Sociable Media

MIT's Sociable Media Group “investigates issues concerning society and identity in the networked world. We address such questions as: How do we perceive other people on-line? What does a virtual crowd look like? How do social conventions develop in the networked world? Our emphasis is on design: we build experimental interfaces and installations that explore new forms of social interaction in the mediated world.”

They're doing some neat projects, some more practical than others. Chat Circles is a stripped-down (sans avitars) visual representation of online chat; Visual Who is “a tool for visualizing the complex relationships among a large group of items” (a la The Brain); Coterie is “a visualization of the conversational dynamics within IRC”; and, my personal favorite, The CurlyCart, is like the illegitmate child of Lotus ScreenCam and a PowerWheels.