Category Archives: Introduction

Introduction


This is a digital scrapbook about some of my personal reviews of artefacts regarding to social informatics, and socio-technical concerns related to emerging technologies and the implications for the construction of knowledge. In this scrapbook, 9 artefacts were chosen to analyse their impacts to the social informatics through 3 different aspects – entertainment, communication and technology.

This digital scrapbook is to chose to present in a wordpress blog, the blog can more easily for reader to read and browse through the categories.

Social Informatics

Referring to Kling (1999), the definition of social informatics is described as “the interdisciplinary study of the design, uses and consequences of information technologies that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts.” From my personal point of view, social informatics is about how people use information tools and communication techniques to achieve whatever they would like to.

The modern society what we are living in is full of information and all the information is well connected by a huge network, with a computer or computerized equipment at the terminals of the network. Therefore, it is important to understand how the information is transferred and acquired by the users, not only through the technological way; it is also important to understand the cultural and social influence of social informatics.

The importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) regarding to social informatics was mentioned by Sawyer and Rosenbaun (2000) as follow – “the last half of the 1900s has been characterized by the increasing importance of information and communication technologies in social and organizational life. Computers, both on the desktop and embedded in automobiles, appliances, cellular phones, and satellite dishes have become part of the fabric of our work and social lives”. All of the information is now communicated through networks, which is described by Bill Gates as the “information highway”. In which case, the ICT would be the essential service stations along the highway. They provide “information nutrients” to the highway users.

Social informatics was intensively studied by researchers about the social consequences of using ICT, and they are trying to explore how the information users seeking and exploring information, as well as their behaviours, which would help us better understanding social informatics. For example, the investigation of ICT has an “explicit goal of influencing practice by providing empirical evidence illustrating the varied outcomes that occur as people work with ICTs in a wide range of organizational and social contexts” (Sawyer and Rosenbaun, 2000). A studied carried out by Sachs (1995) and others found out that “much of the work in participatory design focuses on identifying the nuance in ways that users come to understand and adapt how they work through complex socio-technical relationships”.

Kling (2000) argued “social informatics research has produced some useful ideas and findings that are applicable to many kinds of information technologies and shed interesting light on some facets of Internet use”. For example, by studying the concept of computerized information system would help to understand the characters of new electronic information spaces; and it also helps to overcome the limitations in developing new ICT.

Social informatics is important in researching the information users’ behaviours and helping to develop new ICT. It is also important, as describe by Kling (1999), in “developing reliable knowledge about information technology and social change, based on systematic empirical research, to inform both public policy debates and professional practice”, as well as “investigating intriguing new social phenomena that emerge when people use information technology”.

The other contribution of studying social informatics is that “social informatics research provides empirical, rigorous and often critical insight into some of the more important questions regarding ICT use” (Sawyer and Rosenbaun, 2000). Hence it is important in regulating and establishing new policies regarding to ICT users in many different levels.

Artefacts

In this scrapbook, 9 different artefacts among 3 catalogues were chosen to investigate social informatics, and they are listed as followed:

Entertainment – Facebook, Hatsune Miku and Virtual Life

Communication – Mobile network, Brain cell communication, and Remote sensing

Technology – 3D technology, Artificial intelligence, and Future mobile prototype

By analysing social informatics from the above 3 different aspect, the relationship between social information, ICT, and the information users could be well illustrated.

However, in order to better understand the socio-technical concerns related to emerging technologies and the implications for the construction of knowledge, it is necessary to cross-considering between those catalogues; because those 9 chosen artefacts are often in associated with each other. In fact, it is very common in the modern society that ICT is becoming multi-functional and multi-purposes. For example, the legendary Iphone from Apple is a phone itself, but it was full of innovative ideas while it was firstly launched and it was seen as the phone of the future. It is a great combination between the phone and web2.0 handset. As everything (almost) is achievable through technology, it might be possible to have a future mobile prototype that displays 3D images and able to read your mind, in which people can simply dial up a number by just think about the person you would like to call.

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