If you’re a technology geek in the greater Boston area, chances are you’ve attended at least one meetup, BarCamp, WordCamp, Ignite, GiveCamp, Tweetup, or other event at the New England Research and Development Center – affectionately known as NERD.   But have you ever wondered what happens in those offices beyond the 1st floor conference center or the ultra-cool atrium on the 10th/11th floor?

NERD houses a number of groups, including product groups, advertising and interoperability labs, but the “R” stands for ‘research,’ and one of the primary focuses of the Cambridge, Massachusetts location (one of Microsoft’s 11 R&D facilities) is interdisciplinary research, specifically the integration of math and computer sciences with social sciences and aspects of biomedical sciences.

One subset of the Microsoft Research group is the Social Media Collective:

openquote…social scientists and humanists who use qualitative methods like ethnography and content analysis to study a broad range of online phenomena like social network sites, video games, blogs, participatory culture, mobile devices, news and activism, and more.

The group has just launched a blog, and it already contains some fascinating and timely articles describing their research efforts.

Feel free to join in the conversation!  After all we are all part of the social media spectrum.