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Territory Building: Supporting small communities in assembling and making sense of online information
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Media Technology.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

I introduce the concept of Territory Building – a social media application approach that intends to guide and support sufferers of rare diseases in the process of “making sense” of online information. Similar to approaches that emphasize the sharing of web resources – such as social bookmarking sites - user interaction in regards to web resources is at the centre of this concept. The idea of Territory Building is built on a geographical metaphor, guiding a community in assembling a “virtual territory”, consisting of existing web resources related to the community’s domain of interest, along with user-generated information pertaining to these resources. As users build up this Territory, claiming new resources for it, charting out the place of this information in the context of the existing Territory, finally colonizing these resources by interacting, discussing, rating the information, they participte in a process that should help both the invidual and the community as a whole in “making sense” of this information. The “added value” generated through the contributions and engagement of the userbase as a whole becomes more accessible to the individual, and individuals in turn have a more immediate means of contributing to the existing knowledge. Paying close attention to the needs of the intended target group, I designed and implemented a prototype web-application based on the Territory Building approach, and deployed it for use by persons suffering from the rare disease Trigeminal Neuralgia. I observed how this audience made use of the approach, and how implementation details were received. 80 users registered in the prototype system, 31 web resources were contributed by users. The findings suggest that the Territory Building concept can address a genuine need in regards to assembling and engaging with available online information, and that patients are interested in making use of this approach for the purpose of disseminating information resources to their peers. Lessons learned also indicate that the approach can potentially support those affected by rare diseases in “making sense” of the information available to them, and that means of accessing and creating user-generated knowledge in the context of existing web-resources can increase the potential of users to benefit from the collaborative knowledge-generating processes of their peers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 87 p.
Keyword [en]
rare diseases, social media, sensemaking, patient online communities
National Category
Media and Communication Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-44586OAI: diva2:822254
Subject / course
Media Technology
Educational program
Social Media and Web Technologies, Master Programme, 120 credits
Available from: 2015-06-25 Created: 2015-06-16 Last updated: 2015-06-25Bibliographically approved

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