Lo-Fi Matchmaking Tech Report
Lo-Fi Matchmaking: A Study of Social Pairing for Backpackers
Axup, Jeff and Viller, Stephen (2006) Lo-Fi Matchmaking: A Study of Social Pairing for Backpackers , School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, The University of Queensland.
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There is a new world emerging around mobile social networks and the technologies used to facilitate and mediate them. It is technically feasible for mobile social software such as pairing or matchmaking systems to introduce people to others and assist information exchange. However, little is known about the social structure of many mobile communities or why they would want pairing systems. When these systems are built, it is not clear what the social response by those communities will be or what the systems will be like to use in practice. While engaged in other work determining requirements for a mobile travel assistant we saw a potentially useful application for a pairing system to facilitate the exchange of travel information between backpackers. To explore this area, we designed two studies involving usage of a low-fidelity role prototype of a social pairing system for backpackers. Graphs of the resulting social pairings showed backpackers who were hubs in the network of travel information. It also demonstrated the effect of travel direction on information utility. Backpackers rated the utility of different pairing types, and provided feedback on the social implications of being paired based on travel histories. Practical usage of the social network pairing activity and the implications of broader societal usage are discussed.