How can we foster social connection with distant others? We have two publications at the 2011 ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2011) exploring this issue:

Marlow, J. & Dabbish, L. (2011). Photosharing in diverse distributed teams. To appear in proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2011), Hangzhou, China.

This note with my PhD student Jennifer Marlow describes a study suggesting that sharing photos highlighting similarities with distant others promotes prosocial behavior.

Farzan, R., Dabbish, L., Kraut, R., & Postmes, T. (2011). Increasing commitment to online communities by designing for social presence. To appear in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2011), Hangzhou, China.

This paper describes a set of studies examining how individual versus team focused designs promote member attachment. Our results suggest that sites that want to encourage social interaction among members should increase the visibility of individual identities in the context of a team.