Marc Smith is a sociologist and Chief Social Scientist at Telligent Systems, a provider of fine quality social media platforms and systems. Smith specializes in the social organization of online communities and computer mediated interaction. He founded and managed the Community Technologies Group at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington and is now leading the development of social media reporting and analysis tools for Telligent. Smith lives and works in Silicon Valley, California.
Smith is the co-editor of Communities in Cyberspace (Routledge), a collection of essays exploring the ways identity; interaction and social order develop in online groups.
Smith’s research focuses on computer-mediated collective action: the ways group dynamics change when they take place in and through social cyberspaces. Many “groups” in cyberspace produce public goods and organize themselves in the form of a commons (for related papers see: http://delicious.com/marc_smith/Paper). Smith’s goal is to visualize these social cyberspaces, mapping and measuring their structure, dynamics and life cycles. He developed the “Netscan” web application and data mining engine that allows researchers studying Usenet newsgroups and related repositories of threaded conversations to get reports on the rates of posting, posters, crossposting, thread length and frequency distributions of activity. This research offers a means to gather historical data on the development of social cyberspaces and can be used to highlight the ways these groups differ from, or are similar to, face-to-face groups. Smith is applying this work to the development of a generalized community analysis platform for Telligent, providing a web based system for groups of all sizes to discuss and publish their material to the web.
Smith received a B.S. in International Area Studies from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 1988, an M.Phil. in social theory from Cambridge University in 1990, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA in 2001. He is an affiliate faculty at the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington and the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland.
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