So.cl: An Interest Network for Informal Learning

Shelly D. Farnham, M. Lahav, David Raskino, Lili Cheng, Steven Ickman, and Tom Laird-McConnell

Abstract

Web search engines emerged prior to the dominance of so

cial media. What if we imagined search as integrating with

social media from the ground up? So.cl is a web application

that combines web browsing, search, and social networking

for the purposes of sharing and learning around topics of in

terest. In this paper, we present the results of a deployment

study examining existing learning practices around search

and social networking for students, and how these practices

shifted when participants adopted So.cl. We found prior to

using So.cl that students already heavily employed search

tools and social media for learning. With the use of So.cl,

we found that users engaged in lightweight, fun social shar

ing and learning for informal, personal topics, but not for

more heavyweight collaboration around school or work.

The public nature of So.cl encouraged users to post search

results as much for self expression as for searching, ena

bling serendipitous discovery around interests.

Details

Publication typeInproceedings
PublisherAAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media
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