Together with the discipline of Business Information Systems at the University of Sydney Business School we recently started a two year research project (called SMILE) with the aim to (inter alia) investigate knowledge sharing, communication and information management practices in Enterprise Microblogging.
In this context we have seen various approaches to aggregate any kind of relevant status update messages from a wide variety of sources into one stream. An obvious motivation is the sheer abundance of systems and locations in which people find information relevant for their daily business and the wish to simplify access and distribution to such information in real time. Of course user-generated messages (as in microblogging) are a very important part of this trend.
Against this backdrop we decided to organise a workshop to provide a forum for exchanging ideas, discussion and constructive brainstorming with the goal to take stock of the current research and design work on Activity Streaming, to identify future directions and challenges and to establish contact among practitioners and researchers for future activities.
On 7th June collegues from companies like Yammer, Siemens, Trendbüro, Capgemini, Intraworlds, Allianz, Hojoki as well as from several universities followed our invitation and discussed a wide area of subjects.
We are still working on the outcomes of the workshop, but at this point (better late than never) want at least to give a brief insight.
What is Activity Streaming?
The general idea of Activity Streaming is to bundle all this information in one stream, available to whoever needs it. During the workshop Activity Streams were roughly defined as an automatically generated flow of activities from different source systems combined with microblogging (as Martin Böhringer already pointed out).
Challenges and Research Questions
During the workshop we worked out an agenda with various research questions
- “Knowledge” organization: How can meta data generated with Activity Streaming like tagging help to organize content? How can user groups support information distribution?
- How can we provide simplicity and granularity? Is there a problem of overdesign?
- Aggregation of information: Can dashboarding help to visualize information?
- How can we add granularity and context to automatically generated messages?
- How can streams be presentated? E.g. through columns as different sub streams?
- How can access rights be organized?
- Who will provide Activity Streaming? Can we create an open infrastructure?
- How can we match a stream with information needs? How can we, in this context manage information overload while retaining serendipity?