The social of social software has still not being captured comprehensively, yet. Why is that? Social aspects of communication are relevant for implementation as well as for design. They are pretty well investigated in principle. This blog series likes to fill some knowledge gaps towards this issue. Lets start with the relation between Turn-Taking and design.
The design of an enterprise microblogging platform affects the mode of how and about what we communicate. Why? Easy: Because like with face-to-face interaction using social software is determined by informal rules that shape our behavior.
We know from interaction research the following example:
1. Someone who is speaking can single out the next speaker.
2. If he isn’t doing that, another person may single himself out.
3. If nothing happens, the current speaker may speak further.
4. If nothing happens, rule 2 follows again.
Simple interaction rules that accompany us all the day. And we are able to follow them. If someone breaks them (e.g. by interrupting) there will occur a crisis of interaction – at least a tiny one.
So, what are the rules in WWW? How can I make somebody answer me or take a note about my utterances? I can do it myself: ‘please answer me!’ or: ‘What do you think?’ However, in a subtle way social software design will do it for us, too.
Where does this happen very well at the moment? With Facebook and Yammer. Because here we have a thread structure and beneath it the invitation to answer (‘write a comment’, see picture). There is no klick too much, no function too much. Writing-Sending, that’s it. That is the right way. Because if I need to raise my hands to tell something I may let it go. So, if I need to go into a menu to find the function to answer, or if I only have to do a klick too much, I may let it go.
Subtle as it is, it will have effects. For we are in an interaction mode when we are in social networks. Likewise the fact that the write-a-comment field has only one line. It speaks to me as follows: “Come on, write! Just a few words! They will do it.”
Additionally: The Like-Button (see the picture) causes similar effects. It may be compared with face-to-face interaction as well. The thumb-up sign has to be taken seriously. It simulates gesture and mimics that play an immense important role in face-to-face interaction. While in such interactions take a second and observe the importance of gesture and mimics and how it orders the way conversation happens. Well, it’s all about conversation, in WWW as well.
And why do such phenomena from the real world take effect in WWW? I will show the next time.
(Source of picture: www.photoxpress.com)