Transitions and Social Interactions: Making Sense of Self and Situation through Engagement with Others
Proceedings of the Association for Information Science & Technology
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This short paper examines social interaction (e.g. asking colleagues for help in the lunchroom) as an informative experience, a way to understand oneself and situation. The process of coming to an understanding is frequently hidden, but may be brought to light by examining the experiences of individuals undergoing a transition – a change that requires them to redefine their sense of self and situation. Using exemplars from previous research and drawing on Lave and Wenger's (1991) theory of situated learning, this paper explores the importance of social interaction to information practices. The role of social interaction will be discussed, including: information seeking to become part of a community, and social interaction as a source of information and as a site for information comparison (a type of information use) to situate oneself in a new environment. The paper proposes making social interaction a focus of study to better understand how individuals use information to change perception about and situate themselves.