Christoph Treude. The Role of Social Media Artifacts in Collaborative Software Development. PhD thesis, University of Victoria, 2012.
Social media mechanisms, such as wikis, blogs, tags and feeds, have transformed the way we communicate, work and play online. Many of these technologies have made their way into collaborative software engineering processes and modern software development platforms, either as an adjunct or integrated into a wide range of tools ranging from code editors and issue trackers to IDEs and web-based portals. Based on the results of several large scale empirical studies, this thesis presents findings on how social media artifacts, such as tags, feeds and dashboards, bridge lightweight and heavyweight task management in software development. Furthermore, this work shows how blogs, developer wikis and Q&A websites are changing the way software is documented. Based on these findings, the thesis describes a model that characterizes social media artifacts along several dimensions, such as content type, intended audience, and review mechanisms. The role of social media artifacts in collaborative software development lies in the timely dissemination of scenarios and concerns to a diverse audience through a process of implicit and informal collaboration, triggered by questions from users or articulation work. These findings lead to tool and process recommendations as well as the implementation of tools that leverage social media artifacts, and they indicate that tool support inspired by social media may play an important role in improving collaborative software development practices.