In her masters thesis, Maggie Hughes designed Keeper at a tool to augment virtual communication by scaffolding the use of ancient social technologies (ASTs) within modern computational social technologies. With a design informed by a deep investigation into four ancient social technologies, Keeper visualizes and mediates online, synchronous, audio and video conversations. Keeper challenges a traditional two dimensional interface through use of “space” and tone. The tool scaffolds ASTs with features like a talking stick and guidelines, but retains key affordances of the digital medium by incorporating private messaging and conversation data visualization. Keeper fosters socially beneficial group dynamics by making visible conversation measures to promote equitability, and it prompts reflection and learning by offering visual maps of a conversation over time. The reception of this tool through experiments and interviews is discussed, and reflections on future work offered.

Program: Research Lab
Phase: September 2018 - May 2020
Example of the Keeper Map drawn live as a part of the live structure.
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