This research project designs, develops, and evaluates novel smartphone applications, like SwagApp, that help youth explore and leverage their social networks to engage in collective action, and assess the impact of this action.
From affiliation with social movements through the use of Twitter hashtags to collective organizing through Facebook, social computing tools have catalyzed new and exciting forms of civic engagement. However, youth can have difficulty navigating their social networks, which creates challenges for understanding and putting to use the social capital within their networks.
With Andrea Parker (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Brooke Foucault-Welles (Northeastern University), this research examines how interactive visualizations of youth’s social networks can help youth more effectively understand and put to use the social capital within their networks. Such visualizations may support civic engagement by easing access to the rich and complex information about social ties, helping youth evaluate the impact they have through online civic action, preparing them to make effective decisions about future activities.
We ran network analysis trainings as well as co-design workshops with youth aged 12-18 in order to design an app that facilitates youth learning about network science and use of their own social networks for civic engagement.