Identifying opportunities for valuable encounters: Toward context-aware social matching systems

Julia M. Mayer, Quentin Jones, Starr Roxanne Hiltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Mobile social matching systems have the potential to transform the way we make new social ties, but only if we are able to overcome the many challenges that exist as to how systems can utilize contextual data to recommend interesting and relevant people to users and facilitate valuable encounters between strangers. This article outlines how context andmobility influence people's motivations tomeet new people and presents innovative design concepts for mediating mobile encounters through context-aware social matching systems. Findings from two studies are presented. The first, a survey study (n=117) explored the concept of contextual rarity of shared user attributes as a measure to improve desirability in mobile social matches. The second, an interview study (n = 58) explored people's motivations to meet others in various contexts. From these studies we derived a set of novel context-aware social matching concepts, including contextual sociability and familiarity as an indicator of opportune social context; contextual engagement as an indicator of opportune personal context; and contextual rarity, oddity, and activity partnering as an indicator of opportune relational context. The findings of these studies establish the importance of different contextual factors and frame the design space of context-aware social matching systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera1
JournalACM Transactions on Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Context-aware social matching
  • Context-awareness
  • Introduction systems
  • Social discovery
  • Social recommender systems


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