Hi welcome to Jack’s Digital scrapbook a collection of artefacts and thoughts on some of the social technical aspects of our daily lives. We are living in an ever emerging digital world, where we are constantly interacting with technologies of many shapes, size or form, these technologies shapes the way we live in our past, present and future if you like it or not. The intention of this scrapbook that I have compiled is to identify some of these social technological phenomena Social Informatics studies deals with and how we encounter it in our everyday lives either consciously or unconsciously.
In order to grasp the elements of my Digital Scrapbook I will present some of the key elements of Social Informatics. Social Informatics is a tool that examines the social aspects of technology, identifying the focus of different elements that socio technical interaction occurs. Rob Kling describes social informatics as “the interdisciplinary study of the design, uses and consequences of information technologies that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts” (Kling, R. 1999). Information Communication Technology or ICT does not simply stay static; in order to innovate it requires other influences to help make changes for further technological advancements. As people are not simply users of ICT, but are socially complex individuals who are engaging uses of ICT as members of one or more organisations that make use of ICT to engage in mediated social interactions ( Sawyer, S.& Tyworth, M. 2006). The key principles that will be highlighted are ‘action and structure’, ‘seamless web’ and ‘change and continuity’, each principles helps outline some of the socio technical elements which makes them unique in each artefacts.
The first theme for my digital scrapbook looks into ‘Transportation dilemma ‘, transportation is probably the most notable form of technology people have been using for years. The use of public transport in terms of commuters’ satisfaction in Australia has always been few and far between. Some of the artefacts presented depicts the elements of issues which may impact the investment in future projects on improving infrastructure and technology for transportation such as the public train system, along with understanding government institution involvement in investing in these projects. Sydney being one of the major cities where the train system is managed by the state government who are heavily reliant on tax payer funding. These artefacts highlight the constant struggles between government institution and commuters for quality and efficient services. Sympathising with commuters either in public transports or road usage, because of the limited availability of reliable roads or transports in Sydney. The dilemma of these socio technical issues arises from public social actors in society, in order to push for change: news and web debates frequently question the reliability of Roads and Trains services in Sydney. These are some of the key elements and identification in the form of ‘principle of action and structure’ in the form of transportation, social actor and structural constraints, people have agency in shaping, changing and enacting their social context and uses of ICT ( Sawyer, S.& Tyworth, M. 2006).
Theme two of the digital scrapbook begins to delve into the other side of technology which I have lovingly named ‘Digital Social Interaction’ the interaction with social media, the artefacts presented under this theme highlights some of the reoccurring factors that digital socialites encounters today. The suitable way of describing these interactions is using Social informatics’ principle of the Seamless web, a web of sociology treating the material artefacts and social practices as bound up together in situated and mutually constituted activities (Kling, R. 1999). Beginning with the accessibility of technology, understanding the connectedness of today’s family helps attributes the details of usage of different age brackets. Following Identifying the underlying issues of social media overload, in terms of the different outlets of social media that is available out there, understanding the pros and cons of having any access to these social media outlets. Then looking into the practices of social media, how some of these practices are now part of our daily digital lives, some practices are now unconsciously a social norm within our society, how do we know its ok to take a selfie? It is possible that it’s normal part of your life now.
Lastly we look at ‘Technology Overload’, a topic which extends from ‘Digital social interaction’, it makes sense that having increasingly unlimited access to ICT there are possible draw backs. Net addicts and web junkies: the new form of addiction happening online behind closed doors, inevitable outcomes for some, and vulnerable adolescence warped into mind numbing activities with little face to face social interaction. These are some of the socio technical phenomenon which is now part of our society. The principle of change and continuity highlights these issue elements accordingly, as people and technology are continuously evolving but also are intertwined in creating this mechanism of change ( Sawyer, S.& Tyworth, M. 2006). Which in the case of ‘Technology overload’ sprouting issues like these are part of the change and continuity of socio technical phenomenon.
Kling, R. (2000), The Information Society: An International Journal Volume 16, Issue 3
Kling, R. (1999). What Is Social Informatics and Why Does It Matter? DLib Magazine,5(1), Available http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january99/kling/01kling.html
Kling, Rob and Geoffrey McKim. (1998) “The Shaping of Electronic Media in Supporting Scientific Communication: The Contribution of Social Informatics.” In Jack Meadows, Editor. Electronic Communication and Research in Europe. European Commission. <http://academia.darmstadt.gmd.de/seeheim/thebook/index.html>
Sawyer, S.& Tyworth, M.(2006). Social Informatics: Principles, Theory, and Practice. In Social Informatics: An Information Society for all? In Remembrance of Rob Kling. Springer Boston, p49-62.