Published on May 19, 2008
Battle for the Planet of The Apes A perspective on Social Software and Social Networks Matt Jones / MX08 DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Hi, Iʼm Matt Jones - Iʼm the co-founder and lead designer of a Where next? social tool called Dopplr; and Iʼm going to talk a little about it in relation to some thoughts Iʼve been having regards the current Where next? trends in ʻsocial technologiesʼ. Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Iʼve called my talk ʻBattle for the Planet of the Apesʼ for a few Where next? reasons. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR 1. To make AP wonder why they ever invited me to speak. Where next? Thisʼll learn ʻem. Where next? Where next?
RIP DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR 2. out of respect for the departed Where next? Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR 3. as an excuse to show some awesome images Where next? Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR But mainly - as a reference to our innate sociality as great Where next? apes. Where next? Where next?
Crows are the new monkeys!DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR BTW - as an aside (there will be lots of these) if you want Where next? to be seen as ultra-hot and modish in your discussion of social animals, then crows are the new monkeys... Where next? Where next?
Dr. Robin Dunbar DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR But Iʼm not so Iʼll concentrate on us Apes. Where next? This is Dr. Robin Dunbar. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR He wrote a book called “Grooming, gossip and the Where next? evolution of language” which often gets cited by those involved in building social technologies. Usually people Where next? state his ﬁnding that we appear to be hardwired for Where next? handling relationships with groups of around 150 or so.
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR It also points out, in an associated factoid not so often Where next? quoted, that the time we spend ʻgroomingʼ those social relationships - or keeping our social ties in good shape is Where next? on a hockey-stick curve. Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR We all know weʼre now in an age where we have a deluge Where next? of tools to indulge our grooming instincts. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Another aside: Found while googling for images... I love Where next? this... “the only blog that makes you more handsome when your read it” Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR www.dieselsweeties.com DOPPLR DOPPLR But I guess I ﬁnd myself increasing asking: is social Where next? networking and grooming the only game in town for social technologies? Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR This is an entry on my blog from ﬁve years ago, when I Where next? guess I was ﬁrst serious involved in designing what was more popularly called “Social Software” back then. Where next? Where next? My own deﬁnition - very broad, but very useful to me in understanding where I thought things were/should go was “software that gets better because thereʼs people there”
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Iʼd contend weʼve gone from mainframe - where we all Where next? had to use a little bit of the same computer. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR To personal computing, where we all get to use powerful Where next? tools in isolation Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Back to the mainframe in a way - where we all share the Where next? same ʻcomputerʼ - but we all share the same tools and data to an extent. Where next? Where next? This is the landscape as designers and developers that weʼre exploring now.
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Where next? DOPPLR Where next? DOPPLR Where next? As I said, Iʼm a cofounder and lead designer on Dopplr, Where next? which is a social tool for optimising travel. [How many of your are using it?] Where next? Where next?
“Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer's daughter.” Julius Comroe Jr. DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Our starting point was could we create a system that Where next? increased the happy little coincidences in your life as your travel through the world? This is my favourite deﬁnition of Where next? Serendipity! Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Hereʼs the main view I see once Iʼm logged in - itʼs a very Where next? simple report of my upcoming trips Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Each trip is the central ʻsocial objectʼ of Dopplr... Hereʼs Where next? my trip page for IxDA08 in Savannah, Georgia - aggregated here are nice things like the ﬂickr pictures Iʼd Where next? taken that trip, notes by me and friends of mine and stats Where next? about travel here. But the main thing to look at is the ʻCoincidencesʼ block - showing me the other people I share information with on Dopplr who were going to be there.
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR I wonʼt dwell too much - best way to understand Where next? something is to play with it, so if youʼre not an active member of Dopplr already, if you join using this URL it will connectnext?group here together on Dopplr - more about Where our Where next? this later.
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Dopplr was conceived of a social tool working between Where next? those you have strong ties with - close friends, family or colleagues that you already have a high degree of context Where next? and trust with; whereas many other social networking Where next? sites are about creating or increasing context perhaps.
(we’re somewhere here...) DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR This greatly informed our starting design assumptions Where next? Where next? Where next?
Human DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR We wanted to create a social network that respected and Where next? ampliﬁed real-life, rather than creating an alternate second life. Where next? Where next?
Are you really “Friending”? DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR One assumption we wanted to challenge as a result Where next? was - what does that terrible neologism ʻfriendingʼ really mean? BTW - can you believe there was a Friends Where next? videogame? Where next?
Asymmetry DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR We created a language and controls that were explicitly Where next? about sharing information, rather than ʻmaking friendsʼ and we thought it was important you had complete control Where next? over how that happened. Where next?
Plausible deniability DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Often social tools donʼt have enough opportunities built in Where next? for the sort of plausible deniability that gets us out of all sorts of embarrasing situations in real life... Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR On the ﬂip-side of this fuzziness is the opportunity for you Where next? to increase the usefulness of the tool by growing your social network in what we hope is an easy and polite way. Where next? Where next?
Clues about others DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR We have clues about others you might know from your Where next? existing ʻsocial graphʼ as itʼs known. So for instance that URL I gave you to join Dopplr is a clue for us to associate Where next? with you for others to pick-up on - youʼll show up in the Where next? ʻothers you might knowʼ tab to everyone else who comes through our gathering here.
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR This is a side-project of Tom Insam, my colleague at Where next? Dopplr, called “Shelf” - which is a small app that ʻsniffsʼ everything it from the network, mostly enabled by Where next? ʻmicroformatsʼ: small, regularly formatted pieces of data Where next? that have an open-standard shared between many websites. It;s a powerful technique weʼre working with in Dopplr also.
‘Friend’ is not the only social role we play DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR But as I say - “friend” is not the only social role we play, Where next? and itʼs not the only thing that social tools should focus on IMHO. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR For example: this is part of Intel Research Berkeleyʼs Where next? “Familiar Strangers” work, looking at the patterns forming from regular, casual contact in the urban environment. We Where next? all recognise familiar strangers as we visit our corner Where next? store, queue for the bus etc. We play that role for others of course. They asked questions about how might this be used/abused by social technologies in our urban enviroments...
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Iʼm a bit of an optimist about this stuff. Where Johnsonʼs “The Ghost Map”: From Steven next? Where next? ʻJane Jacobs observed many years ago that one of the Where next? paradoxical effects of metropolitan life is that huge cities create enviroments where small niches can ﬂourish” - this is our experience of the internet also I guess, so when the two biggest technologies weʼve created: cities and the internet combine, good things happen.
Another aside! One of the best factoids (if it is less-than- true, can it be a ﬁctionoid?) Iʼve ever heard was that Jane Jacobs and Frank Serpico lived on the same city block. I started to think that it would be fantastic to see them both a brilliant but maverick crime-ﬁghting duo, so I ﬁred up photoshop... Wouldnʼt it be great? “Donʼt go to hard on the kid, Frank - the urban planning catastophes here never gave him a chance.”
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Anyway, considering Jane Jacobsʼ view that many eyes Where next? on the street make the city better kind of leads me back back to “software thatʼs better because thereʼs people there” next? Where Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR How might we make tools that better respond to ALL our Where next? social roles? Where next? Where next?
2.5 thoughts... DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Where next? Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Both follow the threads of the ʻcollective intelligenceʼ take Where next? on social tools. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR So... ﬁrst thought: Where next? Whether itʼs dog-eared pages of books Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Our tools... (this is a picture of Bruce Sterlingʼs keyboard, Where next? BTW) Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Or even our adaptive paths... [ding!] Where next? Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR “Wear and tear” is often how mental models get out into Where next? the world. Incidentally, the movie is of a machine my friend Jack Schulze built to record the way that people Where next? draw maps to explain directions to other people. [Will Hill Where next? and other talked about “edit read” and “wear read” back in 1992. ]
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Bungie let players see ʻHeatmapsʼ online of where Where next? thousands and thousands of players of HALO3 died on different levels - allowing them to visualise strategies for Where next? the game. E.g. “Kills with the Gravity Hammer in Ratʼs Where next? Nest”...
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR When we expose these previously invisible patterns in Where next? social software - what feedbacks happen? Are we as good at ﬂocking as grooming? (See! Crows, not monkeys! Where next? Well.. theyʼre not crows... um.) Where next?
hogwarts staircases DOPPLR DOPPLR Constantly shifting DOPPLR We can use the data we harvest on these ʻdesire pathsʼ to Where next? change our product to be shift like the stairs in Hogwarts - so itʼs just right, just in time. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Weʼre able to prototype and test new features quickly, Where next? both because weʼre so small and the way Matt and Tom have built Dopplr - features are ʻtagsʼ that we can attach Where next? to testers in our user community Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR These are highlighted to users in the UI and we then get Where next? their feedback and iterate on it. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Celia is our ʻcommunity design managerʼ at Dopplr. She Where next? works with our user community improve the design of their tools. Where next? Where next?
Making the invisible,visible DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Thought 1.5... One extension of this, is increasingly we Where next? are able to see previously invisible behaviours from ʻthe real worldʼ and apply social tools to them. As someone Where next? earlier in the conference said: “Anything essential is Where next? invisible to the eye” - The Little Prince. This is “Nuage Vert” - a project in Helsinki (where half of Dopplr are based) wear a laser projects the energy usage of the city onto the cloud coming from a power station. Eerie, beautiful and perhaps, useful to the city...
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Somewhat related to this: weʼre really happy weʼve been Where next? able introduce this new feature for Earth Day (serendipitously!) Where next? Where next? Also - congrats to AP for making MX their ﬁrst carbon- neutral conference.
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Hereʼs my year so far. Must try harder... Though it seems Where next? to be trending down... Where next? Where next?
Scales, not diet... DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Weʼre not currently linking through to things like carbon Where next? offsets. We prefer to leave actions like that up to individuals. Weʼre the weighing scale not the diet... Where next? Where next?
FTW! DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Weʼd really like to design a ʻwin stateʼ that encouraged Where next? thoughtfulness about travel and resources. For instance the default setting of the Toyota Prius dashboard showing Where next? MPG, not MPH encouraging the ʻgameʼs win stateʼ to be Where next? lowering the MPG...
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Weʼre starting small... Where next? Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Thought 2: Whereitself gets smarter as it aggregates our Our content next? Where next? thoughts about it. Where next? This is the Archimedes Palimpsest. I think the palimpsest as a model for social tools is a powerful one. Of course they originated from the scarcity of media, something we donʼt exactly suffer. But thinking about the medium as something that accretes messages in the way they did helps me. I also just like saying it. Palimpsest!
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR This is a map from the collection of the National Maritime Where next? Museum, where successive explorers annotated new opportunities, theories and obstacles on the same map Where next? over several expeditions over the course of several years. Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Layering of new information on information, metadata - is Where next? of course is nothing new. Where next? Where next?
X DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR But the participative nature of doing so is. As recent Where next? publications by Messrs Shirky and Weinberger point out - everybody is annotating everything, with everything else. Where next? Where next?
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Yes, weʼre all eagerly constructing and re-constructing the Where next? greatest repository of knowledge the world has ever seen, like millions and millions of Doozers. Where next? Where next? Remember Doozers from Fraggle Rock??
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR The problem is that most of us, most of the time, are Where next? Fraggles - not Doozers. Where next? I.e. Dancing our cares away, worries for another day etc. Where next? If youʼve ever started a wiki or a forum youʼll know there are a few doozers contributing a lot, and lots of lots of fraggles...
The Casual Majority The Other Committed API DOPPLR Committed Minority Minorities DOPPLR Multiplier” “Force DOPPLR The trick of connecting the doozers and the fraggles is Where next? probably the biggest challenge of creating successful social tools. Where next? Where next? Thatʼs a whole other talk (whichʼll be doing at IXDA SF on Wednesday...) But another tactic is connect doozers to other doozers with an open API... and harvesting the beneﬁts for the majority of your users.
DOPPLR DOPPLR DOPPLR Projects like Flickr Commons really do point to a new era Where next? of social technology and media to design with, where we together increase our understanding of the world and our place innext? Where it instead of how many friends we have. Where next?
Thanks! DOPPLRmj@dopplr.com http://www.blackbeltjones.com DOPPLR DOPPLR In conclusion, I donʼt think we can escape our planet of Where next? the social apes and our addiction to social networks, but I do think a bit of broader focus on social technologies Where next? could be beneﬁcial to us all, perhaps...? Where next? Thank you very much for your attention, and to Adaptive Path for the invitation to speak to you all.
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