Special Technical Community on Social Networking - Who are we and where we're going to!

by Christian Timmerer, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria

Special Technical Communities (STCs) are new organisational entities within the IEEE Computer Society (CS) aiming to provide focused knowledge on a given subject in order to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. STCs offer a new engagement model for IEEE Computer Society members and much broader computer practitioner world to collaborate for their individual and mutual benefit, specifically to advance technical topics to the benefit of the profession. The main objectives of STCs are:

  • Extend the Computer Society beyond traditional membership and activities;
  • Give new outlets for the membership to create and distribute more IP;
  • Enrich professional activities (e.g. newsletters, sharing of best practices); and
  • Strengthen governance through new dynamic organisational structure.

In June 2011 Dejan Milojicic and Phil Laplante introduced STC as the future of the IEEE-CS [1]. The STC benefits to the community can be summarised as follows:

  • More flexible, dynamic, technologically current collaboration under CS (e.g., easier conference management, IP access, agile technical communities);
  • Vertically integrated CS, i.e., communities, products and services;
  • Offer easy, lightweight startup, services-rich CS offering, vertical in nature (topic-specific publications, standards, classes, webinars, books, etc.); and
  • Custom-designed IP bundles, discount/free: magazines, conferences, standards, essentialsets/readynotes, professional certification, webinars, etc.

In December 2011, Sorel Reisman (2011 president) emphasised the role of STCs [2] as an extension of Instant Communities (instantiated by Jim Isaak, 2010 president) which has been continued throughout 2012 by John W. Walz (2012 president) [3]. Additionally, in [4] Dejan S. Milojicic et al. are explaining Computing Now and STCs who are working closely together towards their ambitious goals. A 'first publication' in this context is the Computing Now December 2012 monthly theme on Social Multimedia Communication [5].

STC on Social Networking (SN)

“A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on facilitating the building of social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections.” --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network_service (January 2013)

The aim of this STC is to provide the entry point for researchers and practitioners in Social Networking, fostering communication and interaction between people in the community. The STC on Social Networking intends to be Agora for researchers with similar interests to meet and gather. We are interested in (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Social network services, applications, and tools
  • Social computing and social search 
  • Social multimedia and social communications
  • Mobile social networking
  • Social network analysis and visualisation
  • Standardization trends and federated social Web initiatives
  • Business models
  • Societal issues (e.g., privacy and data protection)

Our Web site can found under http://stcsn.ieee.net/ but we are also present on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. On our Web site and social network streams we are providing the following information assets:

  • Blogs: General 'STCSN News' (by editorial board members), 'Social Life Networks' (by Ramesh Jain), and 'IEEE Social Computing' (bi-monthly column of IEEE Computer edited by John Riedl)
  • 'Featured Articles' curated by Symeon Papadopoulos. Each month one research article will be selected from the IEEE Computer Society Digital Library to be featured in this section.
  • The 'Members' section provides means for free online subscription. Once you are subscribed you are able to access the subpages including discussion forums featuring a monthly newsletter
  • The 'Calendar' includes events (i.e., workshops, conferences, symposia, etc.) in the area of social networks, social web, social computing, and social media.
  • All editorial board members contribute to the 'Links' using social bookmark tools like Delicious.

In the future, the 'E-Letter' shall become the main publication of the STC on Social Networking with the goal to be included and indexed by the IEEE Computer Society Digital Library (CSDL) and IEEE Xplore. Additionally, we're looking forward to provide technical support for scientific events including Webinars within the scope of our STC. However, we are very open and flexible to new ideas and feel free to join via http://stcsn.ieee.net/members, get involved and excited about STCSN!


[1] Dejan S. Milojicic, Phil Laplante, "Special Technical Communities," IEEE Computer, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 84-88, June, 2011.
[2] Sorel Reisman, "Looking Back, Looking Forward," IEEE Computer, vol. 44, no. 12, pp. 8-10, December, 2011.
[3] John W. Walz, "Creating Our Future," IEEE Computer, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 6-7, January, 2012.
[4] Dejan S. Milojicic, Martin Arlitt, Doree Duncan Seligmann, George K. Thiruvathukal, Christian Timmerer, "Innovation Mashups: Academic Rigor Meets Social Networking Buzz," IEEE Computer, vol. 45, no. 9, pp. 101-105, September, 2012.
[5] Christian Timmerer, "Social Multimedia Communication," IEEE Computing Now, December, 2012.