•Researchers designed and evaluated an ambient social networking system •Changes on in-persona encounters were examined between older adults and relatives •The ubiquitous system and sentient displays eased older adults’ technology adoption •Results show catalyzed in-person encounters between older adults and relatives.
Abstract Social media sites have become immensely popular. In 2010 it was estimated that Americans spent a quarter of their online time using social networking sites (SNSs) and blogs. Prior studies have shown how people spend more time socializing through digital communication services such as SNSs reducing face-to-face interaction. Individuals limited offline interactions cause a sense of self-perception of being less socially involved. In this paper we explore how the use of an ubiquitous system we developed, Tlatoque, is able to adapt and move the SNS's social capital outside the desktop into a domestic setting to support older adults’ offline interactions with their family. The findings of a 21 week deployment study uncovered the offline practices surrounding the use of Tlatoque and its social implications towards the existing family ties (n=30). Results qualitatively indicate that the content shared in SNSs strength older adults’ social network by enriching and complementing traditional social engagements such as those conducted over the phone or in-person.
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