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Social Interaction Design White Papers

Summary: These white papers are a series of social interaction design guides, design frameworks and approaches, and studies (with some some screenshots) on the design of content in social software and social media sites. Papers tackle a variety of issues familiar to the development, information architecture, navigation, UI, user experience, interaction design of social media, online communities, web 2.0 applications, badges, widgets, and so forth. The papers describe what appears on the screen, how it structures content and provides for social navigation and member presence, how users and communities take shape and how their contributions become social practices of a new kind. The white papers apply to social software design, software research, and the design of social media, user generated content sites, and web 2.0 in general.

Download Social Interaction Design Guide: Social Media, Social Practices, Social Content 2006, 800k pdf, 76 pages.
Download Social Interaction Design Guide: Social Media, Social Practices, Social Content 2006, 800k word doc, 76 pages.

A Social Interaction Design guide to the use of social and user-generated content on sites to drive and compel user participation. This white paper covers a variety of content types from perspective of what makes them either social, or communicative. I look at blogging, commenting, profiles, tags, and more, all within the framework and structure of sites that structure user interaction for participation.

Excerpt: From the summary

A socio-technical mashup?

We are a modern society, and competence describes our participation in it far better than inheritance or tradition. It's even possible, if claims of social fragmentation are accurate, that a new kind of mobility and mashup of culture, society, technology, and economy is underway: a redesign of roles, of social hierarchy, of influence, wealth, and so on. It certainly seems the case that new media, new communication tools, networked cultures and communities undermine all kinds of mainstream cultural traditions: from network television programming to branding and breaking bands. How has this come about?

It all comes back to the Internet, which is a platform agnostic medium itself capable of absorbing and then repurposing existing media. The net can be print, it can be radio, and it can be television. At the same time, the net is absorbing and repurposing communication tools and technologies: the net can be the mail, it can be faxing, the telephone, it can be CB, Ham radio, and it can be the message board. Mix all of those up, and you get a gross reorganization of all media and all communication tools in their relations to one another. And you get new social practices emerging around tools, and around media, as well as around people and cultures. It's for this reason that I believe in framing a new kind of design discipline, one I call Social Interaction Design, or SxD for short.

We can no longer make sense of social software and related applications from a user-centric model—at least not the model that has come out of cognitive science. That model has insisted on a rational user, a goal-oriented user interested in achieving his or her objectives. An application would either satisfy or confound the user, and designers could set about improving UX and UI until users were all happy. But social technologies are different:

I could make more distinctions here but the point should be clear now: architecture, design, and implementation of these things puts them in a category of their own, an admixture of social and technical practices best approached from a socio-technical orientation.

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