1st International Workshop on Social Object Networks (SocialObjects 2011)

The Web has become the de facto space where we run many of our daily activities, such as shopping, reading news and books, listening to music, watching videos, sharing our views on current topics and objects, connecting and chatting to friends, etc. The availability of such activities in a digital form has been fueling social-network related research and development for decades, where such social connections are abstracted to large networks of nodes (i.e., people) and edges (i.e., types of social connections), and then exploited in various ways and for various purposes, such as for web science, consumer analysis, business intelligence, and targeted marketing, to name just a few.

The nuclei of most of these social networks are "Social Objects"; which are the objects around which people interact. Examples of such social objects include pictures on Flickr, songs on Last.fm, tags on Delicious, places on Foursquare, posts on Twitter, goods on Amazon, etc. Hence anything that allows people to connect, whether directly or indirectly, can be regarded as a social object, and can produce a social network graph. The different examples convey the breadth of object types around which we interact with others on a regular basis.

Most current works, however, seem to flatten such multi-dimensional networks, where the social objects are often left out of the networks and analysis, and replaced with direct edges between the people in question (e.g. people who watched the same film on Netflix are represented as two directly connected nodes in a graph).

With more social networking sites becoming more open (e.g. through APIs, exportable profiles, 3rd party applications), it is now possible to generate very rich cross-community social networks that capture social connections in many different forms and around many different social objects. This raises a series of new questions and research challenges that this workshop is trying to highlight, such as:

  • What impact do the type and properties of a social object have on the particular social connection it generates?
  • How do social connections and networks around heterogeneous social objects compare in terms of their dynamics and transitivity?
  • What are the risks and opportunities associated with acquiring such multiple dimensional graphs?
  • What technical challenges exist for acquiring, representing and analyzing such social-object centered networks?
  • What new knowledge can be extracted from such rich object-centered social networks?
  • How can social connections and interactions around specific social objects be fostered and exploited more intelligently for commercial and scientific purposes?
  • What kind of new services and applications do knowledge captured through social objects networks enable?
  • How do social object networks impact privacy of individuals and groups?

The above are just a few examples of the multi-disciplinary questions that this workshop will raise, by inviting researchers and practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise to contribute and attend the event.

1st International Workshop on Social Object Networks (SocialObjects 2011)
3rd IEEE Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom 2011)
9th-11th October 2011 | Boston, MA, USA