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An Empirical Analysis of the Creation, Use and Adoption of Social Computing Applications

  • Authors: Corina Pascu
  • EUR Number: 23415 EN
  • Publication date: 7/2008


The importance of social computing has been acknowledged by European policy makers. It is considered to be a potentially disruptive Information Society development, in which users play an increasingly influential role in the way products and services are shaped and used. This may have important social and economic impacts on all aspects of society. There is, however, little scientific evidence on the take-up and impact of social computing applications. The objective of this report is to provide a systematic empirical assessment of the creation, use and adoption of specific social computing application areas: blogging, podcasting, collaborative content, social networking multimedia sharing, social tagging and social gaming. In addition, the report offers a definition of social computing in order to clarify what is meant, in the face of many different angles, and points to the new area of mobile social computing. The dynamics of user participation in social computing are also discussed. Finally, extensive empirical data is presented in the Annex to this report.
Research into social computing presents numerous challenges. Social computing is a moving target, with rapidly evolving technologies, markets and user behaviours, all of which have emerged and developed over just a few years. The measurement issue is a crucial, in particular in the context of policy implications. While the report attempts to make a critical analysis of best publicly-available data and statistical sources on social computing, which may increase the validity of the finding, there is a strong need for better, systematic measurements and internationally comparable data.

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