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Title:A persuasive approach to designing interactive tools around the promises and perils of social platforms
Author(s):Dey, Sanorita
Director of Research:Karahalios, Karrie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Karahalios, Karrie
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kirlik, Alex; Sundaram, Hari; Duff, Brittany; Liu, Zhicheng
Department / Program:Computer Science
Discipline:Computer Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Persuasion Theory
Socio-Technical Systems
Behavioral Priming
Social Platforms
Abstract:Every day, people interact with various social platforms. Diverse forms of social platforms opened up a plethora of data to study information dissemination and understanding crowd behavior in finer details. However, there is a flip side to this. People do not only get benefited by using social platforms; rather these platforms can also be exploited for spreading organized disinformation and unintended misinformation to a large audience. These social platforms, with access to the history of users' socio-political biases, can emerge as tools to shape mass opinion. Such a broad spectrum of diversity raises questions about how we can identify the promises and perils of social platforms and how we can design user-centric tools around them. Efficient identification of such promises and perils of social computing systems will require a convergence of social science, behavioral psychology, and persuasion theory with computing. My research shows ways to this convergence. In my dissertation, I have taken a theoretical approach to explain the existing structures of social platforms. My findings helped me to develop interactive tools for masses leveraging socio-political and psychological cues from the crowd. My work is empirical in nature, for which I drew intuitions from theories in social science and used a combination of qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques to extract insights on users' behavior. My research leads to practical systems for human-centric applications and to this end, I chose a specific type of social platform: crowdfunding platform. Specifically, this dissertation makes three contributions. First, it investigates how different forms of crowdfunding platforms become promising resources in our daily life. To this end, I present two work. The first work demonstrates how scientific crowdfunding platforms assist young researchers to seek funding for their research projects through expert endorsements. The second work focuses on the novice entrepreneurs and explains how enterprise crowdfunding platforms assist novices to gather funding from the crowd for their creative ideas and how persuasive promotional videos are essential for those campaigns to be successful. The findings of this work led to the next part of this dissertation where I designed and built VidLyz, an interactive online tool, that can explain the significance and implication of persuasion factors to novice entrepreneurs who have no formal training in advertising and media studies. A follow-up user study showed that VidLyz can effectively guide novices step-by-step to make a concrete plan for their campaign videos. Finally, I take a step further and investigates the flip side of social platforms: how social platforms can increase onion polarization on traditionally stigmatized topics such as equal rights for LGBTIQ people. I show that even after getting exposed to content both in favor of and against equal rights for LGBTIQ people simultaneously, users develop a more polarized opinion on the stigmatized issue after the exposure. In the last part, this dissertation shows promising ways to mitigate the effect of attitude polarization and in-group sensitization with the help of behavioral priming techniques. The findings of this dissertation present structured ways of uncovering the promises and perils of social platforms and shows how these aspects can be leveraged to build interactive socio-technical systems. Overall, it may be fair to see this dissertation as a step forward to design socio-technical systems based on the knowledge learned from the interaction of the users of social platforms.
Issue Date:2020-07-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Sanorita Dey
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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