So today is the workshop day of Hypertext. The talks are fairly informal and its nice to be eased into the swing of the conference. I have been attending the Modeling Social Media workshop (#MSM10). There were some pretty neat talks and some interesting discussions. I’d like to touch on the workshop keynote by Ed Chi. At the time of writing Ed’s slides are not online which is a shame but the workshop organiser tells me all will be eventually. He has A LOT of interesting models of social media very scientific and lots of statistics and other good science stuff. Being a practical man I took away this citation on “Online Reputation Systems: How to Design One That Does What You Need“. It is a nice piece analysis that basically explains that the way you you build reputation systems in your site will encourage different user behaviors. It outlines 4 different types of behaviour you might want to encourage and what to do and not to do in order to encourage it. I will definately be baring closely in mind as im building MePrints widgets for EdShare.
Another aspect, discussed by Else Nygren, was social grooming. While the research is quite early on the initial findings are certainly intuative. If a person grooms another it encourages the groomed to participate further in network and also increase the likely hood that the groomed will later become a groomer. That certainly reflects the experience i have had on humbox.ac.uk. When the users started receiving comments they start to comment back and also upload further resources. I should get some stats together to prove that but the point is it seems very important to think about groomability when designing your site. How can you make a system where it is easy for one user to groom another and let a user discover they have been groomed.
I guess that ties a little bit into what my friend Clare Hooper back in ECS is doing on TAPT. Its a software engineering technique for recreating the emotional experience of an activity rather than just making a replica of the physical form (example word documents basically emulate paper rather than recreating the experience of writing a letter). Im sure Clare and Else would agree that the reason rich text input on commenting and forum systems are useful because they facilitate some of the emotional experience of talking to person (even tho they dont emulate it). It allows people to express some of the things you would do in a face to face conversation like put empasis on a word or make facial experessions.
I think thats enough for today. I may post a little video when i get back to the uk and work out if any of the footage is any good.