Thursday, May 24, 2007

Massively multiplayer object sharing by R.Sinha

I've followed some stuff from Rashmi Sinha, and I think every once in a while she comes up with good ideas. Like I liked the stuff early on that she did on the recommenders and the focus on user-centric design. Sometimes I just don't like her stuff, it sounds very popularistic and her references are, well, not very academic. But then again, maybe she does not need to be either..

Anyway, this slideshow has cool ingredients. I like the idea of object/artefacts in the center of the social networks, that's why I'm a big fan of social bookmarking, for example. I really don't care that much about connecting to people that I don't know (mySpace) or even using LinkedIn (what's the point, you get a list of people, but no substance..), but when I can connect through items and tags to people's stuff that I find interesting, I find it useful.

In the slideshow Sinha talks about models of 2nd generation networks (the 1st g was only about people):
  • Model 1: Watercooler conversations
    (around objects e.g., Flickr, Yahoo answers)
  • Model 2: Viral sharing (passing on interesting stuff, e.g., YouTube videos)
  • Model 3: Tag-based social sharing (linked by concepts. e.g.,
  • Model 4: Social news creation (rating news stories, e.g., digg, Newsvine)
Then, further on, she talks about Cognitive Diversity, which I also find really important. It's related to the continuum of wisdom of crowds vs. stupidity of mobs. What I got out of the slide 29:
  • Good answers need many perspectives, thus many perspectives are needed otherwise groups become too homogenous, which might have its dangers also (stupidity of mobs, see Digg for that ;). If all the new members are too similar and like-minded, they don't bring anything new to the group (that's why we want serendipity from recommenders!). Diversity reduces groupthink (think of Digg again and how fast not favourable stuff gets buried), groupthink is bad and only way to fight that is diversity.
Moreover, she also talks about the importance of social influence condition and about Watt's study.

Lastly, some design principles:
  • Make system personally useful: For end-user system should have strong personal use; Self-expression (e.g., Newsvine);Social status: Digg
  • Don’t count on altruism: System should thrive on people’s selfishness

1 comment:

Bob C. said...

One of the stories you link to (Groupthink in Digg) has moved, here's the new location: