I gave the after-dinner talk at the recent Horizon Doctoral Training Centre’s Summer School at the University of Nottingham to a roomful of extraordinarily inspirational PhD students who are doing their research in the field of Ubiquitous Computing and the Digital Economy. In it, I focus on what it is that computing cannot (currently?) capture about the human experience when online (accurate readings of friendship, social capital, trust, reputation and identity), but how applications like Twitter are helping populate the empty spaces that binary digits are unable to represent.
This is a first stab at the synthesis of these topics based on my research and reading in this area with the aim of turning it into a chapter/chapters in a book, and I was pleased to receive feedback and comments from the audience. For example, is it possible to quantify social capital in some way and then use that as the basis of a game to influence attitudes and behaviours? When I re-posed this question on Twitter, Matt Locke at Channel 4 Education (a publishing hero that has an award-winning stable of games for change) was adamant that, “games may create social capital, but it’s not a game in itself… It’s dangerous to think of social capital as an asset that can be measured or created… social capital is a story, not data.” I’d love your take on it too.