ARCHIVE: May, 2007

Give people something to copy

Quick blogging tip: When someone writes an incredibly flattering post about you, don’t immediately link to the flattering post. Why?

Because many times when someone does this, the link can actually be hurtful because it’s not a real link to quality content. The author, the flattered one, often pretends they’re really writing about the rest of the post and not the part about themselves. But they’re really writing to point out that someone likes them.

I’m not immune to this. I’ve done it too. But its completely obvious. In some cases, someone will actually point to someone else’s post and not mention that there is a part of the post about them…pretending to ignore it. That is so weird though, when you go read the post and wonder…does the person think I’m an idiot?

Instead, wait until that person writes something really cool, and then link to that.

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Comic: User Pain

Choose from thousands of fantastic items! Can't I just tell you what I want instead?

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Woman Denied Degree because of MySpace Profile Pic

MySpace profile pic prevents woman from getting her teaching degree, showing how powerful online profiles are

MySpace PirateA story at describes how 27 year-old Stacy Snyder was denied a teaching degree because she posted a photo of herself on her MySpace account that the school said “promoted underage drinking”.

The photo, which shows her drinking from a cup with a pirate’s hat on has the caption “drunken pirate” underneath. The picture was taken at a 2005 Halloween Party.

This story highlights several important points about profiles and pictures…

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Why invest in Social Features?

For those of you not cross-subscribed, I recently wrote a piece on Brain Sparks (aka the UIEblog) that answers a pretty simple, yet under-addressed question:

Why invest in social features on your web site?

Here’s the quick version of why to invest in social features:

  1. Amplify Customer Opinion
  2. Data, Data, and more Data
  3. Reduce Support Costs
  4. Engender Trust

I think that social features are bigger than many people view them. They are a long-term strategy that takes lots of resources. You can’t simply bolt on a feature here or there (well, unless it’s article sharing or something super simple like that) and expect to realize the benefits of making a richer social experience for your users.

In addition, I’m seeing more and more evidence of a wave of companies getting into the social action. This is encouraging, and if you’re doing so please feel free to describe what you’re doing in the comments or drop me a line. I’ll be continuing to aggregate and regurgitate what I hear so we can all share what we know with each other.

Here’s the link: Why invest in social features on your web site?

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The Web is a Social Creation

Tim Berners-Lee, in Weaving the Web:

“The web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect—to help people work together—and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world. We clump into families, associations, and companies. We develop trust across the miles and distrust around the corner. What we believe, endorse, agree with, and depend on is representable and, increasingly, represented on the Web. We all have to ensure that the society we build with the Web is of the sort we intend.”

This touches on several important issues:

  1. Technology is an enabler, not the end goal
  2. The Web is built to augment our social behavior, not define it
  3. We can represent our social lives online, even ambiguous things like our beliefs
  4. We have a responsibility to make the Web a good place to be

Every time I read Tim’s words, I am reinvigorated and am glad to be part of this thing they call the Web.

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3 Necessary Conditions for Human Cooperation

In The Evolution of Cooperation, written in 1984!, Robert Axelrod suggests there are three necessary conditions for people to cooperate with each other.

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Digg Surrenders to Community

The Digg community taking down it’s own site.

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PEW Report: Teens Getting Smart about Online Privacy

A new PEW report strongly suggests that teens are pretty savvy about their online privacy.

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