Community and social computing
Money magazine is reporting that Video Gaming will be a "welcome event" at the Beijing Olympics. Apparently the Chinese government recognizes it as an official sport alongside other ones that require agility or dexterity (like soccer), although the Olympic committee has not accepted it as yet.
This isn't like the World Cyber Games (in Germany in 2008) which takes things much more seriously as a sport, but it is a start. After all if Bridge counts as a "sport"...
Man, too many projects for me to inspect all coming up at the same time with this new job. Not enough time to blog in depth. I have two jobs to do simultaneously right now and it's definitely keeping me busy.
Meanwhile: take a look at this site I put together for my swordfighting students. This should link to our site on ning.
I picked up Market-based Management by Dr. Roger Best (see my reading list), a textbook of the "traditional" approach to customer-centric marketing. I'm looking into the ideas on how companies look at customer focus, satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. The processes are probably very different but online communities of all forms also face some of these same issues and the existing ideas and metrics may give insight into similar metrics from the community view.
There are some very different views here though:
Still there are many parallel concepts that can be borrowed. A few of the many examples:
Beyond just the basic measurement of each community, there are the issues of measuring the effectiveness of your community program itself. The parallel is measuring the effectiveness of the marketing program or strategy separately of the end-results driven. This means understanding market share, awareness, availability, etc.
The reality is that even with the decades of having online communities we really have not reached a significant level of sophistication in measuring online communities. Perhaps things needed to happen to emphasize that such as the rise of social software and Web 2.0, the acknowledgment of the long-tail phenomenon, the improvement of web metrics collection tools, and the effects of influencers online.
I see this as something entirely different than the success of the online ad marketing, which everyone can see is a multi-billion dollar opportunity. With online ads, some of the traditional ideas and methods still work, and even some of the traditional metrics may apply. However, a community, where the value comes from the knowledge economy, is likely quite different than a currency-based economy.
With growing interest in online communities as basis of support for real-world products and offerings, business & technology development, market reach and awareness, I think this is a large field waiting to be explored.
The book has progressed and transformed significantly over the past year. I've probably rewritten the contents three to four times already, either shifting large sections to bring related ideas together, towards a business focus (requiring less prior technical knowledge), and in a more cohesive concept.
The draft chapters all go up onto the Roughcuts section of Safari Books. What's confusing is that the latest information is in there but only to registered members, and the free information you see up front is several drafts old. So, I'm including the ToC here:
Ch 1. Social Software
A powershift through Conversations
Collaboration and the Social Web
A crying need in the global workforce
What is happening to knowledge workers and teams
From Mega-trends to Ground-level issues
Elementsof a Social Architecture
Ch 3 Social Experiences
FindingCommon and Reusable Social Experiences
DifferentExperiences for a complex world
ThePersonal Social Network Experience
TheClosed and Visible Group Experiences
TheMass collaboration Experience
Atthe Intersection of People, Places, and Purpose
Part I: People
Ch 4 Interpersonal Actions
Identity in Online Social Environments
Common Interpersonal Actions
Investing and Investigating Identity
Building Relationship Structures
Introducing and Intermediating
Harvesting the Network
Flowing between Interpersonal Actions
Ch 5 From Relationships to Roles
The Value of Roles
Structural Relationship Networks andSocial Graphs
Activity Roles in Social Systems
When and Where Activity Roles Emerge
Ch 6 Participation, Trust and Reputation
Identity to Participation to Reputation
The Trouble with Participation
Expanding the Definition of Participation
The Impact of a Reputation system
Building a Reputation system
Defining goals of the reputation system
Setting Reputation metric types
Qualifying to participate
Determining the award process
Displaying reputation metrics and award
Documenting the process
Expertise and Reputation
Ch 7 Social Leadership & government
Choosing a Social Government model
Leaders and Influencers
A Selection of Social Government models
The Centralized Models
The Delegated Model
The Representative Model
The Starfish Model
The Swarm Model
Governance Models applied to situations
Part II: Places
Ch 8 Content Actions
Social Content, Information and Vale
Varieties of Content Actions
Transforming Knowledge Actions into SocialContent Actions
Ch 9 Connecting to Social Experiences
Grouping and Combining Social Experiences
Multiple channels of experience
Interacting through Channels
The Impact of Grouping and Channels
Ch 10 Environment Actions
Managing the Interface
Skins, Themes and Layout
Availability and Mood Indicators
Distribution Points and Sharing tools
Managing Identities and Profiles
Background, Interests, or Skills
Identifying Photos and Logos
Affiliation, Membership or Role Badges
Awards and Merit Badges
Managing user actions
Managing User Rights and Membership
Managing Contributions and Content
Ch 11 Social Tasks: Collaboratingon Ideas
The Structure of Social Tasks
Form of Aggregation
Building a Template for a Task
Different Models of Social Tasks
Idea generation and predictions
Disitributed human computation
Open source development
Relationship mapping and mining
Location-centered social interaction
Ch 12 Social Tasks: Creating and Managing Information
- Recommendationsand Reviews
o DirectSocial recommendations
o DerivedSocial recommendations
- Creatingand categorizing information
o Directsocial content creation
o Derivedsocial content generation
o SocialQ&A systems
o Navigatinginformation on social input
Ch 13 Building a social culture
- Defininga Culture for a Social Environment
o Ideologyand Values in cult
o Behaviorand Rituals
o Cultureand Maturity of Social Environments
o TheCultural Impact of Social Architecture
o HowSocial Experience Models Impact Culture
o How SocialGovernment Models Impact culture
o HowSocial Tasks Impact Culture
o HowDomains Impact Culture
Ch 14 Engaging and EncouragingMembers
Engaging Members through Activity Roles
Roles and Interpersonal Actions
Roles and Content Actions
Roles and Environment Actions
Belonging and Commitment
Creating a model for identifying commitment
Maturing over a Lifecycle
Programs to Grow or Encourage your Socialgroup
Member Reward programs
Recruiting Evangelists and Advocates
Member Training and Mentoring programs
Part IV: Production
Ch 15 Community and SocialExperience Management
- TheValue and Characteristics of a Community Manager
Personality Traits and Habits
Who in the Organization should run theSocial Environment?
Community Manager Tasks andResponsibilities
Member and Relationship development
Topic and Activity Development
Communications and Promotion
Ch 16 Measuring social environments
Measurement in Social and Cognitive Science
Dimensions of measurement
Types of Metrics
Metrics and Social Experiences
Measurement Mechanisms and Methods
Quantitative Analytic MeasurementMechanisms
Qualitative Measurement through Surveys andInterviews
Ch 17 The Strategic Value ofSocial Computing
Measuring Intangible Assets with a BalancedScorecard
Social Capital as Intangible Assets
Connecting to Business Processes
Social Architecture and Business Strategy
You may have already heard this in your weekly developerWorks newsletter that we are now starting to offer podcasts as new content on our site. These first podcasts are a series of interviews with technical experts focused on Service-Oriented Architectures.
The WebSphere Technical Podcast series introduces the SOA Programming Model and the Software Component Architecture. This is a new plan to describe services universally regardless of if it is implemented as a Web service, a Java service, a database service, etc.
Jump to the site and listen in with your podcast catcher of choice.
I'm proud to say that developerWorks has joined the Hall of Fame for the Jolt awards given annually by Software Development Magazine.
AND ... Grady Booch has won the Excellence in Programming award ...
AND ... Scott Ambler, IBM Rational Practice Leader (and used to write for me too) won the Jolt Productivity Award for the technical book Refactoring Databases
AND ... dW contributors Brett McLaughlin and Gary Pollice, who (along with co-author David West) received an award for their book Head First Object-Oriented Analysis & Design
It always feels great when you work with a really good team and are surrounded by such brilliant minds. Congratulations to all our dW community members who won!
eBay is having their Developer Challenge 2006 until January 31st open to individuals and teams. The idea is to build an interesting application using their Web services API. dW also has a three-part series of articles on eBay's API that could help.
For the individual ranks, judging is based 40% on innovative use of their API, 30% on demo-ready look, feel and stability, and 30% designed for eBay users.
For teams it is 30% innovation, 20% look and feel, 20% eBay ready, and 30% on the quality of collaboration between team members.
Prizes (individual): $5000, $1000, and three iPod Nano winners
Prizes (team): XBox for up to 4 members, and free trip to demo your application at the O'Reilly Emerging Tech conference in March. Two other teams can win up to 4 iPod Nanos per team.
With Chris Anderson's book The Long-Tailfinally out, it's the season to talk about the subject at length. Ifyou aren't familiar with it, a one-liner might be: consider all theniche products or niche uses of your product(s) that you have ignoredbecause they were not a very feasible source business, until thelowered cost of Internet distribution and cataloging has changedthings. The phrase 'long-tail' refers to the hyperbolic demand curve ofproducts, with the top hits near the head of the curve making largenumbers of sales, and "rest" of those that are not hits, in the tail.In fact, this tail can be quite long (and hold a lot of businessopportunity). It counters the long-held aphorism the "80/20" rule,where 80% of your business comes from 20% of your products usingtraditional physical distribution and inventory.
To me, the Eclipse project is an example of a technologythat demonstrates how it can work. The first related idea from Eclipseis that it is an industry de facto standard for application userinterfaces (although primarily focused as a development environment).This means that there is wide access to the technology, and commonapplication to many operating systems and application needs. Then thereis the well defined open interfaces and APIs, and detailedcustomization options that allow anyone to create and add plugins tothe base system, allowing users to customize the system in greatdetail, each for their own niche areas; while still maintaining adegree of usage compatibility industry-wide. Finally, it's developmentenvironment, enabling users to bring new ideas into realization.
It only allows niche development of the base environment to eachperson's needs, but it also serves as an enabler to create other newtools. So it is a "long-tail" enabled system and you can use it tocreate yet more.
The July 8th issue of the Economist had a really good overview article on Internet advertising and marketing.(Access to the article unfortunately is not free after the first week,and you may not be able to access that link unless you're a subscriber).
The gist is that current advertising model across the world (innovatedby John Wanmaker back in the 1870s) takes the approach of carpet-bombeveryone in a city with the ad, rather than what the Internet enables,pin-point targetting individuals who would be interested (rephrasingRishad Tobaccowala, chief innovation officer of Publicis, one of theworld's biggest advertising groups). It also talks about viralmarketing by word-of-mouth and attempts to measure this, as well asother possibly effective methods.
Definitely worth the read.
I'm reading Mark Buchanan's excellent book on Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks, and came across the concepts of egalitarian and autocratic patterns in social networks. Before you jump to conclusions, let me say a few things about this book. To me it seems to focus on the mathematical origins of the theory of social networks, but takes a pleasant approach going through the history and background of how these ideas emerged. It also spans a wide range of disciplines in terms of where these patterns appear, from biology to watershed and geological studies.
First, it talks about Watts and Strogatz's truly innovative look that has eventually spread across the world as the meme: six degrees of separation. There's a lot more to it than the Kevin Bacon game, but I'd like to point out the particular elements here on egalitarian and autocratic networks. This is actually has little to do with policital systems like socialism versus monarchic or oligarchic communities. Instead if you look at it as a mathematical problem, what it describes is that there are often two varieties of patterns of connections in a system that emerge often.
The first is a basic heuristic that can be commonly seen in some biological systems like the brain: as a node (in a network system), you try to establish a fixed amount or ratio of connections to other nodes. The connections are not a random pattern, but neither is it based on a high degree of "purpose" or "intention". This proposes a very egalitarian and essentially a very simple rule to help build more complex systems as the overall network grows and evolves.
The other is the autocratic pattern, where the heuristic is to start with one node and grow from there. Essentially the key node itself starts growing in size or strength, while its immediate connections grows with it, and scaling down until you reach the end or leaf nodes which have only one connection to someone else. This easiest example is in terms of well known sites or articles on the Net that get linked from many sites, and in a very simplified description, the basis of the algorithm that Google's engine uses.
If you look at one example of each of these networks from a high level, the egalitarian network seems to be completely chaotic with no easily discernable pattern you can tell visually. On the other hand, the autocratic network looks strangely like one of those classic fractal diagrams. Yet, both serve different purposes and have different uses. You might almost say that they are the yin and yang that exist pervasively throughout the world. Okay, maybe that's too metaphysical for a Friday :)