The Circles of Connections

An evidence-based social visualisation tool to diagnose strengths and weaknesses of your social connections

  • Arezou Soltani-Panah Swinburne University of Technology
  • Tracy De Cotta Swinburne University of Technology
  • Jane Farmer Swinburne University of Technology
  • Amir Aryani Swinburne University of Technology

Abstract

In modernity, there is a growing obsession with tracking various aspects of an individual’s life, that is the ‘quantified self’. The latest trends in technology have made it much easier to track many elements of life such as heart rate, weight loss, fitness activity, and sleep patterns. The list can be extended by collecting data on others as well (such as a baby or pet), leading to the notion of the ‘quantified other’. This new wave in quantified self/other data has an impact on social and behavioural science research as well, moving the field away from a focus on survey studies towards more complex data-driven approaches. However, feasible ways of measuring the more intangible aspects of life such as connectedness, feelings, and resilience are rarely on offer in the self-quantified market. To address this, in partnership with Red Cross Australia, we have developed a social visualisation tool that helps people to assess their social connections, and understand how these connections contribute to aspects of social capital such as participation, support, feelings of safety and trust. We believe having such a tool to self-quantify an individual’s social connections offers the potential for better public health outcomes. The greater impact can be made at a community level to understand and facilitate social connections of diverse communities and raise awareness about their needs. Enriching such information with other spatial or sociodemographic data can help organisations like the Red Cross for provision of targeted supports particularly around areas of disaster management and engaging marginalised or vulnerable populations, and thus to build more resilient communities.

Author Biographies

Arezou Soltani-Panah, Swinburne University of Technology

Arezou Soltani Panah is Senior Research Engineer: Social Innovation Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Tracy De Cotta, Swinburne University of Technology

Tracy De Cotta is Research Assistant: Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Jane Farmer, Swinburne University of Technology

Jane Farmer is Director: Social Innovation Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Amir Aryani, Swinburne University of Technology

Amir Aryani is Senior Research Fellow: Social Innovation Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Published
2018-11-05
How to Cite
Soltani-Panah, A., De Cotta, T., Farmer, J., & Aryani, A. (2018). The Circles of Connections. The Journal of Community Informatics, 14(1). Retrieved from http://ci-journal.org/index.php/ciej/article/view/1452
Section
Special Issue: Designing Participation for the Digital Fringe