AAAI Publications, Eleventh International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

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Designing a Social Support System for College Adjustment and Social Support
Donghee Yvette Wohn, Mousa Ahmadi, Leiping Gong, Indraneel Kulkarni, Atisha Poojari

Last modified: 2017-05-03


A main characteristic of current social systems is that they are designed to never-endingly captivate the attention of users, but are rarely designed to give support to those that need it. We describe the development process of Buddy, a social support mobile app for college students. We created a message stream algorithmically designed to give more attention to those with low psychological wellbeing, hidden feedback metrics to discourage competition or social comparison, and bots to deliver automatic one-click feedback in the form of virtual hugs. Across two field studies, we found that these small design changes can facilitate different types of behavior and community norms.

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