Title: Social Computing Platforms for the Next Billion People
Advisors: Richard Anderson (Chair), Julie Kientz (GSR, HCDE), James Fogarty, Kurtis Heimerl, and Katharina Reinecke
Abstract: Social media platforms have revolutionized how people communicate, consume and share information and have deeply impacted the lives of billions of people around the world. In addition to providing entertainment and information, they are playing a pivotal role in managing crisis response, political activism, and civil society movements like the Arab Spring. Recent years have also seen the rise of crowdsourcing marketplaces like Amazon Mechanical Turk and CrowdFlower that provide people with additional earning opportunities while advancing social science experiments and data processing. However, low-income, low-literate people in as-yet unconnected communities are often unable to reap the benefits of both social media and crowdsourcing platforms because they face a complex array of socioeconomic barriers, literacy constraints, and infrastructural challenges. The goal of my research is to design, build and evaluate voice-based social media platforms and crowdsourcing marketplaces for low-income, low-literate people in resource-constrained settings. To achieve this goal, I am currently focused on three main research directions: (1) creating social computing platforms that are accessible for people who use basic mobile phones without Internet connectivity; (2) creating social computing platforms for people using smartphones with intermittent Internet connectivity; and (3) understanding and systematizing the content creation, consumption, and sharing practices of the next billion people.
In this talk, I will describe my initial work in these three research directions. In particular, I will present 1) Sangeet Swara – a voice based social media platform for low-income, low-literate basic mobile phone users, 2) Respeak – a voice-based crowd-powered speech transcription platform to provide additional earning opportunities to low-income people who owns a smartphone, and 3) Projecting Health – a community-led video education intervention to improve maternal health for rural communities in India.