To some people, Summer in Cambridge means Red Sox baseball, trips to Cape Cod, and ice cream. To those of us at IBM Research, it also means a new group of talented young interns come to work with us on social software. This year our interns hail from as far away as China, South Korea, and Germany, and from as close as just a few blocks away. They represent a wide variety of universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin, and University of Canada, and University of California, Irvine, where they are studying computer science, design, and psychology, During the next few months they will tackle issues that help us understand how people can collaborate more effectively.
For example, one of our interns is exploring how people represent themselves online in e-meetings. As companies become geographically distributed, we frequently find ourselves working with people on the other side of the globe. Even when our colleagues and customers are close by, it's easier and cheaper to meet electronically rather face-to-face, And even though meeting digitally has become commonplace, the jury is still out on how best to represent ourselves to others sitting around the "virtual table." Granted, the recent explosion of digital media has given us a vast array of ways to tell people who we are and what we are doing. But what works best? Text? Pictures? Status messages? Video? Some combination of these? What happens when we have limited space -- do we become more creative? What kinds of information get people to click to find out more about someone?
We are excited to have them working with us. Watch for more stories about what are interns are up to this Summer.