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Patterns of Media Use in an Activity-Centric Collaborative Environment (15 May 2005)
This paper describes a new collaboration technology that is based on the support of lightweight, informally structured, opportunistic activities featuring heterogeneous threads of shared items with dynamic membership. We introduce our design concepts, and we provide a detailed analysis of user behavior during a five month field study. We present the patterns of media use that we observed, using a variety of analytical methods including thread clustering and analysis. Major findings include four patterns of media use: communicating, exchanging mixed objects, coordinating, (e.g., of status reports), and semi-archival filing. We observed differential use of various media including highly variable use of chats and surprisingly informal uses of files. We discuss the implications for the design of mixed media collaborative tools to support the work activities of small to medium sized work teams.
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