Social media images

We are picking up comments from interviews of users of political social media that they pay a lot of attention to pictures. As an informal observation, it looks like people make inferences about a politician’s character from the images that appear on his or her Facebook pages and Twitter feed. Does it look like the candidate is friendly or stand-offish? Is he or she meeting a lot of people or spending a lot of time behind a podium? Are the images candid shots at events or are they clearly staged? Questions like this are leading browsers of social media to conclusions about what the candidate is like.

How are you influenced by the images that appear on candidates’ social media sites?


Welcome. Please stay awhile and participate.

To those of you who have navigated to our blog… whether you were directed here by a member of our lab… whether you found us by conducting a Google search… whether you decided to click the blog link on our main website (… however you found us, we welcome you!

Who are we? What do we do?

We are the Hawaii Computer-Human Interaction (HICHI) lab, a research group founded and directed by Dr. Scott Robertson–an experienced and influential researcher and Information and Computer Sciences Professor, specializing in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). HCI is a research discipline within the greater computer sciences… only with one major caveat… programming is not always necesarry! In fact, many researchers in our field have social science backgrounds, e.g. Psychology and Anthropology . Generally, HCI research involves understanding how people use technology in various contexts, with the goal of designing new technologies utilizing real world performance data. In other words, HCI researchers and practitioners attempt to improve people’s experiences when using technologies for work, for home and for play, by understanding how current technologies are being used in practice.

One set of technologies that has gained increased attention in recent years are social media like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, MySpace and YouTube. Researchers have looked at how social media was used during uprisings in the Middle East–also known as the Arab Spring. Researchers have tried to better understand the role of social media in the crisis relief effort across several types of crises like natural disasters and war events. Researchers have also investigated social media’s role in the workplace, as well as in people’s personal lives. Stated succinctly, social media is being used by a large geographically dispersed and diverse population, in ways that were often not intended by the designers of these systems.

As a research lab, we’re interested in understanding how social media is used for political deliberation–or, how people user social media to learn about political information and candidates, and discuss political information and candidates. This blog will serve as a public place where we can introduce interim research findings , share ideas about the role of social media in politics, and have open discussions with the greater community (or in this case, the blogosphere). Please stay awhile… and participate.