Virtual Book Club Communities

Anne Sullivan
Anna Malecki

Book clubs are a place where participants seek to widen their perspectives, build community, learn about and try to understand the world, and try on new values and beliefs. A study comparing face to face and virtual book clubs, found that participants enjoyed virtual book clubs for their flexible schedule, access to more people like them, and more time to dig deep into the texts. Some of the known challenges for these groups is in organizing clubs, book selection and moderation. Additionally, social spaces on the internet are often critiqued for creating or aggravating echo chambers. If by design, these groups are organizing to widen their perspectives, do they manage to avoid this problem of forming groups that affirm their biases rather than challenge them? 

The internet is the new public square of our era. Within these sites, readers are making choices, creating identities and practices, and negotiating spaces of being. Online book clubs are another form of public discussion, a form of democracy, a space for citizenship and it's important these spaces promote healthy debate and encourage human flourishing rather than inequality. This research investigates current behaviors of Goodread's online book club members and seeks to design a platform better designed for this user groups needs.

Richard Henneman, Carrie Bruce
Nearly 100

Students in Georgia Tech's interdisciplinary MS in Human-Computer Interaction program do multiple group class projects, and a capstone individual project. Some projects are presented as part of other labs listed here; others are showcased in the MS-HCI Project Lab.

The two-year program spans four schools: Industrial Design; Interactive Computing; Literature, Media and Communications (Digital Media Program); and Psychology. Approximately 50 new students enroll each fall semester.