), 1-4. [Acceptance rate: 20%]
Hancock, J.T., Birnholtz, J., Bazarova, N., Guillory, J., Amos, B., & Perlin, J. (2009). Butler Lies: Awareness, Deception and Design. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2009). (Acceptance Rate: 24.5%)
Reynolds, L., Gillette, S., Marder, J., Miles, Z., Vodenski, P., Weintraub, A., Birnholtz, J., & Hancock, J. (2011). Contact stratification and deception: blackberry messenger versus SMS use among students. Proceedings of the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2011)
Birnholtz, J., Hancock, J., Smith, M., & Reynolds, L. (2012). Understanding unavailability in a world of constant connection. Interactions 19(5) 32-35.
Intercultural Communication and Technology
Together with Professor Connie Yuan and graduate student Xuan Zhao, I examine differences in cultural perceptions and communication behaviors, and how technology affects intercultural collaboration. How do people from different cultures recognize expertise and competence in teamwork? What is the role of communication technology in shaping communication behaviors and judgments in intercultural groups? How can we make intercultural work more effective? We use interviews and experimental methods to understand intercultural processes. There are ongoing opportunities for engaging in this research, either as a research participant or a research assistant. To schedule participation in the intercultural research project during the spring of 2012, please follow this link: https://cornell.qualtrics.com/SE/? SID=SV_ahG4G99qIsyLq5u
The Institute of Social Sciences, Cornell UniversityPublications:
Bazarova, N. N., & Yuan, C. (in press). Expertise recognition and influence in intercultural groups: Differences between face-to-face and computer-mediated communication. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
Yuan, Y. C., Bazarova, N. N., Fulk, J., & Zhang, Z.-X. (in press). Recognition of expertise and perceived influence in intercultural collaboration: A study of mixed American and Chinese groups. Journal of Communication
Traces and Conflict: Understanding The Value of Ambiguity in Trace Histories
Technologies such as Google Docs and Wave allow for conversation and production of documents. When groups work together, however, some conflict is inevitable. People may be frustrated with others’ behavior or disagree about content authored together. In some cases, we believe technology can also highlight or worsen conflict. Wikipedia, for example, provides detailed trace histories. These logs can draw attention to conflicts that must often be resolved via moderation, and minor edits can enflame tensions if one faction is perceived to be editing more than another. Edit histories, in effect, remove ambiguity about the past; and this can impact the ability to make minor edits without drawing attention, and to smoothly resolve conflicts. In systems such as Google apps, trace histories are also enabled. While these increase accountability and awareness of the past, they also reduce ambiguity and may constrain the use of certain politeness strategies. There has been little study, however, of how trace histories impact group dynamics. We will explore ambiguity and trace histories in Google apps, addressing these questions: 1) How are trace histories used to determine what happened in the past?; 2) What ambiguities are introduced/eliminated by trace histories, and how are they used? 3) How are trace histories used in the face of conflict?