16 Core Observations of Social Design

Here’s a quick list of 16 observations about life that have serious effects on social design. Note that none of these are how people interact with interfaces, per se, but how we interact with other people. Interfaces are an intermediary, an arbiter of exchange between people on either end, and are therefore crucial to how we communicate.

  1. Humans are complex social animals.
  2. Technology doesn’t change us very fast.
  3. Humans constantly search out ways to communicate more efficiently.
  4. The primary use of the Internet is communication.
  5. People play different roles in different parts of their life.
  6. People tend to connect to those people they are similar to.
  7. Who we are similar to depends upon our situation and goals.
  8. Over-similarity can lead to group-think.
  9. Unpredictable behavior emerges within groups over time.
  10. People act differently in groups than they do individually.
  11. The people we know greatly influence how we act.
  12. People usually compare themselves to those in their social group, not society at large.
  13. Humans aren’t always rational, but are usually self-interested.
  14. When humans are uncertain, we rely on social connections to help us out.
  15. We have biases that we aren’t conscious of.
  16. Because life in not deterministic, we cannot always predict human behavior.

Here’s a quick list of 16 observations about life that have serious effects on social design. Note that none of these are how people interact with interfaces, per se, but how we interact with other people. Interfaces are an intermediary, an arbiter of exchange between people on either end, and are therefore crucial to how we communicate.

  1. Humans are complex social animals.
  2. Technology doesn’t change us very fast.
  3. Humans constantly search out ways to communicate more efficiently.
  4. The primary use of the Internet is communication.
  5. People play different roles in different parts of their life.
  6. People tend to connect to those people they are similar to.
  7. Who we are similar to depends upon our situation and goals.
  8. Over-similarity can lead to group-think.
  9. Unpredictable behavior emerges within groups over time.
  10. People act differently in groups than they do individually.
  11. The people we know greatly influence how we act.
  12. People usually compare themselves to those in their social group, not society at large.
  13. Humans aren’t always rational, but are usually self-interested.
  14. When humans are uncertain, we rely on social connections to help us out.
  15. We have biases that we aren’t conscious of.
  16. Because life in not deterministic, we cannot always predict human behavior.
Published: August 27th, 2007

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