The underlying theme to all my research is that we can meaningfully enable people to connect with each other via technology. Through my drive to have a real world, meaningful impact on people’s lives, as a research scientist I have worked primarily in industry research focusing on innovation in social technologies, including social networking, match-making, online communities, and mobile social coordination. My approach as both a social psychologist and a technologist is to first develop a deep understanding of natural social processes in any problem space, design innovation proposals based on my observations, prototype new technologies to test key research questions, and then deploy and evaluate said prototypes. I favor triangulating on research answers by combining diverse methodologies including usage analysis, online questionnaires, lab studies, and ethnographic observation.
I received my Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Washington in 1999, and then spent seven years prototyping and evaluating social technologies as a Researcher at Microsoft Research in the Virtual Worlds, Social Computing, and Community Technologies Groups.
In 2006 I carried my passion for creating new technologies into the startup world, focusing on projects that explored how to leverage the increasing prevalence of social networking and social media technologies for real-world community development. In addition to consulting with various startups (as Waggle Labs) to help them incorporate theory, research, and best practices into their innovation processes, I started my own company, Pathable, with two co-founders.
Fundamentally, I am a research scientist, and in 2009 returned to industry research at Yahoo! where I worked directly with the communities teams to engage in forward thinking research, particularly addressing how to help users manage their increasingly integrated communication and social networking streams across the different facets of their lives. In the Spring of 2011, I returned to Microsoft Research in FUSE Labs, where I continue my research exploring identity and group management in social media systems, and pursue a new interest in enabling informal learning through social media.
See my full CV for a statement of research interests and contributions, work history, publications and patents.
Cheng, L., Farnham, S., and Stone, L. (2002). Lessons learned: Building and deploying shared virtual environments. P. 90-111. In R. Schroeder (Ed.) The Social Life of Avatars: Presence and Interaction in Shared Virtual Environments . Springer: London 2002.
Cheng, L., Stone, L., Farnham, S., Clark, A. M., & Zaner-Godsey, M. (2000) Hutchworld: lessons learned. A collaborative project: Fred Hutchsinson Cancer Research Center & Microsoft Research. In Proceedings of Virtual Worlds Conference 2000, Paris, France, June 2000. Reprinted in J. C. Heudin (Ed.) Virtual Worlds, 2000, Springer Berlin/Heidelberg.
Chesley, H., Kawal, R., Landau, J., Cheng, L., Farnham, S., Seban, S. (2000). Scripting business social interactions. In Proceedings of SSGRR, July 2000.
Davis, J., Farnham, S., Jensen, C. (2002). Decreasing online ‘bad’ behavior. In Extended Abstracts of CHI 2002, Minneapolis, April 2002.
Davis, J., Zaner, M., Farnham, S., Marcjan, C., McCarthy, B. (2003) Wireless brainstorming: Overcoming status effects in small group decisions. In Proceedings of HICCS-36 2003, Hawaii.
Farnham, S. D., (2002). Predicting active participation in MSN communities. It’s all in the conversation. Microsoft Technical Report MSR-TR-2002-36.
Farnham, S. D., (2007). Art in the age of social participation on the mega scale: Using crowdsourcing for your projects. ONSCREEN Magazine, May 2007, 911 Media Arts.
Farnham, S. D., (2008). The Facebook application ecosystem: Why some thrive – and most don’t. An O’Reilly Radar Report, March 2008.
Farnham, S. D. & Churchill, E. F. (2010). Faceted identity, faceted lives: social and technical issues in being yourself online. Short paper In Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, 2010.
Farnham, S., Kelly, S.U., Portnoy, W., & Schwartz, J.L.K. (2004). Wallop: Designing social software for co-located social networks. In Proceedings of HICSS-37, 2004, Hawaii.
Farnham, S., McCarthy, J., Patel, Y., Ahuja, S., Norman, D., Hazlewood, W., Lind, J. (2009). Measuring the impact of place attachment on the adoption of a place-based community technology. In Proceedings of CHI 2009.
Farnham, S., Portnoy, W., Turski, A., Cheng, L., Vronay, D. (2003). Personal Map: Automatically modeling the user’s online social network. In Proceedings of Interact 2003, Switzerland, July 2003.
Farnham, S., Cheng, L., Stone, L., Zaner-Godsey, M., Hibbeln, C, Syrjala, K., Clark, A., & Abrams, J. (2002). HutchWorld: Clinical study of computer-mediated social support for cancer patients and their caregivers. In Proceedings of CHI 2002, Minneapolis,April 2002.
Farnham, S. D., Chesley, H. McGhee, D., & Kawal, R. (2000). Structured on-line interactions: Improving the decision-making of small discussion groups. In Proceedings of CSCW 2000, Philadelphia, December, 2000.
Farnham, S. D. & Churchill, E. F. (2011). Faceted identity, faceted lives: Social and technical issues in being yourself online. In Proceedings of Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2011.
Farnham, S.D., Keyani, P. (2006). Swarm: Hyper awareness, hyper coordination, and smart convergence through mobile group text messaging. In Proceedings of HICSS-39, 2006, Hawaii.
Farnham, S. Kirkpatrick, R., Pedersen, E. (2006). Observation of Katrina/Rita deployment: Addressing social and communication challenges of ephemeral groups. In Proceedings of ISCRAM 2006, Newark, New Jersey.
Farnham, S., Schwartz, J., Brown, P. (2009). Leveraging social software for strategic social networking and community development at events. In Communities and Technologies 2009.
Farnham, S.D, Zaner, M., Cheng, L. (2001). Designing for sociability in shared browsers. In Proceedings of Interact 2001, Tokyo, July 2001.
Farnham, S., Zaner-Godsey, M., S. Cheng, L., Stone, L., & Clark, A. M. (2001). Hutchworld: computer-mediated social support for hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients and their caregivers. In Proceedings of Medicine Meets Virtual Reality 2001, San Jose, January 2001.
Jensen, C., Davis, J., & Farnham, S. (2002). Finding others online: Reputation systems for social online spaces. In Proceedings of CHI 2002, Minneapolis, April 2002.
Jensen, C., Farnham, S., Drucker, S., & Kollock, P. (2000). The effect of communication modality on cooperation in online environments. In Proceedings of CHI 2000, The Hague, Netherlands March 2000.
Kelly, S., Sung, C., & Farnham S. (2002). Designing for improved social responsibility and content in on-line communities. In Proceedings of CHI 2002, Minneapolis, April 2002.
Keyani, P., & Farnham, S. D., (2005). Swarm: Text messaging designed to enhance social coordination. In Harper, R., Palen, L., Taylor, A. (Eds.) The Inside Text: Social, Cultural, and Design Perspectives on SMS.
LeeTiernan, S., Farnham, S., & Cheng, L. (2003). Two methods for organizing personal web history. In Extended Abstracts of CHI 2003, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
McCarthy, J., Farnham, S., Patel, Y., et al. (2009). Supporting community in third places with situated social software. In Communities and Technologies, 2009.
Ozenc. K. & Farnham, S. (2011). Life modes in social media. In Proceedings of CHI 2011.
Riegelsberger, J., Counts, S., Farnham, S.D. Philips, B. C. (2007). Personality matters: Incorporating detailed user attributes and preferences into the natchmaking process. In Proceedings of HICSS, 2007.
Riegelsberger, J., Counts, S., Farnham, S, Philips, B. C. (2006). Sounds good to me: effects of photo and voice profiles on gaming partner choice, in Proc. 20th Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2006.
Smith, M., Farnham, S., & Drucker S. (2000). The social life of small graphical chat spaces. In Proceedings of CHI 2000, The Hague, Netherlands March 2000. Reprinted in R. Schroeder (Ed.) The Social Life of Avatars: Presence and Interaction in Shared Virtual Environments. Springer: London. 2002.
Williams, A., Farnham, S., & Counts, S. (2006). Exploring wearable ambient displays for social awareness. In Extended Abstracts of CHI 2006, Florida, April 2006.
See my full CV for a complete list of papers.