Social app popularity begins to decline

31 Jan 2008 - 11:10am
6 years ago
20 replies
1417 reads
Murli Nagasundaram
2007

Social apps are far more complex than single-user apps. I wonder to what
extent a lack of social psych research input into the design of these apps
-- the most popular ones having been designed by college undergrads -- is
causing their popularity to plateau? To me, this suggests a discontinuity
similar to the one that occurred when command line interfaces were displaced
by GUIs. Every GUI out there can trace its origins to the the
multi-disclipinary, thoroughly grounded research conducted at Xerox PARC. I
think it's possible to go only so far by the seat of one's pants. Without
GUIs or at least the bastardized compromises that were delivered on the DOS
platform in the mid-1980's, PC use would have plateaued in much the way the
social apps are slowing down now.

The next phase of Social App development might require Sproull, Kiesler,
Turoff, Hiltz and others to re-emerge from the shadows. -murli

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/

'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networksSeven Two year
itch pokeBy Chris
Williams<http://forms.theregister.co.uk/mail_author/?story_url=/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/>

More by this author<http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Chris%20Williams>
Published Thursday 31st January 2008 15:19 GMT
Find out how your peers are dealing with
Virtualization<http://whitepapers.theregister.co.uk/paper/view/341/reg2?td=toptextlink>

*Shhh!* Can you hear a hiss? That's the sound of naughty facts deflating the
social networking balloon a tad.

Whisper it, but numbers from web analytics outfit comScore have confirmed
what the chatter in bars and cafes has been saying for months - people are,
just, well, *bored* of social networks.

The average length of time users spend on all of the top three sites is on
the slide. Bebo, MySpace and Facebook all took double-digit percentage hits
in the last months of 2007. December could perhaps be forgiven as a seasonal
blip when people see their real friends and family, but the trend was
already south.

The story year-on-year is even uglier for social networking advocates. Bebo
and MySpace were both well down on the same period in 2006 - Murdoch's site
by 24 per cent. Facebook meanwhile chalked up a rise, although way off its
mid-2007 hype peak when you couldn't move for zeitgeist-chasing "where's the
Facebook angle?" stories in the press and on TV.

You can survey the full numerical horror for youself
here<http://creativecapital.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/its-official-us-social-networking-sites-see-slow-down/>at
Creative
Capital.

That "user engagement" is dropping off (page impression growth is merely
slowing) should be of particular concern for the sales people struggling to
turn these free services into profit-making businesses. In the age of tabbed
browsing, how long people stick around is particularly key for "interactive"
sites, where people aren't attracted by useful information, but by
time-wasting opportunities.

And as we've noted here before, if the cash isn't raining down on you you
need a "phenomenal" growth line to sell credulous reporters and investors.
Expansion into non-English speaking countries is viewed as such a panacea
for the increasingly obvious slowdown US social networks are suffering (see
Facebook's trawl for translation
bitches<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/24/fb_translation/>
).

The fact is that web users people are just as fickle in Leipzig as they are
in London, and it seems to us that a delayed Friends Reunited (remember
that?) effect is kicking in.

When Friends Reunited enjoyed its "phenomenal" growth period people would
join, log in maybe a dozen times, catch up with those class mates they
wanted to, then forget about it.

On Facebook behaviour seems much the same; join, accumulate dozens of
semi-friends, spy on a few exes for a bit, play some Scrabulous, get bored,
then get on with your life, occasionally dropping in to respond to a message
or see some photos that have been posted.

Similarly, once the novelty of MySpace wears off, most people only stop by
to check out bands or watch videos.

They've basically developed a way to add a penny-scraping coda to the
Friends Reunited pattern, thanks to diversions that have been enabled by
broadband. The biggest difference is that Friends Reunited made easy profit
because it didn't give all its features away to users for free.

In the meantime, expect spinners to work on massaging the comScore figures,
and happy-clappy bloggers to leap to social networking's defence by claiming
the falls are sign of the market maturing, and of fierce competition. They
could be right, but it still means that the individual business are not the
goldmine their greedy backers slavered over.

Despite his endearing deployment of rubber sandals in public, Mark
Zuckerberg is yet to convince marketeers - the only people who are ever
going to pay him for access to Facebook - that the popularity of his site
heralds the next 100 years of media.

And the "widget economy", where developers cobble together web applications
in the hope of grabbing their own slice of the riches social networking's
massive personal data warehouses
promised<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/18/dodgy_facebook_info/>?
Well the business model for RockYou pretty much sums it up. The startup,
that owns the number two Facebook App "Fun Wall", only sells advertising to
other Facebook App developers.

Ted Dzuiba of the recently-departed, much-missed blog Uncov put it
best<http://www.uncov.com/2007/12/3/rockyou-dominates-the-fake-business-world>:
"Fuck, this is a pyramid scheme. There is no money input into this system
except venture capital.

"I remember a time, long long ago, when tech companies spent their own
venture capital on each other, so revenues were all booked from the same
small pool of money. Yeah, as I recall, it didn't end well."

We're not suggesting that social networking sites are totally useless or are
going to disappear anytime soon (Friends Reunited is still around? Who
knew!) - they're a boon for prying journalists and recruiters for sure, and
damn it, Scrabulous *is* a good game. But today's shocking confirmation that
their "phenomenal" growth isn't impervious to human nature does make the
$15bn valuation Microsoft slapped on Facebook when it paid $240m for 1.6 per
cent equity seem even more preposterous, if it were possible.

It's an oft-quoted fact among social networking sceptics, but it's worth
reminding ourselves for perspective that Ford - y'know, the massive
international automotive conglomerate with massive physical assets,
customers who stay loyal over decades and truly global reach - is valued at
less than $15bn on Wall Street. (R)

Comments

31 Jan 2008 - 11:27am
SemanticWill
2007

I agree with you to the extent that most (All?) social networking sites are
designed without the aid/help/input from social psychologists.. I only got
interested in the social psych/cog psych of SNAs after I started designing
an SNA.

But first a comment - I know of only one SNA that was designed by college
students - Facebook. And it is all about socializing and entertainment.
People can connect - but other than twittering - their is no formalized
publishing or blogging. There is no incentive system built in. Connections
on Facebook and many other SNAs mean absolutely nothing. It offers no other
value to the user. The other thing is that there may be a saturation point
for some SNAs - a poiunt at which every person inclined to join an SNA has
already done so. I know for a fact that Gather.com continues to gather
momentum as an SNA since we launched it in August '05 - but it's value
proposition and market positioning could not be more different from the
likes of Facebook, which might account for it's continued growth. On Gather,
at least - connections have meaning - you need to cultivate relationships
through commenting, messaging, author-author collaboration. There are
incentives built in to encourage people to connect, comment, publish - as
well as contests for writers.

That said - I agree that SNAs - to continue to grow - better grasp an
understanding of basic socpsych if they wish to grow the networks and
increased their value to users.

-W

2008/1/31 Murli Nagasundaram <murliman at gmail.com>:

> Social apps are far more complex than single-user apps. I wonder to what
> extent a lack of social psych research input into the design of these apps
> -- the most popular ones having been designed by college undergrads -- is
> causing their popularity to plateau? To me, this suggests a discontinuity
> similar to the one that occurred when command line interfaces were
> displaced
> by GUIs. Every GUI out there can trace its origins to the the
> multi-disclipinary, thoroughly grounded research conducted at Xerox PARC.
> I
> think it's possible to go only so far by the seat of one's pants. Without
> GUIs or at least the bastardized compromises that were delivered on the
> DOS
> platform in the mid-1980's, PC use would have plateaued in much the way
> the
> social apps are slowing down now.
>
> The next phase of Social App development might require Sproull, Kiesler,
> Turoff, Hiltz and others to re-emerge from the shadows. -murli
>
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
>
> 'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networksSeven Two
> year
> itch pokeBy Chris
> Williams<
> http://forms.theregister.co.uk/mail_author/?story_url=/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
> >
>
> More by this author<
> http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Chris%20Williams>
> Published Thursday 31st January 2008 15:19 GMT
> Find out how your peers are dealing with
> Virtualization<
> http://whitepapers.theregister.co.uk/paper/view/341/reg2?td=toptextlink>
>
> *Shhh!* Can you hear a hiss? That's the sound of naughty facts deflating
> the
> social networking balloon a tad.
>
> Whisper it, but numbers from web analytics outfit comScore have confirmed
> what the chatter in bars and cafes has been saying for months - people
> are,
> just, well, *bored* of social networks.
>
> The average length of time users spend on all of the top three sites is on
> the slide. Bebo, MySpace and Facebook all took double-digit percentage
> hits
> in the last months of 2007. December could perhaps be forgiven as a
> seasonal
> blip when people see their real friends and family, but the trend was
> already south.
>
> The story year-on-year is even uglier for social networking advocates.
> Bebo
> and MySpace were both well down on the same period in 2006 - Murdoch's
> site
> by 24 per cent. Facebook meanwhile chalked up a rise, although way off its
> mid-2007 hype peak when you couldn't move for zeitgeist-chasing "where's
> the
> Facebook angle?" stories in the press and on TV.
>
> You can survey the full numerical horror for youself
> here<
> http://creativecapital.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/its-official-us-social-networking-sites-see-slow-down/
> >at
> Creative
> Capital.
>
> That "user engagement" is dropping off (page impression growth is merely
> slowing) should be of particular concern for the sales people struggling
> to
> turn these free services into profit-making businesses. In the age of
> tabbed
> browsing, how long people stick around is particularly key for
> "interactive"
> sites, where people aren't attracted by useful information, but by
> time-wasting opportunities.
>
> And as we've noted here before, if the cash isn't raining down on you you
> need a "phenomenal" growth line to sell credulous reporters and investors.
> Expansion into non-English speaking countries is viewed as such a panacea
> for the increasingly obvious slowdown US social networks are suffering
> (see
> Facebook's trawl for translation
> bitches<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/24/fb_translation/>
> ).
>
> The fact is that web users people are just as fickle in Leipzig as they
> are
> in London, and it seems to us that a delayed Friends Reunited (remember
> that?) effect is kicking in.
>
> When Friends Reunited enjoyed its "phenomenal" growth period people would
> join, log in maybe a dozen times, catch up with those class mates they
> wanted to, then forget about it.
>
> On Facebook behaviour seems much the same; join, accumulate dozens of
> semi-friends, spy on a few exes for a bit, play some Scrabulous, get
> bored,
> then get on with your life, occasionally dropping in to respond to a
> message
> or see some photos that have been posted.
>
> Similarly, once the novelty of MySpace wears off, most people only stop by
> to check out bands or watch videos.
>
> They've basically developed a way to add a penny-scraping coda to the
> Friends Reunited pattern, thanks to diversions that have been enabled by
> broadband. The biggest difference is that Friends Reunited made easy
> profit
> because it didn't give all its features away to users for free.
>
> In the meantime, expect spinners to work on massaging the comScore
> figures,
> and happy-clappy bloggers to leap to social networking's defence by
> claiming
> the falls are sign of the market maturing, and of fierce competition. They
> could be right, but it still means that the individual business are not
> the
> goldmine their greedy backers slavered over.
>
> Despite his endearing deployment of rubber sandals in public, Mark
> Zuckerberg is yet to convince marketeers - the only people who are ever
> going to pay him for access to Facebook - that the popularity of his site
> heralds the next 100 years of media.
>
> And the "widget economy", where developers cobble together web
> applications
> in the hope of grabbing their own slice of the riches social networking's
> massive personal data warehouses
> promised<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/18/dodgy_facebook_info/>?
> Well the business model for RockYou pretty much sums it up. The startup,
> that owns the number two Facebook App "Fun Wall", only sells advertising
> to
> other Facebook App developers.
>
> Ted Dzuiba of the recently-departed, much-missed blog Uncov put it
> best<
> http://www.uncov.com/2007/12/3/rockyou-dominates-the-fake-business-world>:
> "Fuck, this is a pyramid scheme. There is no money input into this system
> except venture capital.
>
> "I remember a time, long long ago, when tech companies spent their own
> venture capital on each other, so revenues were all booked from the same
> small pool of money. Yeah, as I recall, it didn't end well."
>
> We're not suggesting that social networking sites are totally useless or
> are
> going to disappear anytime soon (Friends Reunited is still around? Who
> knew!) - they're a boon for prying journalists and recruiters for sure,
> and
> damn it, Scrabulous *is* a good game. But today's shocking confirmation
> that
> their "phenomenal" growth isn't impervious to human nature does make the
> $15bn valuation Microsoft slapped on Facebook when it paid $240m for 1.6per
> cent equity seem even more preposterous, if it were possible.
>
> It's an oft-quoted fact among social networking sceptics, but it's worth
> reminding ourselves for perspective that Ford - y'know, the massive
> international automotive conglomerate with massive physical assets,
> customers who stay loyal over decades and truly global reach - is valued
> at
> less than $15bn on Wall Street. (R)
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"No matter how beautiful,
no matter how cool your interface,
it would be better if there were less of it."
Alan Cooper
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

31 Jan 2008 - 11:36am
Jeff Axup
2006

I really like this quote - " people are, just, well, *bored* of social
networks." As if humanity will *ever* be bored of social networks,
considering that we have been happily using them for thousands of years.

It certainly wouldn't be surprising that there would be an upper bound on
how much socialization an individual can maintain, and that the need for
different types of socialization change throughout the phases of one's life.
My guess is that the SNAs that offer more mature services such as finding
employment may appeal to a larger audience and see longer-term usage, while
those focusing on posting college party photos probably only appeal for a
shorter period and see a high-turnover in their user base. I would also
expect that there are high-value niche opportunities for SNAs that haven't
properly been explored yet.

-Jeff

________________________________________________________________________________
Jeff Axup, Ph.D.
Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting, San Diego

Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group Usability
E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com

"Designers mine the raw bits of tomorrow. They shape them for the present
day." - Bruce Sterling
________________________________________________________________________________

2008/1/31 Murli Nagasundaram <murliman at gmail.com>:

> Social apps are far more complex than single-user apps. I wonder to what
> extent a lack of social psych research input into the design of these apps
> -- the most popular ones having been designed by college undergrads -- is
> causing their popularity to plateau? To me, this suggests a discontinuity
> similar to the one that occurred when command line interfaces were
> displaced
> by GUIs. Every GUI out there can trace its origins to the the
> multi-disclipinary, thoroughly grounded research conducted at Xerox PARC.
> I
> think it's possible to go only so far by the seat of one's pants. Without
> GUIs or at least the bastardized compromises that were delivered on the
> DOS
> platform in the mid-1980's, PC use would have plateaued in much the way
> the
> social apps are slowing down now.
>
> The next phase of Social App development might require Sproull, Kiesler,
> Turoff, Hiltz and others to re-emerge from the shadows. -murli
>
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
>
> 'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networksSeven Two
> year
> itch pokeBy Chris
> Williams<
> http://forms.theregister.co.uk/mail_author/?story_url=/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
> >
>
> More by this author<
> http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Chris%20Williams>
> Published Thursday 31st January 2008 15:19 GMT
> Find out how your peers are dealing with
> Virtualization<
> http://whitepapers.theregister.co.uk/paper/view/341/reg2?td=toptextlink>
>
> *Shhh!* Can you hear a hiss? That's the sound of naughty facts deflating
> the
> social networking balloon a tad.
>
> Whisper it, but numbers from web analytics outfit comScore have confirmed
> what the chatter in bars and cafes has been saying for months - people
> are,
> just, well, *bored* of social networks.
>
> The average length of time users spend on all of the top three sites is on
> the slide. Bebo, MySpace and Facebook all took double-digit percentage
> hits
> in the last months of 2007. December could perhaps be forgiven as a
> seasonal
> blip when people see their real friends and family, but the trend was
> already south.
>
> The story year-on-year is even uglier for social networking advocates.
> Bebo
> and MySpace were both well down on the same period in 2006 - Murdoch's
> site
> by 24 per cent. Facebook meanwhile chalked up a rise, although way off its
> mid-2007 hype peak when you couldn't move for zeitgeist-chasing "where's
> the
> Facebook angle?" stories in the press and on TV.
>
> You can survey the full numerical horror for youself
> here<
> http://creativecapital.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/its-official-us-social-networking-sites-see-slow-down/
> >at
> Creative
> Capital.
>
> That "user engagement" is dropping off (page impression growth is merely
> slowing) should be of particular concern for the sales people struggling
> to
> turn these free services into profit-making businesses. In the age of
> tabbed
> browsing, how long people stick around is particularly key for
> "interactive"
> sites, where people aren't attracted by useful information, but by
> time-wasting opportunities.
>
> And as we've noted here before, if the cash isn't raining down on you you
> need a "phenomenal" growth line to sell credulous reporters and investors.
> Expansion into non-English speaking countries is viewed as such a panacea
> for the increasingly obvious slowdown US social networks are suffering
> (see
> Facebook's trawl for translation
> bitches<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/24/fb_translation/>
> ).
>
> The fact is that web users people are just as fickle in Leipzig as they
> are
> in London, and it seems to us that a delayed Friends Reunited (remember
> that?) effect is kicking in.
>
> When Friends Reunited enjoyed its "phenomenal" growth period people would
> join, log in maybe a dozen times, catch up with those class mates they
> wanted to, then forget about it.
>
> On Facebook behaviour seems much the same; join, accumulate dozens of
> semi-friends, spy on a few exes for a bit, play some Scrabulous, get
> bored,
> then get on with your life, occasionally dropping in to respond to a
> message
> or see some photos that have been posted.
>
> Similarly, once the novelty of MySpace wears off, most people only stop by
> to check out bands or watch videos.
>
> They've basically developed a way to add a penny-scraping coda to the
> Friends Reunited pattern, thanks to diversions that have been enabled by
> broadband. The biggest difference is that Friends Reunited made easy
> profit
> because it didn't give all its features away to users for free.
>
> In the meantime, expect spinners to work on massaging the comScore
> figures,
> and happy-clappy bloggers to leap to social networking's defence by
> claiming
> the falls are sign of the market maturing, and of fierce competition. They
> could be right, but it still means that the individual business are not
> the
> goldmine their greedy backers slavered over.
>
> Despite his endearing deployment of rubber sandals in public, Mark
> Zuckerberg is yet to convince marketeers - the only people who are ever
> going to pay him for access to Facebook - that the popularity of his site
> heralds the next 100 years of media.
>
> And the "widget economy", where developers cobble together web
> applications
> in the hope of grabbing their own slice of the riches social networking's
> massive personal data warehouses
> promised<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/18/dodgy_facebook_info/>?
> Well the business model for RockYou pretty much sums it up. The startup,
> that owns the number two Facebook App "Fun Wall", only sells advertising
> to
> other Facebook App developers.
>
> Ted Dzuiba of the recently-departed, much-missed blog Uncov put it
> best<
> http://www.uncov.com/2007/12/3/rockyou-dominates-the-fake-business-world>:
> "Fuck, this is a pyramid scheme. There is no money input into this system
> except venture capital.
>
> "I remember a time, long long ago, when tech companies spent their own
> venture capital on each other, so revenues were all booked from the same
> small pool of money. Yeah, as I recall, it didn't end well."
>
> We're not suggesting that social networking sites are totally useless or
> are
> going to disappear anytime soon (Friends Reunited is still around? Who
> knew!) - they're a boon for prying journalists and recruiters for sure,
> and
> damn it, Scrabulous *is* a good game. But today's shocking confirmation
> that
> their "phenomenal" growth isn't impervious to human nature does make the
> $15bn valuation Microsoft slapped on Facebook when it paid $240m for 1.6per
> cent equity seem even more preposterous, if it were possible.
>
> It's an oft-quoted fact among social networking sceptics, but it's worth
> reminding ourselves for perspective that Ford - y'know, the massive
> international automotive conglomerate with massive physical assets,
> customers who stay loyal over decades and truly global reach - is valued
> at
> less than $15bn on Wall Street. (R)
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

31 Jan 2008 - 11:52am
Todd Roberts
2005

I wonder about the extent to which the major social network sites realize
they are in the entertainment business. As such, their stickiness is based
on novelty, and has an inherent ceiling effect since there is only so much
time to devote to entertainment. As the novelty wears off, and there is no
answer to the "now what" question, people will start spending their time
elsewhere.

It's interesting that the sites seem to have hitched their continued novelty
to the 3rd party app bandwagon. Contrast that with another major
entertainment platform - game consoles - where the platform providers are
also major contributors of novelty (i.e. new games) to help ensure that
people stick around.

There is also another alternative which Will pointed out - get out of the
entertainment business and provide a different kind of value. There is a lot
of power locked up in social networks, it's just not being captured right
now. Facebook at least seems to realize this and thus is moving in the
platform direction, it's just a matter of whether the platform is structured
in a way that allows for value extraction.

31 Jan 2008 - 12:02pm
Christine Boese
2006

I dunno. It appears to me that the biggest sector for manufactured outrage
over social media numbers going up or down comes from VC or others (tech
media) with such a vested interest in people "slathering" all over something
with mass media-scale obsession numbers that they appear to lose all
perspective. No massive numbers, and VC are bored, perhaps because they are
offended when people don't behave like utter sheep and move around en masse
when their buttons are pushed.

Thank god for interactivity, heterogeneity, long tails, diversity, and other
things that vex these people so horribly.

Anybody who participates in social media, and has over long periods of time
(The Well? Remember listservs? Usenet?) understands very well that there are
"lifecyles" for all gathering places. When was the last time you wept over a
dead shopping mall with grass growing in the cracks in the parking lot? How
long can an active church go on without some doctrine dispute that leads a
chunk of the parishoners to split off into a rival congregation?

I suspect that the people with the deep pockets are primarily gold
prospectors, looking to mine rich veins, and when they discover faster money
or better gushers (to mix the metaphors thoroughly), they will move on, and
the social networks will remain to give them the finger. Which type of folks
would you rather side with?

Social networks and the virtual landscapes they have authored preceded the
flow of money online, and they persisted through the last crash (imagine
that!), and they will persist again, regardless of how crowds migrate and
social groups change and morph, who splits off from which church, or which
discussion group has the greatest center of SOCIAL gravity (which bears
little correspondence to MONEY gravity).

Chris

2008/1/31 Jeff Axup <axup at userdesign.com>:

> I really like this quote - " people are, just, well, *bored* of social
> networks." As if humanity will *ever* be bored of social networks,
> considering that we have been happily using them for thousands of years.
>
> It certainly wouldn't be surprising that there would be an upper bound on
> how much socialization an individual can maintain, and that the need for
> different types of socialization change throughout the phases of one's
> life.
> My guess is that the SNAs that offer more mature services such as finding
> employment may appeal to a larger audience and see longer-term usage,
> while
> those focusing on posting college party photos probably only appeal for a
> shorter period and see a high-turnover in their user base. I would also
> expect that there are high-value niche opportunities for SNAs that haven't
> properly been explored yet.
>
> -Jeff
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________________________
> Jeff Axup, Ph.D.
> Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting, San Diego
>
> Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group
> Usability
> E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
> Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
> Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com
>
> "Designers mine the raw bits of tomorrow. They shape them for the present
> day." - Bruce Sterling
>
> ________________________________________________________________________________
>
> 2008/1/31 Murli Nagasundaram <murliman at gmail.com>:
>
> > Social apps are far more complex than single-user apps. I wonder to
> what
> > extent a lack of social psych research input into the design of these
> apps
> > -- the most popular ones having been designed by college undergrads --
> is
> > causing their popularity to plateau? To me, this suggests a
> discontinuity
> > similar to the one that occurred when command line interfaces were
> > displaced
> > by GUIs. Every GUI out there can trace its origins to the the
> > multi-disclipinary, thoroughly grounded research conducted at Xerox
> PARC.
> > I
> > think it's possible to go only so far by the seat of one's pants.
> Without
> > GUIs or at least the bastardized compromises that were delivered on the
> > DOS
> > platform in the mid-1980's, PC use would have plateaued in much the way
> > the
> > social apps are slowing down now.
> >
> > The next phase of Social App development might require Sproull, Kiesler,
> > Turoff, Hiltz and others to re-emerge from the shadows. -murli
> >
> > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
> >
> > 'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networksSeven Two
> > year
> > itch pokeBy Chris
> > Williams<
> >
> http://forms.theregister.co.uk/mail_author/?story_url=/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
> > >
> > →
> > More by this author<
> > http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Chris%20Williams>
> > Published Thursday 31st January 2008 15:19 GMT
> > Find out how your peers are dealing with
> > Virtualization<
> > http://whitepapers.theregister.co.uk/paper/view/341/reg2?td=toptextlink>
> >
> > *Shhh!* Can you hear a hiss? That's the sound of naughty facts deflating
> > the
> > social networking balloon a tad.
> >
> > Whisper it, but numbers from web analytics outfit comScore have
> confirmed
> > what the chatter in bars and cafes has been saying for months - people
> > are,
> > just, well, *bored* of social networks.
> >
> > The average length of time users spend on all of the top three sites is
> on
> > the slide. Bebo, MySpace and Facebook all took double-digit percentage
> > hits
> > in the last months of 2007. December could perhaps be forgiven as a
> > seasonal
> > blip when people see their real friends and family, but the trend was
> > already south.
> >
> > The story year-on-year is even uglier for social networking advocates.
> > Bebo
> > and MySpace were both well down on the same period in 2006 - Murdoch's
> > site
> > by 24 per cent. Facebook meanwhile chalked up a rise, although way off
> its
> > mid-2007 hype peak when you couldn't move for zeitgeist-chasing "where's
> > the
> > Facebook angle?" stories in the press and on TV.
> >
> > You can survey the full numerical horror for youself
> > here<
> >
> http://creativecapital.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/its-official-us-social-networking-sites-see-slow-down/
> > >at
> > Creative
> > Capital.
> >
> > That "user engagement" is dropping off (page impression growth is merely
> > slowing) should be of particular concern for the sales people struggling
> > to
> > turn these free services into profit-making businesses. In the age of
> > tabbed
> > browsing, how long people stick around is particularly key for
> > "interactive"
> > sites, where people aren't attracted by useful information, but by
> > time-wasting opportunities.
> >
> > And as we've noted here before, if the cash isn't raining down on you
> you
> > need a "phenomenal" growth line to sell credulous reporters and
> investors.
> > Expansion into non-English speaking countries is viewed as such a
> panacea
> > for the increasingly obvious slowdown US social networks are suffering
> > (see
> > Facebook's trawl for translation
> > bitches<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/24/fb_translation/>
> > ).
> >
> > The fact is that web users people are just as fickle in Leipzig as they
> > are
> > in London, and it seems to us that a delayed Friends Reunited (remember
> > that?) effect is kicking in.
> >
> > When Friends Reunited enjoyed its "phenomenal" growth period people
> would
> > join, log in maybe a dozen times, catch up with those class mates they
> > wanted to, then forget about it.
> >
> > On Facebook behaviour seems much the same; join, accumulate dozens of
> > semi-friends, spy on a few exes for a bit, play some Scrabulous, get
> > bored,
> > then get on with your life, occasionally dropping in to respond to a
> > message
> > or see some photos that have been posted.
> >
> > Similarly, once the novelty of MySpace wears off, most people only stop
> by
> > to check out bands or watch videos.
> >
> > They've basically developed a way to add a penny-scraping coda to the
> > Friends Reunited pattern, thanks to diversions that have been enabled by
> > broadband. The biggest difference is that Friends Reunited made easy
> > profit
> > because it didn't give all its features away to users for free.
> >
> > In the meantime, expect spinners to work on massaging the comScore
> > figures,
> > and happy-clappy bloggers to leap to social networking's defence by
> > claiming
> > the falls are sign of the market maturing, and of fierce competition.
> They
> > could be right, but it still means that the individual business are not
> > the
> > goldmine their greedy backers slavered over.
> >
> > Despite his endearing deployment of rubber sandals in public, Mark
> > Zuckerberg is yet to convince marketeers - the only people who are ever
> > going to pay him for access to Facebook - that the popularity of his
> site
> > heralds the next 100 years of media.
> >
> > And the "widget economy", where developers cobble together web
> > applications
> > in the hope of grabbing their own slice of the riches social
> networking's
> > massive personal data warehouses
> > promised<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/18/dodgy_facebook_info/>?
> > Well the business model for RockYou pretty much sums it up. The startup,
> > that owns the number two Facebook App "Fun Wall", only sells advertising
> > to
> > other Facebook App developers.
> >
> > Ted Dzuiba of the recently-departed, much-missed blog Uncov put it
> > best<
> > http://www.uncov.com/2007/12/3/rockyou-dominates-the-fake-business-world
> >:
> > "Fuck, this is a pyramid scheme. There is no money input into this
> system
> > except venture capital.
> >
> > "I remember a time, long long ago, when tech companies spent their own
> > venture capital on each other, so revenues were all booked from the same
> > small pool of money. Yeah, as I recall, it didn't end well."
> >
> > We're not suggesting that social networking sites are totally useless or
> > are
> > going to disappear anytime soon (Friends Reunited is still around? Who
> > knew!) - they're a boon for prying journalists and recruiters for sure,
> > and
> > damn it, Scrabulous *is* a good game. But today's shocking confirmation
> > that
> > their "phenomenal" growth isn't impervious to human nature does make the
> > $15bn valuation Microsoft slapped on Facebook when it paid $240m for
> 1.6per
> > cent equity seem even more preposterous, if it were possible.
> >
> > It's an oft-quoted fact among social networking sceptics, but it's worth
> > reminding ourselves for perspective that Ford - y'know, the massive
> > international automotive conglomerate with massive physical assets,
> > customers who stay loyal over decades and truly global reach - is valued
> > at
> > less than $15bn on Wall Street. (R)
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> > February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> > Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

31 Jan 2008 - 12:04pm
SemanticWill
2007

Another anecdote (note- I no longer have stock in Gather) - Gather takes
it's advertising revenue and revenue from allowing companies to set up
groups around their products - and turns around and pays people for their
contributions to the SN - you earn points by connecting, publishing, and
commenting - which can be redeemed for gift cards to borders/home depot,
etc.... if you generate a min number of points/month - you can earn cash. My
mom (blogging about 3 hours a day), gets about $150-$250/month in gift
cards. So different SNAs need to really find out what value they are
offering to users/members. MySpace obviously allows you to stalk children,
Facebook allows you to watch your connections Twitter (and stalk your
ex-bf/gf), LinkedIn allows you to keep track of all your business
connections, but my real questions is for the 300+ other me-2 SNAs that
don't offer anything unique, or anything at all - and expect to generate
income from eyeballs and stickiness without offering a compelling reason to
be sticky....

On Jan 31, 2008 11:52 AM, Todd Roberts <trrobert at gmail.com> wrote:

> I wonder about the extent to which the major social network sites realize
> they are in the entertainment business. As such, their stickiness is based
> on novelty, and has an inherent ceiling effect since there is only so much
> time to devote to entertainment. As the novelty wears off, and there is no
> answer to the "now what" question, people will start spending their time
> elsewhere.
>
> It's interesting that the sites seem to have hitched their continued
> novelty
> to the 3rd party app bandwagon. Contrast that with another major
> entertainment platform - game consoles - where the platform providers are
> also major contributors of novelty (i.e. new games) to help ensure that
> people stick around.
>
> There is also another alternative which Will pointed out - get out of the
> entertainment business and provide a different kind of value. There is a
> lot
> of power locked up in social networks, it's just not being captured right
> now. Facebook at least seems to realize this and thus is moving in the
> platform direction, it's just a matter of whether the platform is
> structured
> in a way that allows for value extraction.
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"No matter how beautiful,
no matter how cool your interface,
it would be better if there were less of it."
Alan Cooper
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

31 Jan 2008 - 12:29pm
SemanticWill
2007

Christine's comment is prescient given the blog posting by Seth Godin:

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/01/tribal-manageme.html

"Tribe Management

Brand management is so 1999.

Brand management was top down, internally focused, political and money
based. It involved an MBA managing the brand, the ads, the shelf space, etc.
The MBA argued with product development and manufacturing to get decent
stuff, and with the CFO to get more cash to spend on ads.

Tribe management is a whole different way of looking at the world.

It starts with permission, the understanding that the real asset most
organizations can build isn't an amorphous brand but is in fact the
privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to
people who want to get them.

It adds to that the fact that what people really want is the ability to
connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build
a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps
them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell
and something to talk about.

And of course, since this is so important, product development and
manufacturing and the CFO *work* for the tribal manager. Everything the
organization does is to feed and grow and satisfy the tribe.

Instead of looking for customers for your products, you seek out products
(and services) for the tribe. Jerry Garcia understood this. Do you?

Who does this work for? Try record companies and bloggers, real estate
agents and recruiters, book publishers and insurance companies. It works for
Andrew Weil and for Rickie Lee Jones and for Rupert at the WSJ... But it
also works for a small web development firm or a venture capitalist.

People form tribes with or without us. The challenge is to work for the
tribe and make it something even better."

2008/1/31 Christine Boese <christine.boese at gmail.com>:

> I dunno. It appears to me that the biggest sector for manufactured outrage
> over social media numbers going up or down comes from VC or others (tech
> media) with such a vested interest in people "slathering" all over
> something
> with mass media-scale obsession numbers that they appear to lose all
> perspective. No massive numbers, and VC are bored, perhaps because they
> are
> offended when people don't behave like utter sheep and move around en
> masse
> when their buttons are pushed.
>
> Thank god for interactivity, heterogeneity, long tails, diversity, and
> other
> things that vex these people so horribly.
>
> Anybody who participates in social media, and has over long periods of
> time
> (The Well? Remember listservs? Usenet?) understands very well that there
> are
> "lifecyles" for all gathering places. When was the last time you wept over
> a
> dead shopping mall with grass growing in the cracks in the parking lot?
> How
> long can an active church go on without some doctrine dispute that leads a
> chunk of the parishoners to split off into a rival congregation?
>
> I suspect that the people with the deep pockets are primarily gold
> prospectors, looking to mine rich veins, and when they discover faster
> money
> or better gushers (to mix the metaphors thoroughly), they will move on,
> and
> the social networks will remain to give them the finger. Which type of
> folks
> would you rather side with?
>
> Social networks and the virtual landscapes they have authored preceded the
> flow of money online, and they persisted through the last crash (imagine
> that!), and they will persist again, regardless of how crowds migrate and
> social groups change and morph, who splits off from which church, or which
> discussion group has the greatest center of SOCIAL gravity (which bears
> little correspondence to MONEY gravity).
>
> Chris
>
> 2008/1/31 Jeff Axup <axup at userdesign.com>:
>
> > I really like this quote - " people are, just, well, *bored* of social
> > networks." As if humanity will *ever* be bored of social networks,
> > considering that we have been happily using them for thousands of years.
> >
> > It certainly wouldn't be surprising that there would be an upper bound
> on
> > how much socialization an individual can maintain, and that the need for
> > different types of socialization change throughout the phases of one's
> > life.
> > My guess is that the SNAs that offer more mature services such as
> finding
> > employment may appeal to a larger audience and see longer-term usage,
> > while
> > those focusing on posting college party photos probably only appeal for
> a
> > shorter period and see a high-turnover in their user base. I would also
> > expect that there are high-value niche opportunities for SNAs that
> haven't
> > properly been explored yet.
> >
> > -Jeff
> >
> >
> >
> ________________________________________________________________________________
> > Jeff Axup, Ph.D.
> > Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting, San Diego
> >
> > Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group
> > Usability
> > E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
> > Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
> > Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com
> >
> > "Designers mine the raw bits of tomorrow. They shape them for the
> present
> > day." - Bruce Sterling
> >
> >
> ________________________________________________________________________________
> >
> > 2008/1/31 Murli Nagasundaram <murliman at gmail.com>:
> >
> > > Social apps are far more complex than single-user apps. I wonder to
> > what
> > > extent a lack of social psych research input into the design of these
> > apps
> > > -- the most popular ones having been designed by college undergrads --
> > is
> > > causing their popularity to plateau? To me, this suggests a
> > discontinuity
> > > similar to the one that occurred when command line interfaces were
> > > displaced
> > > by GUIs. Every GUI out there can trace its origins to the the
> > > multi-disclipinary, thoroughly grounded research conducted at Xerox
> > PARC.
> > > I
> > > think it's possible to go only so far by the seat of one's pants.
> > Without
> > > GUIs or at least the bastardized compromises that were delivered on
> the
> > > DOS
> > > platform in the mid-1980's, PC use would have plateaued in much the
> way
> > > the
> > > social apps are slowing down now.
> > >
> > > The next phase of Social App development might require Sproull,
> Kiesler,
> > > Turoff, Hiltz and others to re-emerge from the shadows. -murli
> > >
> > > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
> > >
> > > 'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networksSeven Two
> > > year
> > > itch pokeBy Chris
> > > Williams<
> > >
> >
> http://forms.theregister.co.uk/mail_author/?story_url=/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
> > > >
> > > →
> > > More by this author<
> > > http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Chris%20Williams>
> > > Published Thursday 31st January 2008 15:19 GMT
> > > Find out how your peers are dealing with
> > > Virtualization<
> > >
> http://whitepapers.theregister.co.uk/paper/view/341/reg2?td=toptextlink>
> > >
> > > *Shhh!* Can you hear a hiss? That's the sound of naughty facts
> deflating
> > > the
> > > social networking balloon a tad.
> > >
> > > Whisper it, but numbers from web analytics outfit comScore have
> > confirmed
> > > what the chatter in bars and cafes has been saying for months - people
> > > are,
> > > just, well, *bored* of social networks.
> > >
> > > The average length of time users spend on all of the top three sites
> is
> > on
> > > the slide. Bebo, MySpace and Facebook all took double-digit percentage
> > > hits
> > > in the last months of 2007. December could perhaps be forgiven as a
> > > seasonal
> > > blip when people see their real friends and family, but the trend was
> > > already south.
> > >
> > > The story year-on-year is even uglier for social networking advocates.
> > > Bebo
> > > and MySpace were both well down on the same period in 2006 - Murdoch's
> > > site
> > > by 24 per cent. Facebook meanwhile chalked up a rise, although way off
> > its
> > > mid-2007 hype peak when you couldn't move for zeitgeist-chasing
> "where's
> > > the
> > > Facebook angle?" stories in the press and on TV.
> > >
> > > You can survey the full numerical horror for youself
> > > here<
> > >
> >
> http://creativecapital.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/its-official-us-social-networking-sites-see-slow-down/
> > > >at
> > > Creative
> > > Capital.
> > >
> > > That "user engagement" is dropping off (page impression growth is
> merely
> > > slowing) should be of particular concern for the sales people
> struggling
> > > to
> > > turn these free services into profit-making businesses. In the age of
> > > tabbed
> > > browsing, how long people stick around is particularly key for
> > > "interactive"
> > > sites, where people aren't attracted by useful information, but by
> > > time-wasting opportunities.
> > >
> > > And as we've noted here before, if the cash isn't raining down on you
> > you
> > > need a "phenomenal" growth line to sell credulous reporters and
> > investors.
> > > Expansion into non-English speaking countries is viewed as such a
> > panacea
> > > for the increasingly obvious slowdown US social networks are suffering
> > > (see
> > > Facebook's trawl for translation
> > > bitches<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/24/fb_translation/>
> > > ).
> > >
> > > The fact is that web users people are just as fickle in Leipzig as
> they
> > > are
> > > in London, and it seems to us that a delayed Friends Reunited
> (remember
> > > that?) effect is kicking in.
> > >
> > > When Friends Reunited enjoyed its "phenomenal" growth period people
> > would
> > > join, log in maybe a dozen times, catch up with those class mates they
> > > wanted to, then forget about it.
> > >
> > > On Facebook behaviour seems much the same; join, accumulate dozens of
> > > semi-friends, spy on a few exes for a bit, play some Scrabulous, get
> > > bored,
> > > then get on with your life, occasionally dropping in to respond to a
> > > message
> > > or see some photos that have been posted.
> > >
> > > Similarly, once the novelty of MySpace wears off, most people only
> stop
> > by
> > > to check out bands or watch videos.
> > >
> > > They've basically developed a way to add a penny-scraping coda to the
> > > Friends Reunited pattern, thanks to diversions that have been enabled
> by
> > > broadband. The biggest difference is that Friends Reunited made easy
> > > profit
> > > because it didn't give all its features away to users for free.
> > >
> > > In the meantime, expect spinners to work on massaging the comScore
> > > figures,
> > > and happy-clappy bloggers to leap to social networking's defence by
> > > claiming
> > > the falls are sign of the market maturing, and of fierce competition.
> > They
> > > could be right, but it still means that the individual business are
> not
> > > the
> > > goldmine their greedy backers slavered over.
> > >
> > > Despite his endearing deployment of rubber sandals in public, Mark
> > > Zuckerberg is yet to convince marketeers - the only people who are
> ever
> > > going to pay him for access to Facebook - that the popularity of his
> > site
> > > heralds the next 100 years of media.
> > >
> > > And the "widget economy", where developers cobble together web
> > > applications
> > > in the hope of grabbing their own slice of the riches social
> > networking's
> > > massive personal data warehouses
> > > promised<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/18/dodgy_facebook_info/
> >?
> > > Well the business model for RockYou pretty much sums it up. The
> startup,
> > > that owns the number two Facebook App "Fun Wall", only sells
> advertising
> > > to
> > > other Facebook App developers.
> > >
> > > Ted Dzuiba of the recently-departed, much-missed blog Uncov put it
> > > best<
> > >
> http://www.uncov.com/2007/12/3/rockyou-dominates-the-fake-business-world
> > >:
> > > "Fuck, this is a pyramid scheme. There is no money input into this
> > system
> > > except venture capital.
> > >
> > > "I remember a time, long long ago, when tech companies spent their own
> > > venture capital on each other, so revenues were all booked from the
> same
> > > small pool of money. Yeah, as I recall, it didn't end well."
> > >
> > > We're not suggesting that social networking sites are totally useless
> or
> > > are
> > > going to disappear anytime soon (Friends Reunited is still around? Who
> > > knew!) - they're a boon for prying journalists and recruiters for
> sure,
> > > and
> > > damn it, Scrabulous *is* a good game. But today's shocking
> confirmation
> > > that
> > > their "phenomenal" growth isn't impervious to human nature does make
> the
> > > $15bn valuation Microsoft slapped on Facebook when it paid $240m for
> > 1.6per
> > > cent equity seem even more preposterous, if it were possible.
> > >
> > > It's an oft-quoted fact among social networking sceptics, but it's
> worth
> > > reminding ourselves for perspective that Ford - y'know, the massive
> > > international automotive conglomerate with massive physical assets,
> > > customers who stay loyal over decades and truly global reach - is
> valued
> > > at
> > > less than $15bn on Wall Street. (R)
> > > ________________________________________________________________
> > > *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> > > February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> > > Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
> > >
> > > ________________________________________________________________
> > > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> > >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> > February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> > Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"No matter how beautiful,
no matter how cool your interface,
it would be better if there were less of it."
Alan Cooper
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

31 Jan 2008 - 12:43pm
SemanticWill
2007

Merli -

Wouldn't you agree that from a pure social psychology perspective - at least
theoretically - pleasing or not - SNAs do allow for three key group/social
dynamic needs, Stalking, imitation, and gossip - a recent book actually has
come out talking about the huge importance of gossip in maintaining social
networks... you might find the following interesting:

*"Stalking, imitation and gossip*

What would a good social system be without some means of stalking, imitation
and gossip? (Speaking of which - I was recently reading something about
evolutionary psychobiology and the importance of Gossip in developing
language and semantic maps in early humans, but can't for the life of me
remember where -- need to come back to this - anyway, I will look into this
and come back with some references). Part of social life is all the things
we pretend we don't do when in polite company. Most of us, at some point or
the other stalked someone (remember when you could
"finger<http://www.cs.indiana.edu:800/finger>"
people). Some report<http://laughingmeme.org/articles/2005/12/26/tag-stalking>
*learning about others' personal lives* using their *me* and
*craigslist*tags. And of course, we can
*imitate people* we watch (copy their items and tags). Recently, I have
started noticing the watercooler type post-event conversations around
photographs on Flickr (facilitated by specific event tags).

Luckily, tagging systems do not promote popularity lists the way blogs do.
If they did, then this rich social tapestry might degenerate to popularity
contests, and otherwise sane people would start behaving as in high school
(specifically American high school. For a fascinating article on Why Nerds
Are Unpopular - the importance of Gossip, pecking order, arbitrary
hierarchies in social organizations and group flock behavior in american
high schools - read this article by Paul
Graham<http://paulgraham.com/nerds.html>
)."

~ will
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

31 Jan 2008 - 1:10pm
Murli Nagasundaram
2007

Will, clearly the current generation of SNAs do serve some needs ... one
doesn't have to be a researcher (or be knowledgeable about research) to
build a technology that meets a need at some basic level. I would call this
the Mechanic/Toolsmith/Craftsman stage of technology development. This sort
of thing can be observed in every field of human endeavor. Even very
primitive cultures without a codified, abstracted, body of knowledge (which
is one outcome of science) are able to create artifacts that still find use
in far more sophisticated forms in more advanced cultures.

In fact, I would suggest -- and this has been my observation -- that new
paradigms of technology more often than not emerge from the greasy hands of
tinkerers (possessing tacit knowledge) rather than scientists. The
scientist's contribution is extract theories and universal principles --
after the fact -- in such a manner that the tinkerer's invention can expand
in scope and complexity. I don't believe that any of the tinkerers who
developed microcomputers in the 1970's (IMSAI, Altair and so on) could be
accused of secretly having acquired Ph.D.s.; on the other hand, we needed
the Doug Engelbarts, Alan Kays, Bob Metcalfes, Vint Cerfs and Larry Teslers
to up the ante. Note that Tim Berners-Lee does not have a PhD. (Not that I
would classify him 'merely' as a 'tinkerer'; on the other hand, Edison
probably wouldn't have objected to the label).

Stalking, imitation, and gossip perhaps are uppermost in the minds of
college undergrads, and current technology -- by accident or design --
accommodates, encourages, or allows such activities. But here's the thing:
almost invariably, there are some functions that are part of the design, and
other 'features' that emerge through the way the tool is appropriated.
Social psychology can help explain the appropriation, plus, it can help in
consciously reshaping the designs of the tools to encourage certain kinds of
use and discourage (in a 'Slanty' manner, as per another ongoing thread)
certain other kinds of tools. Further, the explicit soc. psych exploration
of current use, abuse, and lack of use can help a great deal in reviving the
fortunes and expanding the scope of SNAs.

Thanks for the clip on Stalking, Imitation and Gossip -- very interesting
piece.

Murli

On Jan 31, 2008 11:13 PM, W Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Merli -
>
> Wouldn't you agree that from a pure social psychology perspective - at
> least theoretically - pleasing or not - SNAs do allow for three key
> group/social dynamic needs, Stalking, imitation, and gossip - a recent book
> actually has come out talking about the huge importance of gossip in
> maintaining social networks... you might find the following interesting:
>
> *"Stalking, imitation and gossip*
>
> What would a good social system be without some means of stalking,
> imitation and gossip? (Speaking of which - I was recently reading something
> about evolutionary psychobiology and the importance of Gossip in developing
> language and semantic maps in early humans, but can't for the life of me
> remember where -- need to come back to this - anyway, I will look into this
> and come back with some references). Part of social life is all the things
> we pretend we don't do when in polite company. Most of us, at some point or
> the other stalked someone (remember when you could "finger<http://www.cs.indiana.edu:800/finger>"
> people). Some report<http://laughingmeme.org/articles/2005/12/26/tag-stalking>
> *learning about others' personal lives* using their *me* and *craigslist*tags. And of course, we can
> *imitate people* we watch (copy their items and tags). Recently, I have
> started noticing the watercooler type post-event conversations around
> photographs on Flickr (facilitated by specific event tags).
>
> Luckily, tagging systems do not promote popularity lists the way blogs do.
> If they did, then this rich social tapestry might degenerate to popularity
> contests, and otherwise sane people would start behaving as in high school
> (specifically American high school. For a fascinating article on Why Nerds
> Are Unpopular - the importance of Gossip, pecking order, arbitrary
> hierarchies in social organizations and group flock behavior in american
> high schools - read this article by Paul Graham<http://paulgraham.com/nerds.html>
> )."
>
>
>

31 Jan 2008 - 3:10pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Jeff Axup said (with what I perceived as a touch of irony, and I think
not too seriously): "I really like this quote - 'people are, just,
well, bored of social networks.' As if humanity will ever be bored
of social networks, considering that we have been happily using them
for thousands of years."

Not like this. To compare this technological simulation to a true
social network is to say you've been skydiving because you watched a
video that was taped from the point of view of the guy who actually
did it. It has some value if viewed with sufficient empathy (we
supply that ourselves), but lacks the validation needed for a genuine
experience of society.

What do Facebook, MySpace, et al *not* have that traditional social
networking has? Things like body language, eye contact, genuine
social context, validation that you are in fact talking to another
16-year-old like yourself ... In short, they lack the element of
trust -- in part because participants have whatever degree of
anonymity they choose to have.

Whatever other metrics are applied to assess the decline of online
social networks, I think this lack of trust will be the bottom line.
We'll have heard one too many stories about people who pretended to
be something they aren't, and others getting hurt in some way
because of it.

I do think that online social networks can be a valuable way to
reinforce existing social interactions, but it seems unlikely to me
that they could ever stand alone. Nor should they. I can't imagine
calling any group a society when all their interactions are
superficial and transient. Anything that evaporates in a power outage
is not a society.

Thank you, Murli and everyone, for some very thought-provoking ideas.
I'm enjoying your comments very much, in spite of my uncertainty
about your existence in real time and space.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387

31 Jan 2008 - 3:53pm
bryan.haggerty ...
2005

I actually wrote a quick blurb about this topic a few months back:
http://losingcontext.com/blog/2007/12/social_network_collectors_edition.php

The engagement with new social networks seems, at a basic level, to be
building your list of friends. Once that is done, boredom sets in and
users try something new and do it all over again.

Bryan Haggerty

31 Jan 2008 - 4:07pm
Jeff Howard
2004

There's a nice exploration/rant on this topic over on Adam
Greenfield's blog:

Antisocial Networking
http://speedbird.wordpress.com/2007/12/09/antisocial-networking/

From the post - "All social-networking systems, as currently
designed, demonstrably create social awkwardnesses that did not, and
could not, exist before. [...] Having to declare the degree of
intimacy you%u2019re willing to grant each friend, whether in public
and for all to see or simply so that they see it, is a state of
affairs I%u2019ve described, in comments elsewhere, as "frankly
autistic." [...] I believe that technically-mediated social
networking at any level beyond very simple, local applications is
fundamentally, and probably persistently, a bad idea."

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387

31 Jan 2008 - 4:49pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Greenfield makes some great points, Jeff. Thanks for that link to his
"Antisocial Networking" rant.

Looking at this from the standpoint of anthropology, I think there's
something inevitable about how we're wrestling with some of these
details just a few years after we've functionally connected
ourselves in real time to the entire world (or those relatively few
inhabitants of the world who can afford the time and technology to
play along).

When we superimpose new technology on a pre-existing convention, it
becomes a sort of metaphor for that convention. But a web page is not
in fact a "page" at all. Our "friends" on MySpace are not really
friends, and the word "apple" is not an apple.

The metaphor is profoundly useful for our understanding of any new
thing -- if we don't forget it's a metaphor.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387

31 Jan 2008 - 5:01pm
SemanticWill
2007

Jeff - going all Magritte on us now! To wit: "This is not a pipe"

Not all social networks mediated by technology are the same. Friends on
MySpace, Connections on LinkedIn, friends on Facebook -- may not be friends
- but they are not precluded from being friends by the nature of the
mediation. Some friends on Facebook may in fact be real friends. What may
start out as 'fake' friends - may end up becoming friends in meatspace.
No?

On Thu, 31 Jan 2008 13:49:35, Jeff Seager <abrojos at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Greenfield makes some great points, Jeff. Thanks for that link to his
> "Antisocial Networking" rant.
>
> Looking at this from the standpoint of anthropology, I think there's
> something inevitable about how we're wrestling with some of these
> details just a few years after we've functionally connected
> ourselves in real time to the entire world (or those relatively few
> inhabitants of the world who can afford the time and technology to
> play along).
>
> When we superimpose new technology on a pre-existing convention, it
> becomes a sort of metaphor for that convention. But a web page is not
> in fact a "page" at all. Our "friends" on MySpace are not really
> friends, and the word "apple" is not an apple.
>
> The metaphor is profoundly useful for our understanding of any new
> thing -- if we don't forget it's a metaphor.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"No matter how beautiful,
no matter how cool your interface,
it would be better if there were less of it."
Alan Cooper
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

31 Jan 2008 - 5:27pm
Jeff Howard
2004

To put it another way, "The Map is Not The Territory."
http://tinyurl.com/z4qps

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387

31 Jan 2008 - 5:48pm
SemanticWill
2007

Wow - now your busting out with Baudrillard?
Welcome to the desert of the real! Actually - I suppose that social networks
will only exhibit the kind of crisis of identity when simulacra replace
simulation, and copies without originals rule the SNAs

*http://tinyurl.com/y9kh9w

*
On Thu, 31 Jan 2008 14:27:35, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:

> To put it another way, "The Map is Not The Territory."
> http://tinyurl.com/z4qps
>
> // jeff
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"No matter how beautiful,
no matter how cool your interface,
it would be better if there were less of it."
Alan Cooper
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

31 Jan 2008 - 6:17pm
Jeff Seager
2007

Will said: "Jeff- going all Magritte on us now! To wit: 'This is not
a pipe' "

Hah! Yeah, I was thinking something along the lines of the zen koan
in which the monk says "not the wind, not the flag, but mind is
moving."

Seriously, you're right that MySpace "friends" can transition (in
either direction). If I have an objection to the whole concept of
online social networks, it's the way the metaphors are used so
casually and loosely.

What are friendship, respect and love without accountability and the
reciprocal obligation to _earn_ our place in the lives of others?
What will these concepts mean to a person who evolves without
sufficient understanding of that reciprocity?

My friendships require considerably more maintenance than an
occasional twitter, and I'm content with that. We've only recently
heard about the girl who committed suicide because she was "dissed"
online by somebody who didn't exist. I think that's one casualty we
should think about when we consider the implications of implementing
new social paradigms via technology.

Sorry, that's probably way off topic here! I do think it's
important to consider the social implications of these technologies,
though.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387

31 Jan 2008 - 6:30pm
SemanticWill
2007

I do agree with you on those points. I personally don't find this off topic
because it goes to the nascent concept of a code of ethics for us - since
many of us here are designing these new ecologies of simulated experience
and identity - and we need to think about the implications of our design
decisions both at the micro and at the macro level. I am reminded of the
postmodern concept of fractured identity - like a broken mirror - managing
various aspects of ourselves - at varying degrees of likeness to our "true"
selves (whatever that means), and the extent to which certain 'invented'
personas on SNAs might gain strength as they are reinforced through positive
feedback - yet signify nothing (in the Lacan sense of signifier). I remember
the article in Wired about the married man who got carried away with his
invested persona, and actually developed a love affair with a 15-16 year old
girl who thought the man was a 19 year old in Iraq - and the guys persona
literally took over his real identity. So these issues are real - and we
should think about them.

On Thu, 31 Jan 2008 15:17:26, Jeff Seager <abrojos at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Will said: "Jeff- going all Magritte on us now! To wit: 'This is not
> a pipe' "
>
> Hah! Yeah, I was thinking something along the lines of the zen koan
> in which the monk says "not the wind, not the flag, but mind is
> moving."
>
> Seriously, you're right that MySpace "friends" can transition (in
> either direction). If I have an objection to the whole concept of
> online social networks, it's the way the metaphors are used so
> casually and loosely.
>
> What are friendship, respect and love without accountability and the
> reciprocal obligation to _earn_ our place in the lives of others?
> What will these concepts mean to a person who evolves without
> sufficient understanding of that reciprocity?
>
> My friendships require considerably more maintenance than an
> occasional twitter, and I'm content with that. We've only recently
> heard about the girl who committed suicide because she was "dissed"
> online by somebody who didn't exist. I think that's one casualty we
> should think about when we consider the implications of implementing
> new social paradigms via technology.
>
> Sorry, that's probably way off topic here! I do think it's
> important to consider the social implications of these technologies,
> though.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"No matter how beautiful,
no matter how cool your interface,
it would be better if there were less of it."
Alan Cooper
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

1 Feb 2008 - 12:13pm
Jeff Axup
2006

It is fair to point out the deficiencies or differences between various
online formats and F2F meetings. However, let me point out that a social
network says nothing about the technology or methods being used to support
communication or relationships within it. Here's a few examples of 'social
networks'.

- A group of friends talking in a bar in 100 AD Rome talking about
people met while traveling on horseback to trade with other cities
- A military commander in medieval Europe communicating by carrier
pigeon to his troops
- A new American immigrant in 1800 receiving mail via ship from
relatives in Europe
- A government employee on the US frontier communicating with the home
office in New York via telegraph messages.
- A group of 1950s housewives chatting on the phone during the day
while they are at home working
- A modern day businessperson going to a professional group to meet
with business contacts who they wouldn't want to spend time with on a
personal basis
- An engineer working with a remote team in India via a phone
connection
- A shy teen using SMS to flirt with a girl from school who he
otherwise wouldn't feel comfortable around
- An astronaut on a space station placing a video call to talk with
their new baby for the first time.

Who is to say which of these is a "real" social interaction? Who is to say
which of them is most useful or highest quality? They all connect people in
networks, and different methods of connecting have different advantages and
disadvantages. I think we are focusing a bit too much on the negative side
of a very new medium (web-based-social-networking-services) without placing
them in the context of many other forms of socialization which we use for
different purposes and get variable results with.

Cheers,
Jeff

On Thu, 31 Jan 2008 12:10:35, Jeff Seager <abrojos at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Jeff Axup said (with what I perceived as a touch of irony, and I think
> not too seriously): "I really like this quote - 'people are, just,
> well, bored of social networks.' As if humanity will ever be bored
> of social networks, considering that we have been happily using them
> for thousands of years."
>
> Not like this. To compare this technological simulation to a true
> social network is to say you've been skydiving because you watched a
> video that was taped from the point of view of the guy who actually
> did it. It has some value if viewed with sufficient empathy (we
> supply that ourselves), but lacks the validation needed for a genuine
> experience of society.
>
> What do Facebook, MySpace, et al *not* have that traditional social
> networking has? Things like body language, eye contact, genuine
> social context, validation that you are in fact talking to another
> 16-year-old like yourself ... In short, they lack the element of
> trust -- in part because participants have whatever degree of
> anonymity they choose to have.
>
> Whatever other metrics are applied to assess the decline of online
> social networks, I think this lack of trust will be the bottom line.
> We'll have heard one too many stories about people who pretended to
> be something they aren't, and others getting hurt in some way
> because of it.
>
> I do think that online social networks can be a valuable way to
> reinforce existing social interactions, but it seems unlikely to me
> that they could ever stand alone. Nor should they. I can't imagine
> calling any group a society when all their interactions are
> superficial and transient. Anything that evaporates in a power outage
> is not a society.
>
> Thank you, Murli and everyone, for some very thought-provoking ideas.
> I'm enjoying your comments very much, in spite of my uncertainty
> about your existence in real time and space.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Thanks,
Jeff
________________________________________________________________________________
Jeff Axup, Ph.D.
Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting, San Diego

Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group Usability
E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com

"Designers mine the raw bits of tomorrow. They shape them for the present
day." - Bruce Sterling
________________________________________________________________________________

1 Feb 2008 - 1:03pm
Christine Boese
2006

Terrific point Jeff, and great choices of examples. Might be good to trot
out McLuhan and sense ratios, when thinking about your examples below as
well.

And, not to put a damper on the discussion or anything, but just to note,
since the mid-1990s, CMC researchers have delved quite deeply into most of
the "quality of community relationships" online, "the strength of weak ties"
and a whole host of socio-cultural issues these things raised, including the
issue of how to define a "real" community, if one can. I have a full review
of this literature in one of the more boring sections of my dissertation (
www.nutball.com/dissertation), but a livelier account of the issues raised
can be found in Stephen Doheny-Farina's book, The Wired Neighborhood (1998).

http://www.amazon.com/Wired-Neighborhood-Stephen-Doheny-Farina/dp/0300074344/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1201888662&sr=1-1

I'm sure academic HCI researchers at least are busily applying all that
previous research to social networks and FOAF, rather than inventing the
wheel from scratch.

Chris

On Feb 1, 2008 12:13 PM, Jeff Axup <axup at userdesign.com> wrote:

> It is fair to point out the deficiencies or differences between various
> online formats and F2F meetings. However, let me point out that a social
> network says nothing about the technology or methods being used to support
> communication or relationships within it. Here's a few examples of 'social
> networks'.
>
>
> - A group of friends talking in a bar in 100 AD Rome talking about
> people met while traveling on horseback to trade with other cities
> - A military commander in medieval Europe communicating by carrier
> pigeon to his troops
> - A new American immigrant in 1800 receiving mail via ship from
> relatives in Europe
> - A government employee on the US frontier communicating with the home
> office in New York via telegraph messages.
> - A group of 1950s housewives chatting on the phone during the day
> while they are at home working
> - A modern day businessperson going to a professional group to meet
> with business contacts who they wouldn't want to spend time with on a
> personal basis
> - An engineer working with a remote team in India via a phone
> connection
> - A shy teen using SMS to flirt with a girl from school who he
> otherwise wouldn't feel comfortable around
> - An astronaut on a space station placing a video call to talk with
> their new baby for the first time.
>
> Who is to say which of these is a "real" social interaction? Who is to say
> which of them is most useful or highest quality? They all connect people
> in
> networks, and different methods of connecting have different advantages
> and
> disadvantages. I think we are focusing a bit too much on the negative side
> of a very new medium (web-based-social-networking-services) without
> placing
> them in the context of many other forms of socialization which we use for
> different purposes and get variable results with.
>
> Cheers,
> Jeff
>
> On Thu, 31 Jan 2008 12:10:35, Jeff Seager <abrojos at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Jeff Axup said (with what I perceived as a touch of irony, and I think
> > not too seriously): "I really like this quote - 'people are, just,
> > well, bored of social networks.' As if humanity will ever be bored
> > of social networks, considering that we have been happily using them
> > for thousands of years."
> >
> > Not like this. To compare this technological simulation to a true
> > social network is to say you've been skydiving because you watched a
> > video that was taped from the point of view of the guy who actually
> > did it. It has some value if viewed with sufficient empathy (we
> > supply that ourselves), but lacks the validation needed for a genuine
> > experience of society.
> >
> > What do Facebook, MySpace, et al *not* have that traditional social
> > networking has? Things like body language, eye contact, genuine
> > social context, validation that you are in fact talking to another
> > 16-year-old like yourself ... In short, they lack the element of
> > trust -- in part because participants have whatever degree of
> > anonymity they choose to have.
> >
> > Whatever other metrics are applied to assess the decline of online
> > social networks, I think this lack of trust will be the bottom line.
> > We'll have heard one too many stories about people who pretended to
> > be something they aren't, and others getting hurt in some way
> > because of it.
> >
> > I do think that online social networks can be a valuable way to
> > reinforce existing social interactions, but it seems unlikely to me
> > that they could ever stand alone. Nor should they. I can't imagine
> > calling any group a society when all their interactions are
> > superficial and transient. Anything that evaporates in a power outage
> > is not a society.
> >
> > Thank you, Murli and everyone, for some very thought-provoking ideas.
> > I'm enjoying your comments very much, in spite of my uncertainty
> > about your existence in real time and space.
> >
> >
> > . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> > Posted from the new ixda.org
> > http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25387
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> > February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> > Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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>
>
>
> --
> Thanks,
> Jeff
>
> ________________________________________________________________________________
> Jeff Axup, Ph.D.
> Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting, San Diego
>
> Research: Mobile Group Research Methods, Social Networks, Group
> Usability
> E-mail: axup <at> userdesign.com
> Blog: http://mobilecommunitydesign.com
> Moblog: http://memeaddict.blogspot.com
>
> "Designers mine the raw bits of tomorrow. They shape them for the present
> day." - Bruce Sterling
>
> ________________________________________________________________________________
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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1 Feb 2008 - 1:17pm
Chauncey Wilson
2007

We all operate with theories about social interaction in our
face-to-face world that could easily migrate to the design of
products. Views about trust and use of photos and the degree of
self-revelation and other social issues that are reflected in the
design of social apps can come from one's own naive (as opposed to
learned in college) social psych theories. So whether research was
involved or not, products reflect personal theories that may or may
not mesh with research. It is quite possible that some of the theories
about self-revelation for example -- how much you reveal to others at
different stages of a relationship -- have changed for recent
generations. It seems as though students in grad schools share a lot
more than students did the 1970s. Some students tell me that they
share grades on assignments - when I went to grad school in the 1970s,
I can't remember anyone telling someone else what his/her grades were.

Chauncey

2008/1/31 Murli Nagasundaram <murliman at gmail.com>:
> Social apps are far more complex than single-user apps. I wonder to what
> extent a lack of social psych research input into the design of these apps
> -- the most popular ones having been designed by college undergrads -- is
> causing their popularity to plateau? To me, this suggests a discontinuity
> similar to the one that occurred when command line interfaces were displaced
> by GUIs. Every GUI out there can trace its origins to the the
> multi-disclipinary, thoroughly grounded research conducted at Xerox PARC. I
> think it's possible to go only so far by the seat of one's pants. Without
> GUIs or at least the bastardized compromises that were delivered on the DOS
> platform in the mid-1980's, PC use would have plateaued in much the way the
> social apps are slowing down now.
>
> The next phase of Social App development might require Sproull, Kiesler,
> Turoff, Hiltz and others to re-emerge from the shadows. -murli
>
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/
>
> 'Facebook fatigue' kicks in as people tire of social networksSeven Two year
> itch pokeBy Chris
> Williams<http://forms.theregister.co.uk/mail_author/?story_url=/2008/01/31/myspace_fb_comscore_drop/>
>
> More by this author<http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Chris%20Williams>
> Published Thursday 31st January 2008 15:19 GMT
> Find out how your peers are dealing with
> Virtualization<http://whitepapers.theregister.co.uk/paper/view/341/reg2?td=toptextlink>
>
> *Shhh!* Can you hear a hiss? That's the sound of naughty facts deflating the
> social networking balloon a tad.
>
> Whisper it, but numbers from web analytics outfit comScore have confirmed
> what the chatter in bars and cafes has been saying for months - people are,
> just, well, *bored* of social networks.
>
> The average length of time users spend on all of the top three sites is on
> the slide. Bebo, MySpace and Facebook all took double-digit percentage hits
> in the last months of 2007. December could perhaps be forgiven as a seasonal
> blip when people see their real friends and family, but the trend was
> already south.
>
> The story year-on-year is even uglier for social networking advocates. Bebo
> and MySpace were both well down on the same period in 2006 - Murdoch's site
> by 24 per cent. Facebook meanwhile chalked up a rise, although way off its
> mid-2007 hype peak when you couldn't move for zeitgeist-chasing "where's the
> Facebook angle?" stories in the press and on TV.
>
> You can survey the full numerical horror for youself
> here<http://creativecapital.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/its-official-us-social-networking-sites-see-slow-down/>at
> Creative
> Capital.
>
> That "user engagement" is dropping off (page impression growth is merely
> slowing) should be of particular concern for the sales people struggling to
> turn these free services into profit-making businesses. In the age of tabbed
> browsing, how long people stick around is particularly key for "interactive"
> sites, where people aren't attracted by useful information, but by
> time-wasting opportunities.
>
> And as we've noted here before, if the cash isn't raining down on you you
> need a "phenomenal" growth line to sell credulous reporters and investors.
> Expansion into non-English speaking countries is viewed as such a panacea
> for the increasingly obvious slowdown US social networks are suffering (see
> Facebook's trawl for translation
> bitches<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/24/fb_translation/>
> ).
>
> The fact is that web users people are just as fickle in Leipzig as they are
> in London, and it seems to us that a delayed Friends Reunited (remember
> that?) effect is kicking in.
>
> When Friends Reunited enjoyed its "phenomenal" growth period people would
> join, log in maybe a dozen times, catch up with those class mates they
> wanted to, then forget about it.
>
> On Facebook behaviour seems much the same; join, accumulate dozens of
> semi-friends, spy on a few exes for a bit, play some Scrabulous, get bored,
> then get on with your life, occasionally dropping in to respond to a message
> or see some photos that have been posted.
>
> Similarly, once the novelty of MySpace wears off, most people only stop by
> to check out bands or watch videos.
>
> They've basically developed a way to add a penny-scraping coda to the
> Friends Reunited pattern, thanks to diversions that have been enabled by
> broadband. The biggest difference is that Friends Reunited made easy profit
> because it didn't give all its features away to users for free.
>
> In the meantime, expect spinners to work on massaging the comScore figures,
> and happy-clappy bloggers to leap to social networking's defence by claiming
> the falls are sign of the market maturing, and of fierce competition. They
> could be right, but it still means that the individual business are not the
> goldmine their greedy backers slavered over.
>
> Despite his endearing deployment of rubber sandals in public, Mark
> Zuckerberg is yet to convince marketeers - the only people who are ever
> going to pay him for access to Facebook - that the popularity of his site
> heralds the next 100 years of media.
>
> And the "widget economy", where developers cobble together web applications
> in the hope of grabbing their own slice of the riches social networking's
> massive personal data warehouses
> promised<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/18/dodgy_facebook_info/>?
> Well the business model for RockYou pretty much sums it up. The startup,
> that owns the number two Facebook App "Fun Wall", only sells advertising to
> other Facebook App developers.
>
> Ted Dzuiba of the recently-departed, much-missed blog Uncov put it
> best<http://www.uncov.com/2007/12/3/rockyou-dominates-the-fake-business-world>:
> "Fuck, this is a pyramid scheme. There is no money input into this system
> except venture capital.
>
> "I remember a time, long long ago, when tech companies spent their own
> venture capital on each other, so revenues were all booked from the same
> small pool of money. Yeah, as I recall, it didn't end well."
>
> We're not suggesting that social networking sites are totally useless or are
> going to disappear anytime soon (Friends Reunited is still around? Who
> knew!) - they're a boon for prying journalists and recruiters for sure, and
> damn it, Scrabulous *is* a good game. But today's shocking confirmation that
> their "phenomenal" growth isn't impervious to human nature does make the
> $15bn valuation Microsoft slapped on Facebook when it paid $240m for 1.6 per
> cent equity seem even more preposterous, if it were possible.
>
> It's an oft-quoted fact among social networking sceptics, but it's worth
> reminding ourselves for perspective that Ford - y'know, the massive
> international automotive conglomerate with massive physical assets,
> customers who stay loyal over decades and truly global reach - is valued at
> less than $15bn on Wall Street. (R)
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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