The Third IEEE International Conference on Social Computing 2011 (IEEE-SocialCom) & The Third IEEE Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk & Trust 2011 (IEEE-PASSAT), MIT, Boston, Massachusetts

Social Computing is roughly described as computational facilitation of social studies, human social dynamics and the design and use of information and communication technologies that consider social context. This theme has become significant to experts and researcher from various research and commercial bodies. The Third IEEE International Conference on Social Computing provided a forum for researchers and industry persons to exchange the current knowledge on the application and practices in social computing.

The conference was a joint forum for both Social Computing and conference on privacy, security, risk and trust. The participants were able to participate in both conferences which were in parallel sessions. The number was participants were considerable. The venue of the conference is MIT Media Lab.

The morning sessions of the first day started with tutorials, which all participants can attend. The tutorial sessions varying in their topics, MIT discussing their human behavior measurement toolkit, trade network and their resilience, cyber bulling etc. The session started with the theme ‘social networking’. The papers presented were mostly on data mining and analyzing using different algorithms and visualizing. I was considerably surprised to realize that data mining is completely accepted as a credible method of information gathering and prediction, especially the data mining on twitter feeds. Twitter has become the principal social networking site that provides the information in identifying the behavioral patterns. There were number of papers on link prediction, and the use of social psychology was extensive such as the paper presented by Justin Cheng et el. named “Predicting reciprocity in social networks’ addressed the social psychological approach of one positive action being answered by another positive action. Throughout the conference the use of the bits of social psychology with large amount of algorithms were visible, completely misleading the audience into understanding that social is apparently is all about social psychology of the human.

The poster presentation session has been scheduled for the end of the first day, and the presenters were very few, even though the schedule stated nearly 50 poster presenters. The feedback for my poster was good and most of the viewers wanted to know the intricacy of applying political economic understanding of social space into the modern networked space. Some attendees have approached the next day after browsing few of my theories on the web, to clarify some matters.

The second day started with sessions on Gaming, Prediction and Social Search and Understanding. Game was a session which discussed the games in design perspective and role based multi-player games. Prediction is once again about data mining on Twitter. Most of the papers presented were depending on the tweets and the understanding that tweets represent the individual person and their mining and predicting models were based on that understanding. The lack in the use of social theories deprived the audience of a good literature background and the formation of the idea. Almost all presenters have admitted that their end users are the commercial companies, thus informing in no uncertain terms that their researches were consumer market analysis. The session Social search and Understanding was one of the sessions which scrutinized the issues and the flows.

The last day of the conference is on social mining, analysis, and recommendations where human traits, sentiments and behavior were analyzed using computer toolkits. Other sessions were on Forum analysis, Modeling and reputation and privacy.

The keynote addresses become stimulating with Joichi Ito advocating open source initiative. The questions were raised about the privacy and security issues and most of the questions were about medical records of individuals and government records. The discussion was not extended to include the issue of copyright, especially with regards to the developing countries. The second keynote address by Rob Roy introduced his new venture company which concentrate on real-time, in-context audience feedback loop for everything that happens on the television, which provide these resources for the consumer companies to improve their market quality.

The conference summarized me with an understanding that social computing is mostly data mining to accumulate data to analyze the behavioral patterns and habits of people on online social networking sites, especially on Twitter. The social psychology terms were used to present the analysis. It was a surprised that the cloud computing is included in the conference since data mining is justified with cloud computing which would determine who will have the authority to possess the mined data.