The Power of Historical Analogy

Theories can be used to glean an understanding of overall societal trends. This is why it is important to study history.

Laws conserve themselves, trends conserve themselves. The only thing that changes is the way in which things manifest from time to time.
Historical Analogy: Societal foreseeing approach based on historical hypothesis; the past developmental pattern of human society can be used as a historical analogical model for future society (Yoneji Masuda, The Information Society as Post Industrial Society (1980), 160).

Social Networks in Physical Products

The modular, semantic, “lego-like” shape of Web 3.0 is beginning to manifest.

The Olinda is a music device that has the user’s personal social networks embedded in it’s body, allowing user’s to listen to their friends radio stations.

It’s clunky, prototypical, and unevolved, but it’s also kind of cute…like Lego bricks. And isn’t it more enjoyable to be able to build things than simply use them?

Regardless of where it goes or how many it sells, the Olinda is a harbinger of the Web 3.0 that is to come.

AboutUs.org – A Wiki Business/People/Idea Directory

A lot of user frustration is caused by unreliable information experiences. Contact and location information is often ill-placed or absent on business websites. Because of this, the user spends an unnecessary amount of time wayfinding instead of contacting the business. This leads to user frustration and business losses, not to mention time lost on the side of the user.

Enter AboutUs.org. It’s like Wikipedia/Phone Book/Search Engine/Social Networking – all in one. It provides a consistent and cheery user experience, while data mining the needed contact and location information that a user needs…quickly and quietly.

Plus, users can augment every page of the site to expand information about a business or topic, because AboutUs is a Wiki. Users can have profiles, interests and groups. They can find others based on their interests/edits. They can upload photos and stories about themselves in Wiki format.

AboutUs.org is based in Portland, too! In fact, I recently visited their location and was terribly impressed by their corporate environment. Being there gave me renewed ambitions for what Japanense futurist Mr. Masuda wrote about in his book about the future: The Information Society as Post Industrial Society.

AboutUs looks like it could be another step towards a bright future of coworking and cocreation of knowledge and ideas.

Meeting Ward Cunningham

Tonight, my friends Heather and Max and I went to the WikiWednesday Open House event at Portland’s AboutUs.org. We met Wiki Inventor Ward Cunningham.

The event consisted of a networking session followed by a conference in critical thinking led by Ward. We discussed the current manifestation of Wikipedia, the future of the Wiki, and it’s limitations. The notes I took there will form the basis of a new series of posts and a few papers.

After the conference, Ward talked about AOL, the endless September of the Internet. Before the net was open to the masses, college students used to have to deal with the new waves of college students that were just learning to use the Internet every September. After a month or so, the Freshmen would learn how to use the Internet correctly and everyone would continue to improve the system as a whole.

Then AOL arrived on the scene. The September never ended. Not everyone ever figured out how to use the web like the generations of college students before them. Thus, AOL became termed as the “endless September”.

Using associated networks of experts for question answering.

Linkedin.com example:

Facebook.com Example:
If you build up networks of experts, you can ask them questions.

Coworking – Methods and Success

Coworking

If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.
– African proverb

What is Coworking? It is simply working side-by-side with more than one person. No one has to be working on the same project or talk to each other. Simply being there with someone else negates the lonliness of working from home, or working in a hostile corporate environment.

Coworking is successful in corporate environments, especially startups, and is also ideal for entrepreneurs who need a support group while they develop independently.

It’s also useful to have others to bounce ideas off of.

Ingredients for Coworking. Shared working. Time sharing. Think sharing:

1. Large wooden table.
2. Large room with high ceilings.
3. Next room and kitchen with access to food and coffee.
4. Bathroom.
5. Powerstrips.
6. Computers on swivels (for screen sharing).
7. Good lighting.
8. Good window.

Shared working 2.0:

Costs: Space, and a projector to put computer screens onto wall.

Benefits:

  • Others can watch media.
  • Others can choose to show others media.
  • Processes can be shown in motion.

Image below shows shared working space during the day and at night. This is what the dining room of the Woods house in N. Portland looks like. We set it up like this, and it works.

The same concept was written about in the NYTimes. Here.

RSS Feeds as Fruits, Food, Drugs.

A user return rate of 20% is pretty good, but with a newsletter it could be increased. However, newsletters are Web 1.0, so 2.0 is RSS.

Many design sites place RSS as the most important part of their site. All attentional direction is turned towards directing the user to the RSS feed button, because that button increases the chance of user return.

The following is a good example of a page with a naturalistic feel and an RSS button that seems to be growing out of a plant. This is a very common (and successful) trend. Embedding RSS buttons in natural looking objects on the page makes a page feel organic. It also eases the visual flow.


Color schemes: blue, orange, black, grey, lime green. Look for these in most Web 2.0/design sites with great RSS feed ads.

Twitter Earth – Hello World

Now you can watch live Tweets on Twitter Earth. Unfortunately, the site was only an experiment. Here’s a picture for you. If it’s back online, please let me know.

Isn’t this was the Internet was supposed to be in the beginning? A global conversation…

Regardless, it is useful for watching posting trends. A lot of cross-person chatter, links and excitement about things. Nouns, verbs and adjectives in great supply!

Peter Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb


This is an information design classic. More about user experience visualization.

Search Patterns: A practical guide to the future.

A slideshow about place by Peter Morville, author of Ambient Findability.
I posted this before, but it needs a repost. Peter Morville is so important to interaction design that it’s worth another look.