Thomas Friedman awarded as "Webby Person of the Year"

Tue, 2006-05-09 22:07.

With their Special Achievement Award the Webby jury honors the work and activities of Thomas L. Friedman as author of the book "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century" and as columnist at the New York Times.

For those who are still unfamiliar with his viewpoints I highly recommend the video lecture he was giving at the MIT as an introduction:

http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/266/

The Del.icio.us Lesson - Personal Value Precedes Network Value

Tue, 2006-05-09 22:45.

When it comes to successful examples of Web 2.0 social networking services many people see Del.icio.us and Flickr as the primary candidates. Their stunning success influenced all sorts of business models for start-ups, that are being built around the idea of generating network effects through social software architecture to create both value for the user and revenues for the providing service. However some business plans might be at risk looking at their role models from a different perspective:

The one major idea behind the Del.icio.us Lesson is that personal value precedes network value. What this means is that if we are to build networks of value, then each person on the network needs to find value for themselves before they can contribute value to the network. In the case of Del.icio.us, people find value saving their personal bookmarks first and foremost. All other usage is secondary.

As people use Del.icio.us more, and in order to gain more personal value, they use tags to be able to find their bookmarks later. Tagging isn’t even the primary function of Del.icio.us. Most of the tagging done on Del.icio.us is done secondarily, and for personal use.

The social value of tags on Del.icio.us is only a happy side-effect. Even though most of the ink spilled about Del.icio.us is about the social value, it’s really not the reason why people use it.

Similar to Google aggregating links that were originally created for taking readers from one document to another, Del.icio.us can aggregate tags in order to find out how people value content. If 1,000 people save and tag the same bookmark, for example, that’s a good sign that they find value in it. But to think that people tag so that this information can be aggregated is to give people a trait of altruism they just don’t possess.

Joshua Porter is a keen observer of design and technology trends associated with the emergence of Web 2.0 and for those interested in these topics his writings are highly recommended.

Internet fördert soziales Engagement

Tue, 2006-05-16 22:04.

Kinder am Computer werden von Erwachsenen oft mit gemischten Gefühlen betrachtet. Sie befürchten, die soziale Entwicklung oder die Kreativität könne Schaden erleiden. Genau das Gegenteil belegt jetzt eine Studie der Northwestern University in Chicago. Das Ergebnis zeigt, daß gesellschaftliches Engagement, Sozialkompetenz und Wirgefühl - also beste Führungseigenschaften - online trainiert und gefestigt werden können.

Berliner Morgenpost, 11.05.2006

The Strength of Internet Ties

Tue, 2006-05-16 22:09.

On a related note to the post before the PEW Internet & American Life Project published a study about the social impact of the internet on adult Americans. The key findings are not too surprising:

  • The internet helps build social capital.
  • The internet plays socially beneficial roles in a world moving towards “networked individualism.” Email allows people to get help from their social networks and the web lets them gather information and find support and information as they face important decisions.
  • The internet supports social networks.
  • Email is more capable than in-person or phone communication of facilitating regular contact with large networks.
  • Email is a tool of “glocalization.” It connects distant friends and relatives, yet it also connects those who live nearby.
  • Email does not seduce people away from in-person and phone contact.
  • People use the internet to put their social networks into motion when they need help with important issues in their lives.
  • The internet’s role is important in explaining the greater likelihood of online users getting help as compared to non-users.
  • Those with many significant ties and access to people with a variety of different occupations are more likely to get help from their networks.
  • Internet users have somewhat larger social networks than non-users. The median size of an American’s network of core and significant ties is 35. For internet users, the median network size is 37; for non-users it is 30.
  • About 60 million Americans say the internet has played an important or crucial role in helping them deal with at least one major life decision in the past two years.
  • The number of Americans relying on the internet for major life decisions has increased by one-third since 2002.
  • At major moments, some people say the internet helps them connect with other people and experts who help them make choices. Others say that the web helps them get information and compare options as they face decisions.
The complete study can be downloaded here.

On successful web apps

Tue, 2006-05-16 23:24.

The amazing thing about Flickr is that nobody uses the service to upload pictures. Nobody says to themselves “I need to upload me some pictures”. Instead, they’re satisfying some other need in their lives, like showing off the new kid to relatives. Or showing their friends how their trip to Europe went. Or letting their co-workers in on their conference activity.

All of these things have to do with their life, their relationships, their everyday activities that aren’t centered on the Web, but are made much easier by it. If we look closely, that’s what most successful web apps do: they make our offline lives richer.

Quote by Joshua Porter