What Users of Couchsurfing and Airbnb Can Tell Us about Online Room Sharing

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Couchsurfing and Airbnb are websites that connect people with an extra guest room or couch with random strangers on the Internet who are looking for a place to stay. Although Couchsurfing predates Airbnb by about five years, the two sites are designed to help people do the same basic thing and they work in extremely similar ways. They differ, however, in one crucial respect. On Couchsurfing, the exchange of money in return for hosting is explicitly banned. In other words, couchsurfing only supports the social exchange of hospitality. On Airbnb, users must use money: the website is a market on which people can buy and sell hospitality. (more…)

Enlisting Recovering Addicts as Tech Designers to Fight Relapse

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Over 300,000 Americans have died from drug overdose in the last two decades, and that many will die from drug overdose over the next five years.  Due to this dramatic increase in overdose deaths, the need for effective treatment is great.  However, substance use disorders (SUDs), such as alcoholism and drug abuse, have been historically difficult to treat given their chronic cycles of treatment and relapse.  As many as 75% of the individuals who complete professional treatment will relapse within one year.  To improve treatment outcomes, new and supplemental approaches are needed. In our recent study, we explored if and how technology (e.g., smartphone apps) might supplement traditional treatment options and serve as an additional source of support for individuals in early recovery from SUDs.
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