Table of Contents
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY & THE PRESENCE OF THE “OTHER”
GROUP COMMUNICATION: INSTAGRAM
PROJECT MANAGEMENT: BASECAMP
COLLABORATIVE EDITING: GOOGLE DRIVE’S DOCS
Social Psychology & the Presence of the “other”
According to Claypool, M., Mackie, D. M., and Smith, E. R., “social psychology is the scientific study of the effects of social and cognitive processes on the way individuals perceive, influence, and relate to others (2014, p. 3). Social psychology and the presence of other people can impact the design of technological interventions, and of services and tools, as well as the structure of information and interactions in an organizational hierarchy. The following three examples Instagram, Basecamp, and Google Drive demonstrate how they are affected by these two factors.
Group Communication: Instagram
Instagram is a social network. It enables its users to share photos and videos from their smartphones. The user can interact with other users by liking, commenting, tagging, private messaging, following other users, and being followed by them (Moreau, E., 2018). This network forms informal groups which are characterized by aiming one purpose and by diverging after a short period of time (Bußmann, U, 2014) that means, particularly, user can follow among other people, so called, influencers who share the same interest and let follower take part in their day- to-day life. If an influencer and its followers are seen as a group, the influencer would have the position of an expert and leads as well as works with the users. Furthermore, the influencer feels needed and supported by its followers. The option of following other users invented the ‘comment’-feature that enables users to demonstrate their thoughts and feelings about a post as well as the ‘like’-feature that is designed as a one-click button to enable user to express their positive attitudes about a post. The anonymity that is provided by such a network through the selection of a username allows the user to be without social pressure and contribute in an appropriate or in a hasty way to the group purpose, to other user’s, or to specially influencer’s postings. The attractiveness of an influencer as well as of the follower themselves who feel like being part of a real-time fairytale increase the engagement of both parties. The interaction with other users happens in real-time and is not structured. In terms of the input-process-outcome model, the user-influencer-interaction can be seen as a brainstorming, e.g., influencer travel to foreign countries and ask their followers for recommendations; users that are interested in traveling and have suggestion will get engaged. The influencer posts photos of its experience; that is defined as the process. The output is the engagement of other users in addition to the same users from the input. The goal is different to the one of formal group that, e.g., works on a product launch. It is the growth of the amount of followers and the increase of the follower’s engagement. Furthermore, the ‘tagging’-feature also forms informal group that means a user shares a photo and tags the name of its friend. All in all, Instagram represents an extreme form of group work as well as a very modern-defined version of group work, but it shows one way how to interact with group members and how to get them strongly involved into a topic. The next example goes back to the partially traditional form of group work.
Project Management: Basecamp
Basecamp is a project management tool that creates projects, tracks priorities, and manages tasks (Funke, C., 2016). The presence of known group members, the display of member activities and projects, and the interaction with group members via a message board, a discussion board, and even pings increase the group performance because the process of a single member as well as of the group is visible which can have a motivated or unmotivated factor to people. The information exchanges in an informal way via the messaging and discussion board. On the one hand, the knowledge about who are the group members by showing a profile photo in a bar, that is above the boards where each one stand for a single necessary project component, enhances the productivity, especially, if the profile photo is next to a to-do or a deadline. On the other hand, it is just a photo and not the physical person so that is why group member could be more critical as if they would work next to each other on a project. The ‘automatic check-in’ feature increases the group activity because it notifies selected members and requests their inputs and update on their project process. The social loafing can be less happen because each group member has an assigned role within the project that is pre-determinated when the sub-project groups such as marketing, designers, or product manager were formed. By seeing crossed to-dos from other group members, it pushes other members to contribute and to reach to-dos as well as deadline. Since the normal project case requires that more than one member has to add its work to the project success, Basecamp has a board where the team can add finished documents so other team member can access it and use it as the starting point for their project tasks. It can also have a motivated function since people work on simultaneous project steps and can track an other member’s progress. Furthermore, the requested daily update on project members progress puts pressure on the single member and its production level. The tool can be used in flat hierarchy. All in all, Basecamp created an environment within a project management tool that keeps the whole group on track and keeps them motivated by showing how productive other members are and how they contribute to the success of this project. The tool does not even allow social loafing because each name is attached to a tasks and gets reminded as well as forced to work on it through different tools, and if it is not fulfilled the person get flagged.
- Quote paper
- Friederike Berg (Author), 2018, Human Computer Interaction. Social Psychology and the Presence of the Other, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/505678