I’m giving a keynote address at the 2005 Psychology of Programming Interest Group 17th Annual Workshop – PPIG 05 at The University of Sussex, at the end of this month.
I haven’t really done mainstream ‘Psychology of Programming’ for years, but that was precisely the point, I believe, of getting involved with this event. In working out the contents of my presentation, I decided the natural thing to do was focus on "PP2SS: From the Psychology of Programming to Social Software", and look at avenues for synergy.
I was dismayed to find that there is precisely ONE entry for ‘psychology of programming interest group’ out of Technorati’s 11,000,000 tracked blogs (hey, after I post this, there’ll be twice as many). Also, Googling for blog site:ppig.org yields only 1 hit, meaning that the PPIG community isn’t taking social software seriously at all – which to me seems totally crazy.
Here’s an excerpt from the talk summary I just sent off a few moments ago:
How does the Psychology of Programming fit into Social Software? Right now, it doesn’t: but it should. I believe that PPIG has much to offer the Social Software community, and vice versa. In this talk, I will outline four ways in which a symbiotic PP/SS relationship could grow:
1. SS -> PPIG: Existing social software tools can at the very least ‘service’ the PPIG community. Community members can provide mutually-referential blog entries describing their research, group wikis, and use RSS newsfeed aggregators and trigger alert services to act in a primary news dissemination capacity. Rapid interchanges can take place using a variety of synchronous social software tools. Right now, such tools are regarded as ‘fringe’, which is absurd: in the rest of the world, they are mainstream.
2. PP -> SS: Psychology of programming ideas can be of great benefit to the social software community. For example, current software environments underlying blogs and wikis are often extremely frustrating to use, typically because the deploy the wrong affordances or clash with the user’s own mental models of the underlying virtual machines. This is ‘home territory’ to PPIG, and is therefore a ripe area for cross-fertilization.
3. PP(SS): Social software usage (as opposed to tool design) is a great domain of study for the PP community. For example, discourse patterns across ‘duelling blog entries’, and the ebb and flow of conversation in blogs, wikis, and instant messaging, is a ripe topic for investigation.
4. SS(PP): Applying a social software perspective to the very act of programming is another means of fostering synergy. Indeed, collaborative programming environments and paradigms, popular in the open source and MOO worlds, already familiar to many in the PPIG community, could be re-examined in the light of the latest tools and interaction styles emerging in the social software world.
The talk will conclude with a view of what a PPIG workshop ought to look like in 2010.