Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sxsw: 3.9.08 Session on Social Design Strategies

Sxsw: 3.9.08 Session on Social Design Strategies

Bottom line words: social web site, transparency, symbiosis, causation, gardeners, private vs public

I am excited about learning more on social design strategies! I have included bios for speakers so you can see the kind of talent sxsw brings to this meeting.

Daniel Burke of Digg/Pownce
Daniel is the creative director at Digg, a co-founder of Pownce, and a co-founder of the Canadian web firm silverorange. As Digg's creative director, he has helped the site grow from a niche technology news site into one of the leading media services on the web with a massive and passionate community. This past year, Daniel helped found Pownce, a social network that lets you share files, events, messages, and links with your friends. Daniel works on feature development and the user interface of Pownce.

Joshua Porter of Bokardo Design
Joshua is the founder of Bokardo Design, a web design consultancy focused exclusively on social web applications. He has worked with clients such as MTV and Adobe on next generation social software. He is a passionate user advocate who fights for humane software and social design best practices. Josh also writes the popular blog, where he follows the latest trends and topics in social design.

Also, last minute speaker adds – Chris Messina of Citizen Agency for social media strategies. He is interaction design. Daniel Burka of Digg and Pownce is here, too.

Here we go.

Now that social networks are pervasive and quickly becoming a regular feature set, designers need to understand the dynamics of creating experiences that encourage social behavior and public expression, while giving individuals a sense of privacy, personal gain and ownership.

The principles and practices of social design: How do you create a symbiotic relationship between people and data that maximizes discovery, game-play, connections, and communication? Counterintuitive and hard to predict are the ways users interact with your web site.

Presentations start first. Designing social web sites and how to encourage good behavior – not ethics – but how do you encourage the behavior to repeat. So tie the behavior to identity. So if not tied together the user is not accountable. Amazon asks for real name for user comments by customers. The real identity on eBay – core social challenge for people who never meet each other but must trust. A sophisticated design lets people make an assessment of the seller, for example scores. The depth of each transaction connected to the identity of authority and is tied to previous behavior in the system. eBay does not really show the real identity in the real world but the system identity so what ever they do there is measured. Good behavior is recognized.

Burka says Digg was concerned about a small group trying to get to the top of the list – so the list was taken down. Adapting as you grow is important.

Threadlist is a site for design t-shirts and then designers get recognition with voting but then is tapers off and they enter a new contest.

Netflix shows causation – everyone knows how it works because it tells you on every screen how it works. Rating movies is related to getting better recommendations, the more ratings the better they are. They are showing you how well it works. Pandora [music radio web site] plays more songs that people ask for.

Reciprocity leveraging is core to success so it will give you something to use a site. A strong link exists between causation and reciprocity. The reviews are public and then favor is returned. A threshold is reached after encouraging behaviors, but it can change. Usability for individual and then the group usability.

Privacy in community: when Burka signed up for Facebook and found all his friends. They started to write on his wall and he deleted it and it was antisocial because he used it like an email in box and finally learned it was a community build on trust.

Digg and Pownce and examples of truthiness ☺ - from private to public – either or with this. A customer service site is very public called Satisfaction. Digg is very public. Pownce is more private. Facebook is in the middle. On either end of the spectrum there is clarity. But in the middle is could be blurry. On privacy you need to respect the user and online identity. Digg does not require first name and last name, but Pownce is on first name and last initial if you want to be private. Digg has a shout feature.

An issue of tracking people’s activity on Digg is controversial, more than having your friend see your activity. The interaction from site to site without you really knowing it is growing it. For example buying tickets for a movie then shows up on Facebook.

Personal act turns into a public act without your knowledge – if you know it is your intentional act that is fine. But when you think it is private and it is not, you will drive away users.

Transparency is important. On Pownce recipients are listed – only these people are shown your comments. But you can see if you are making a public reply. If your are building a site make it clear and be aware of what is shared.

Ma.gnolia adventures in spam control presented called weeding out worms. Spam is a problem - such as 80 percent of new accounts are spam. Tools for good are also used by spammers for bad. Methods for spam include use of bookmarks that point to specific sites. Ideas discussed include:

One site, many accounts
Too legit to quit; few legit links
Joe seo – getting rich quick
You can’t fool me: profile-aware
Had enough yet: importing volume links

Ma.gnolia - worked around this. Concerns about social bookmarking disuse was a concern. Ma.gnolia says with social bookmarking thousands of people keep their bookmark collections on a website instead of on just one computer. Doing so brings several big advantages. And users can see what other people have found and share bookmarks with friends. Bookmarks can be kept private, but most are public and available for everyone to see. In social bookmarking, you only find the bookmarks that other people think are worth keeping. Ma.gnolia ratings and tags instantly give you an idea of what people think of a bookmark, making web searches more informed.

About gardeners: enabled trusted members to move accounts on and off a whitelist; not a job, contest or vendetta, and gardeners will make new gardeners using the network for good.

For more information on tagging for bookmark go to