Maryland's iSchool is pleased to announce the CASCI Kick-Off Event on 
November 13th. We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Marc Smith will 
be  presenting his latest research at 4pm.

*Presenter:* Dr. Marc Smith
*Title:* Pictures of traces of places, people, and groups: visualizing 
computer-mediated collective action
*When:* 4:00pm Thursday, Nov. 13th, 2008
*Where:* Hornbake Building, South Wing, Room 2119
*Hosted by:* Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and 
Information (
*Note:* Please contact CASCI director, Dr. Derek Hansen 
([log in to unmask]) if you would like to schedule one-on-one or small 
group visits with Marc earlier in the day.

*About the speaker : *
Marc Smith is a sociologist specializing in the social organization of 
online communities and computer mediated interaction. He founded and 
managed the Community Technologies Group at Microsoft Research in 
Redmond, Washington for ten years and is now the Chief Social Scientist 
for the Telligent Corporation (

He is the co-editor of Communities in Cyberspace (Routledge), a 
collection of essays exploring the ways identity; interaction and social 
order develop in online groups.

Smith's research focuses on computer-mediated collective action: the 
ways group dynamics change when they take place in and through social 
cyberspaces. Many "groups" in cyberspace produce public goods and 
organize themselves in the form of a commons (for related papers see: Smith's goal is to visualize 
these social cyberspaces, mapping and measuring their structure, 
dynamics and life cycles. He developed the "Netscan" web application and 
data mining engine that allows researchers studying Usenet newsgroups to 
get reports on the rates of posting, posters, crossposting, thread 
length and frequency distributions of activity.

This research offers a means to gather historical data on the 
development of social cyberspaces and can be used to highlight the ways 
these groups differ from, or are similar to, face-to-face groups. Smith 
is applying this work to the development of a generalized community 
platform for Microsoft, providing a web based system for groups of all 
sizes to discuss and publish their material to the web.

Smith received a B.S. in International Area Studies from Drexel 
University in Philadelphia in 1988, an M.Phil. in social theory from 
Cambridge University in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA in 2001.

Studies of computer mediated collective action systems, now sometimes 
called social media or Web 2.0, provide insights into their structure 
and dynamics and point to important enhancements. In this talk I will 
review projects that highlight and attempt to enhance computer mediated 
collective action and point towards future work. Three sociological 
traditions, social network theory, collective action dilemma theory, and 
interactionist sociologies, provide a set of frames for social media 
activity. Combining these approaches with data mining and information 
visualization techniques leads to a deeper understanding of the range of 
social behavior and aggregate performance of social media spaces and 
participants. Social media systems may vary in form but most share 
common data structures, notably directed graphs representing 
relationships created by connections between users. Visualizations of a 
variety of social media spaces will illustrate the roles that are most 
critical to the success of collective efforts to generate value on the 
web. Tools like (Excel) .NetMap are freely available to support these 
explorations (see: