A cultural probes study on video sharing and social communication on the internet

Abstract. The focus of this article is the link between video sharing and interpersonal communication on the internet. Previous works on social television systems belong to two categories: 1) studies on how collocated groups of viewers socialize while watching TV, and 2) studies on novel Social TV applications (e.g. experimental set-ups) and devices (e.g. ambient displays) that provide technological support for TV sociability over a distance. The main shortcoming of those studies is that they have not considered the dominant contemporary method of Social TV. Early adopters of technology have been watching and sharing video online. We employed cultural probes in order to gain in-depth information about the social aspect of video sharing on the internet. Our sample consisted of six heavy users of internet video, watching an average of at least one hour of internet video a day. In particular, we explored how they are integrating video into their daily social communication practices. We found that internet video is shared and discussed with distant friends. Moreover, the results of the study indicate several opportunities and threats for the development of integrated mass and interpersonal communication applications and services.

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