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Midterm Project: Create and measure a social artifact

The goal of this project is to create and spread a social web artifact (an image or video) designed to teach people about some aspect of social computing. The topic is up to you. Some timely themes include privacy, control of the web, fake news, crowdsourcing, etc., but you should feel free to choose something that you feel is important. For instance, one of the interesting consequences of the Facebook study was that people were made to confront the idea that Facebook is manipulating what appears on your News Feed.

This project will be done in small teams of 3-4 people of your choice.

A social artifact is simply something you create and share via the web. For this assignment, everyone should create a static image (or a video) that can be hosted on imgur.

Notes: If you want to host your artifact on an additional platform where you can also measure reach, feel free to do this as long as you host on imgur too. If you want to create a different social artifact (besides an image or video) please get permission from Prof Dow first.

Learning Goals
  • Hypothesizing about what makes social artifacts popular online
  • Demonstrating creativity in making a social artifact
  • Measuring and demonstrating reach through social artifacts
  • Educating others about some aspect of social technology

Comparing Artifacts
To encourage experimentation and to improve your reach each team can release two social artifacts. These artifacts should be release simultaneously so that your team can measure and analyze the differences (Why did some artifacts succeed more than others?  What strategies led to the most uptake? etc.).

Reach People
Up to 15% of your grade for this assignment that is about “reaching others,” you’ll be rewarded as follows:

Base score (out of 100 points): 
- If you rank 10% of the class, you will get 100 points
- Else, if you rank top 40%, you will get 90 points
- Else, if you rank top 60%, you will get 80 points
- Else, you will get 70 points.

- If you reach > 1,000,000 people, you will get a half grade bump in your overall course grade (e.g., if your final grade is an A, you will get an A+).
- If you reach > 200,000 people, you will get 3 bonus points on this assignment.
- If you reach > 100,000 people, you will get 2 bonus points on this assignment.
- If you reach > 10,000 people, you will get 1 bonus points on this assignment.
- If you reach > 5,000 people, you will get 0.5 bonus points on this assignment.
Measuring and Demonstrating Reach

Reaching many people with your artifact is difficult, but so is measuring that reach. For this assignment, teams should release their artifacts on imgur and then report on the number of views, points, and replies for each artifact. Teams should also read and report on the comments others make on your artifacts.

Given the relatively short timeline for the midterm, all teams should aim to release their artifacts on or before  April 17th so that you have at least one week to collect data.


You should create a Google Drive folder for your team below. In that folder, include:

  • Documentation of stages and final versions of your social artifact(s)
  • URLs to where the artifact(s) exist online
  • A 3-4 page report (single spaced, no greater than 12 pt font) describing the artifact(s) and why/how you created it. Provide evidence of reach (e.g., screenshots of view counts), summarize the open-ended comments on your artifact, and do a comparative analysis of your artifacts.  Make sure to include photos of your artifacts and a total view count from all platforms/memes in your report. You can create an appendix for your images if you don't want to include them in the 3-4 page limitations. 
  • A google slide deck that summarizes the key information from the report. Presentations should be approximately 8 minutes each. 

Present your Midterm project during class. To help create a smooth transition between presentations, please create your presentation as a Google slide deck and put a link on the presentation sign up sheet. Sign up for a presentation slot below.


Grades will be based on:
  • Educational value of your artifact (teaches about social computing):  25%
  • Novelty and quality of your social artifact: 30%
  • Ability to reach people and measure reach: 15%
  • Comparative analysis of artifacts: 30%

Aspect 1 (poor)
2-3 3-4 5 (excellent)
Educational value of social artifact
Unclear theme, irrelevant topic. Poor design or vague information.

Relevant topic, informative artifact.
Insightful theme. Conveys a piece of relevant and general knowledge.
Creative and interesting content. Teaches something unique about social computing that everyone should know.
Novelty and quality of social artifact   (30%) The artifact looks very much like ones that already exist, and is poorly implemented.
The artifact offers some new ideas but still appears roughly produced.

The artifact is creative in multiple dimensions and looks good.
An impressive artifact in terms of content and implementation.
Ability to reach people (popularity)  (15%) See Reach People for details. See Reach People for details. See Reach People for details. See Reach People for details.
Comparative analysis of artifacts  (30%) Poorly organized comparison, or no comparison. Hard to understand.
Did a comparison, but it's weak or reaches unconvincing conclusions.
Reasonable comparison and in general persuasive conclusion.
Clear and comprehensive comparison. Considers multiple factors and their interactions.