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Upcoming event focuses on social networking

You may have read the recent headlines about Google's acquisition of YouTube, a fledgling WebSite offering users a chance to share videos, ads, and other content online.

The University's program series Headliners has booked University Professor John Reidl to discuss social (online) networking, a phenomenon that is transforming the internet from a repository of information into a tool that allows people to reach out, form connections, and interact with each other.

Here's more info on the event from the College of Continuing Education's website, where you can also purchase tickets to this and future Headliners events:

There have been precious few innovations that have changed the way humans, as a society, behave. We gathered around fire, we moved our bodies with wheels and our minds with the printing press. Sure, there have been other milestones along the way. But nothing changed our societal DNA like instant, always-on access to a global community and its data vault of knowledge -- the Internet. In the wake of Google's acquisition of YouTube and Reuters launch of a virtual Second Life bureau, join University of Minnesota computer science professor John Riedl for a lively discussion of humanity's "Social Web."

John T. Riedl, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Minnesota, devised the algorithms behind software that is a standard feature of e-commerce Web sites. The software, called “collaborative filtering,� collects data on a consumer’s preferences and calculates items they are likely to enjoy. The winner of several awards for exceptional contributions to teaching, Professor Riedl took a leave from his teaching post in 1996 to form the business Net Perceptions where he serves as chief scientist and a member of the board. Riedl holds four U.S. Patents and in 2002 he co-authored the book Word of Mouse: The Hidden Marketing Power of Collaborative Filtering. His research has been the subject of an article in The New Yorker, coverage on the NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, and a half-hour profile on ABC’s Nightline.

The Social Web

The national coverage of Google’s acquisition of YouTube has focused on its three inventors and their remarkable $1.65 billion payday. Local media coverage focused specifically on Jawed Karim, a 27-year-old St. Paul native whose mother is a professor of biochemistry at the University of Minnesota.

But what are the broader implications of this merger? Why would Google pay such a premium for a year-old fledgling Web site and why are YouTube’s millions of users so concerned over the possibilities of a change of ownership?

No longer is the Internet merely for sharing facts and figures; increasingly it’s for creating connections between people. Nor is the information on the Web mostly static. Anyone can create, share, and interact with its content. Hundreds of social networks are springing up all over the Internet changing the way people keep friends, find jobs, enjoy hobbies, and even choose life partners. What is the Social Web? How did it happen? And why is it so important?

Professor Riedl will present a selection of YouTube movies, political ads, and online games and show several social Web sites in action.

Where and When
Thursday, November 2 at 7 p.m., at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center on the St. Paul campus.