Online Mingling: Supporting Ad Hoc, Private Conversations at Virtual Conferences

16 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020

See all articles by Jaeyoon Song

Jaeyoon Song

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Christoph Riedl

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business; Northeastern University - College of Computer and Information Science; Harvard University - Institute for Quantitative Social Science

Thomas W. Malone

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: July 31, 2020

Abstract

Even though many people have found today’s commonly used videoconferencing systems very useful, these systems do not provide support for one of the most important aspects of in-person meetings: the ad hoc, private conversations that happen before, after, and during the breaks of scheduled events—the proverbial hallway conversations. Here we describe our design of a simple system, called Minglr, which supports this kind of interaction by facilitating the efficient matching of conversational partners. We also describe a study of this system’s use at the ACM Collective Intelligence 2020 virtual conference. Analysis of our survey and system log data provides evidence for the usefulness of this capability, showing, for example, that 86% of people who used the system successfully at the conference thought that future virtual conferences should include a tool with similar functionality. We expect similar functionality to be incorporated in other videoconferencing systems and to be useful for many other kinds of business and social meetings, thus increasing the desirability and feasibility of many kinds of remote work and socializing.

Suggested Citation

Song, Jaeyoon and Riedl, Christoph and Malone, Thomas W., Online Mingling: Supporting Ad Hoc, Private Conversations at Virtual Conferences (July 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3662620 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3662620

Jaeyoon Song

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Christoph Riedl

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.christophriedl.net

Northeastern University - College of Computer and Information Science ( email )

360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Harvard University - Institute for Quantitative Social Science ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://christophriedl.net

Thomas W. Malone (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-333
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6843 (Phone)
617-253-6843 (Fax)

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