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ItemStrategies to manage the influences from persuasive technologies: the case of self-monitoring and social comparisonROSAS, PEDRO ( 2014)Persuasive technologies are systems designed to support and motivate people to adopt, maintain or change their behaviours. Persuasive systems deliver influences to the user containing information that aims to: 1) trigger the user’s emotions, 2) convince the user with information, and/or 3) raise the user’s awareness of the importance of changing a behaviour. Though it is generally expected that the influences delivered by a persuasive technology will trigger motivation; the theory of cognitive appraisal and coping with stress, proposed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) shows that when people are exposed to influences they can also experience undesired pressure. When individuals experience such undesired pressure they will often implement personal strategies that are attempts to avoid, control, tolerate and/or accept the influence, and the effects that the influence can cause. Whilst the persuasive technology literature reports on how users of persuasive systems interpret an influence as either motivating or adverse, there is a lack of understanding in the current literature on how users can employ strategies to manage the influences from persuasive systems. The aim of this thesis is to explore the strategies that users employ when interacting with a persuasive technology. The present research uses the case of sports technologies that combine the persuasive design principles (PDPs) of self-monitoring and social comparison. Using the aforementioned case allows this research to better understand the use of strategies when persuasive systems deliver influences in two different conditions. The first condition being when a system delivers the influences from self-monitoring and social comparison in different times and contexts, and the second condition being when a single technological platform simultaneously delivers the influences from self-monitoring and social comparison. Through two qualitative studies this research discovered the use of 12 strategies that aimed to 1) manage the influences delivered by the persuasive systems and, 2) manage the effects caused by the influences. The strategies that were used to manage the influences were aimed at preventing the user from experiencing the side effects that the influence could cause. The strategies that were used to manage the effects caused by the influences aimed at alleviating the unpleasant feelings and effects caused by the influences. The findings of the present research have contributed to a better understanding of how users employed strategies to manage the influences from persuasive systems and, the effects that the influences can generate. Furthermore, this thesis explains the use of strategies as a form of appropriating the persuasive system, where users had to perform additional tasks to avoid adverse effects from the influences. The findings extend current knowledge of the design of persuasive technologies by using strategies as a design tool to identify flaws in the persuasive design. Finally this research highlights the importance of tailoring the persuasive system to both the user and the specific physical activity to be performed.
ItemUnderstanding participation in passion-centric social network sitesPLODERER, BERND ( 2011)Passion describes a strong inclination towards an activity that people like and find important. It provides people with meaningful goals, facilitates personal development, and enriches their social lives. On the other hand, passion can be a source of tension with other areas of everyday life, which demands sacrifices, risks, and sometimes even suffering. The aim of this thesis is to explore the relationship between technology and passion. In particular, this thesis addresses a gap in our understanding of participation in social network sites designed to support people’s passions. While related work indicates the potential of passion-centric social network sites to enhance passion, little is known about how participation in these sites may complicate or otherwise influence passion. I conducted three empirical studies to address this gap. Study 1 and 2 examined bodybuilding and the social network site BodySpace, whereas study 3 focussed on analogue photography and Flickr. In all three studies I used a field research approach to examine passion and participation in social network sites as well as related offline settings. Study 1 identified three different categories of online participation: tool, community, and theatre. These three categories showed how passion-centric social network sites both support and constrain the development of skills, social relations, and identities related to passion. Study 2 expanded on these findings, showing how online participation and passion vary between amateurs and related professionals. Study 3 evaluated the findings from study 1 and 2 in a different context. This study refined earlier findings on participation and its influence on passion, and it showed which of these findings are applicable to different domains. Through these studies, this thesis contributes to current research in three distinct, but interrelated ways. First, the findings extend existing models of online participation by showing variations between the different categories of participation of amateurs and professionals. Second, this thesis extends current understanding of social relations on passion-centric social network sites by showing how and why users connect with different kinds of strangers as well as with groups of friends and peers. Finally, this thesis extends current understanding of passion in the context of social network sites. While existing sites support people in achieving their goals, they appear limited in mitigating sacrifices and risks, and thus they may adversely complicate passion. This thesis discusses practical implications emerging from these findings that address this challenge. It concludes with a call for novel technologies to mitigate sacrifices and to facilitate harmonious passion.