Course: CS 4803 Social Computing
Term: Fall 2015
Location: College of Computing 102
Time: Monday & Wednesday 4:35 – 5:55pm
Office Hours: Friday 10-11am (TSRB 341), or by appointment


This course is geared toward developing a broad understanding of the characteristics of today’s online social systems, including the opportunities and challenges that engender this emergent area. We will focus on the study of different social processes, behavior, and context on today's online social platforms, and learn how to make sense of the vast repositories of data that are generated on these platforms everyday. We will also learn about the design principles behind these systems, the key issues surrounding the widespread adoption of social computing systems, and how to build social tools that can augment or extend current social computing systems.

The course will be taught seminar style, which means there will be weekly readings on a variety of topics (see topics and schedule below). Students will be required to participate in discussions on the pre-assigned class readings on Piazza, in order to demonstrate their understanding of the material, and to raise interesting questions and points for class discussion. There will be a group term project and two assignments testing your understanding of the concepts covered in the class, your technical writing ability and your programming/development skills. The term project will require both original work as well as a small number of compulsory analyses that cover key concepts from the course.

Students may audit the course, but all students who attend must perform the weekly blog posts about the reading, to facilitate discussion.

Academic Integrity: All assigned work is expected to be individual, except where explicitly indicated otherwise. You are encouraged to discuss the assignments with your classmates; however, what you hand in should be your own work. For more information, please review the Georgia Tech Honor Code.

Assignments and Grading

Responses to Class Readings (on Piazza) - 20%
Assignment I - 15%
Assignment II - 15%
In-class Presentation of Term Project Phase I - 5%
Term Project Report and Deliverables (due at final) - 30%
In-class Presentation of Term Project Phase II - 5%
Class Participation - 10%

Weekly Schedule *

Week 1 (17-Aug) Introduction
Week 1 (19-Aug) SNS Overview
Week 2 (24-Aug) Social Media Overview
Week 2 (26-Aug) Social Capital
Week 3 (31-Aug) Purposes of Social Computing Systems I
Week 3 (2-Sep) Purposes of Social Computing Systems II
Week 4 (7-Sep) Labor Day - No Class
Week 4 (9-Sep) Social Influence
Week 5 (14-Sep) Social System Design I
Week 5 (16-Sep) Social System Design I II
Week 6 (21-Sep) Social Text I
Week 6 (23-Sep) Social Text II
Week 7 (28-Sep) Social Network Structure I
Week 7 (30-Sep) Social Network Structure II
Week 8 (5-Oct) Social Network Structure III
Week 8 (7-Oct) Social Multimedia
Week 9 (12-Oct) Fall Recess - No Class
Week 9 (14-Oct) Personality and Behavior
Week 10 (19-Oct) Disclosure and Regulation
Week 10 (21-Oct) Trust
Week 11 (26-Oct) Credibility
Week 11 (28-Oct) Polarization and Selective Exposure I
Week 12 (2-Nov) Polarization and Selective Exposure II
Week 12 (4-Nov) Term Project Phase I Presentations
Week 13 (9-Nov) Trends and Forecasting I
Week 13 (11-Nov) Trends and Forecasting II
Week 14 (16-Nov) Event and News Analytics
Week 14 (18-Nov) Location and Mobility
Week 15 (23-Nov) Microblogging and Collaboration
Week 15 (25-Nov) Privacy I
Week 16 (30-Nov) Privacy II
Week 16 (2-Dec) Social Computing and Well-being

Weekly Readings *

Week 1 (Aug 19): Overview of Social Networking Sites
Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship [pdf]
Friendster and Publicly Articulated Social Networks [pdf]

Week 2 (Aug 24): Overview of Social Media Sites
Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities [pdf]
Is It Really About Me?: Message Content in Social Awareness Streams [pdf]

Week 2 (Aug 26): Social Capital
The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online SNS [pdf]
Social Capital on Facebook: Differentiating Uses and Users [pdf]

Week 3 (Aug 31): Purposes of Social Computing Systems I
What is Twitter, a Social Network or a News Media? [pdf]
What Do People Ask Their Social Networks, and Why? [pdf]

Week 3 (Sep 2): Purposes of Social Computing Systems II
The revolutions were tweeted: Information flows during the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions [pdf]
The dynamics of protest recruitment through an online network [pdf]

Week 4 (Sep 7): Labor Day - no class

Week 4 (Sep 9): Social Influence
Gesundheit! Modeling Contagion through Facebook News Feed [pdf]
Everyone's an influencer: Quantifying influence on twitter [pdf]

Week 5 (Sep 14): Social System Design I
Social Translucence: An Approach to Designing Systems that Support Social Processes [pdf]
Instant messaging for collaboration: A case study of a high-tech firm [pdf]

Week 5 (Sep 16): Social System Design II
The Chat Circles Series: Explorations in Designing Abstract Graphical Comm. Interfaces [pdf]
Visualizing Email Content: Portraying Relationships from Conversational Histories [pdf]

Week 6 (Sep 21): Social Text I
Diurnal and Seasonal Mood Vary with Work, Sleep, and Daylength Across Diverse Cultures [pdf]
Not All Moods Are Created Equal! Exploring Human Emotional States in Social Media [pdf]

Week 6 (Sep 23): Social Text II
Mark My Words! Linguistic Style Accommodation in Social Media [pdf]
Gender and Power: How Gender and Gender Environment Affect Manifestations of Power [pdf]

Week 7 (Sep 28): Social Network Structure I
The Strength of Weak Ties [pdf]

Week 7 (Sep 30): Social Network Structure II
Predicting Tie Strength With Social Media [pdf]
Signed Networks in Social Media [pdf]

Week 8 (Oct 5): Social Network Structure III
The Political Blogosphere and the 2004 U.S. Election: Divided They Blog [pdf]
Planetary-Scale Views on a Large Instant-Messaging Network [pdf]

Week 8 (Oct 7): Social Multimedia
How Flickr Helps us Make Sense of the World [pdf]
What We Instagram: A First Analysis of Instagram Photo Content and User Types [pdf]

Week 9 (Oct 12): Fall Recess - no class

Week 9 (Oct 14): Personality and Behavior
Facebook Profiles Reflect Actual Personality, not Self-Idealization [pdf]
Private Traits and Attributes are Predictable from Digital Records of Human Behavior [pdf]

Week 10 (Oct 19): Disclosure and Regulation
Taking Risky Opportunities in Youthful Content Creation: Teenagers' Use of SNS for Intimacy, Privacy and Self-Expression [pdf]
Anonymity and Self-Disclosure on Weblogs [pdf]

Week 10 (Oct 21): Trust
Trust Breaks Down in Electronic Contexts but Can Be Repaired by Some Initial F2F Contact [pdf]
Twitter Under Crisis: Can We Trust What We RT? [pdf]

Week 11 (Oct 26): Credibility
Tweeting is Believing? Understanding Microblog Credibility Perceptions [pdf]
Information Credibility on Twitter [pdf]

Week 11 (Oct 28): Polarization and Selective Exposure I
Echo Chambers Online?: Politically Motivated Selective Exposure among Internet News Users [pdf]
Presenting Diverse Political Opinions: How and How Much [pdf]

Week 12 (Nov 2): Polarization and Selective Exposure II
Dynamic Debates: An Analysis of Group Polarization Over Time on Twitter [pdf]
Exposure to ideologically diverse news and opinion on Facebook [pdf]

Week 12 (Nov 4): Mid-term Project Presentations

Week 13 (Nov 9): Trends and Forecasting I
Rhythms of Social Interaction: Messaging Within a Massive Online Network [pdf]
On the Study of Diurnal Urban Routines on Twitter [pdf]

Week 13 (Nov 11): Trends and Forecasting II
Predicting the Future With Social Media [pdf]
Election forecasts with Twitter: How 140 characters reflect the political landscape [pdf]

Week 14 (Nov 16): Event and News Analytics
Characterizing Debate Performance via Aggregated Twitter Sentiment [pdf]
Conversational Shadows: Describing Live Media Events Using Short Messages [pdf]

Week 14 (Nov 18): Location and Mobility
Tweets from Justin Bieber's Heart: The Dynamics of the Location Field in User Profiles [pdf]
The Livehoods Project: Utilizing Social Media to Understand the Dynamics of a City [pdf]

Week 15 (Nov 23): Microblogging and Collaboration
Beyond Microblogging: Conversation and Collaboration via Twitter [pdf]
Voluntweeters: Self-Organizing by Digital Volunteers in Times of Crisis [pdf]

Week 15 (Nov 25): Privacy I
Facebook, Youth and Privacy in Networked Publics [pdf]
Information Revelation and Privacy in Online Social Networks [pdf]

Week 16 (Nov 30): Privacy II
Challenges in mining social network data: processes, privacy, and paradoxes [pdf]
"It's not that I don't have problems, I'm just not putting them on Facebook" [pdf]

Week 16 (Dec 2): Social Computing and Well-being
Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being [pdf]
In defense of the Internet: The relationship between Internet communication and depression, loneliness, self-esteem, and perceived social support [pdf]

Recommended, Relevant Readings

Not required, but the following books are good references for the class:

Networks, Crowds, and Markets, by David Easley and Jon Kleinberg
Six Degrees, by Duncan Watts
On Individuality and Social Forms, by Georg Simmel
Networked, by Barry Wellman
The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver
Writing for Social Scientists, by Howard Becker
Machine Learning for Hackers, by Drew Conway and John Myles White

Related Courses

[Graduate offering of the course] Social Computing, offered alternatively by Eric Gilbert and Munmun De Choudhury at Georgia Tech
Computational Social Science, offered by Jacob Eisenstein at Georgia Tech
The Structure of Information Networks, offered by Jon Kleinberg at Cornell
Networks, offered by Lada Adamic at University of Michigan/Coursera
Network Analysis and Modeling, offered by Aaron Clauset at University of Colorado
Social and Information Network Analysis, offered by Jure Leskovec at Stanford
Fnds of Social Computing, offered by Kate Larson at University of Waterloo
Social Computing, offered by Yiling Chen at Harvard
Social Computing, offered by Irwin King at University of Berkeley

* Topics to be covered and the corresponding readings are subject to change. Please always check the online schedule.