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Week 8 Blog Reflection

What are your design principles for designing and fostering online communities or networks based on your experience in this course and your project? Please describe them and a little bit about how you have developed them.

If I had been asked this question when starting the course, I would not have had any sort of ideas about design principles  in terms of designing and fostering online communities or networks. Now after taking this class, I can definitely see  how my design principles have developed.

Simple user interface:

I think after doing a lot of research into our online community of Indiegogo, I can definitely see that a simple user interface can be extremely effective for communities such as Indiegogo that reach out to a wide variety of different users. It is not safe to assume that all users will be able to use complicated interfaces, and by keeping it simple, many more people can join this online community. When you go to the website’s homepage you have 3 options: Browse campaigns, learn how it works, start a campaign. Next to this are the featured campaigns, and below you can see other featured campaigns. Not only does this make it easy for one to start a campaign quickly and easily, this also allows users to be able to easily donate. The best of both worlds. This is why if I were to start a community, the more simplistic the design, the better.

Social media links:

I think a huge part of online communities and networks is the social media that is linked to them. Social media is a great way to get word out about the online community, so that more members can join. This is how online communities such as facebook and myspace have been formed among the youth (and well now, even adults). Online communities and networks are all about connecting people. By linking social media to the online community from the start, the users will come on their own, and spread word about things going on within that specific online community. Indiegogo uses a unique algorithm known as the gogofactor, and by using social media and getting likes for your campaign on indiegogo, it is possible to boost this gogofactor and get your campaign featured. Therefore I have first hand witnessed the power of social media, and how it is an important part of online communities today.

Mobile Interface:

What I have noticed in the past 2 years, is that everyone is beginning to have smartphones. Of course there are laggers, but I would say a large portion of the people I am in contact with have an iphone, a blackberry, a Samsung galaxy, or any other smart phone brand out there. This is why I think online communities should ALWAYS have a mobile interface! As technology is moving forward mobility is becoming easier and easier, and we seem to always be on the go. With the convenience of the smart phone, everything can now be done without having a computer, and by having a mobile interface, more users can be connected around the world, any time, any place.

Sorry for the late post! With projects due, the blog post almost slipped my mind. But here it is :) 

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Posted in All Students, Group 2, Support Raising
This was originally published at Sylv!e C.

Technology Stewardship and Thinking “out-of-box”

 

Thinking out of  box in using tools and technologies is not necessarily a multi-complex task and does not essentially require high levels of expertise. Most of the really interesting uses of online tools and platforms were not imagined by the designers of that service but by the users. Thinking out of box is simply asking ourselves: what do I need? And also comes out of bridging between applications and tools to get a desired outcome which have never been seen before. The Twitter’s case in Iran’s Green Movement would be a good example.

 

In June 2009, the social movement which started with the fraud presidential election in Iran lead to a technological surprise. The surprise was caused by the “out-of-box” use of web 2.0 technologies. The so called “Green movement” started months before the Iran’s elections with the campaign of a reformist candidate. Students and the middle class supporters of the reformist candidate harnessed social media as the main platform of communication. On the election day, when the government realized that it has lost the election, it decided not to give up the power and claimed its own candidate victory! Consequently, to control the following street protests and demonstrations, the authorities arrested thousands of activists, limited the access to Internet and communication infrastructure (e.g. SMS), deported all the international reporters and journalists from the country, filtered many websites such as Youtube and Facebook and aggressively tried to suppress the peaceful demonstrations. In such condition, the surprise took place and, later, nicknamed as “Twitter revolution”.

 

 

In spite of all the limitations and thanks to anti-filters, thousands of videos were uploaded on Youtube and the news from the “citizen journalists” were massively shared and reached the media. What was the surprise then?  Twitter was a micro-blogging service targeted the needs of business people and those who wanted to use their mobiles to broadcast short messages. Before the Green movement, the platform was not meant to be used by citizen journalists or people organizing demonstrations or broadcasting news from the streets. Why Iranian’s chose Twitter? Simply, the Twitter website was not filtered at that moment and it could satisfy the need of the mass which was sending out the news. It took a bit of time for the government to react and that was enough for Iranians to catch the attention of media!

In the Iran’s case, the availability of information was made possible by the technology but the speed of spread was caused by people’s performance. Therefore, it was not only the technology but the social networks on top of the technological networks who moved the information so fast. Users are the ones who give meaning to the technologies and define new applications for the tools.

So, if you were looking for an online space to brainstorm with five of your friends and you couldn’t find the “right” platform/tool for it, would be no problem to join a free poker table in Yahoo games or Zynga and use the facilities for your own activity!

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Posted in All Students, Faculty
This was originally published at Project Community Rituals