Web 2.0 Expo Notes: Building Social Applications

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/04/16

I really enjoyed Stowe Boyd’s 3 hour workshop at the Web 2.0 Expo yesterday AM on ‘Building Social Applications‘.

Web 2.0 Expo: Building Social Applications - Stowe Boyd

He really helped me get my head around some of the foundations of designing these next generation online social experiences.

Highlights quotes were:

  • “Social apps is the world that IM has made”
  • “I am made greater by the sum of my connections, and so are my connections”
  • “I give up personal productivity for network productivity. I sacrifice for the group.”
  • “Fashionista recommendation is a different UI than a feature lookup (size, color, etc)”
  • “What happens when the money gets serious? Well, what happened to the blogs? TechCrunch is no longer a blog per-se, it is a media property.”
  • “Reputation is fragile both online and offline. Squander your rep and CBS may fire you.”
  • “I often play psychologist for social apps. I set them on the couch and ask about their childhood.”
  • “Find people who tag items the same way you do and you will find a social group based on shared ways of thinking and speaking.”
  • “To understand social apps, you have to be in the flow, not outside. You can’t get it unless you are using them and you can’t explain it to people — you’ve got to do it. You can’t learn Karate by thinking about it”

Took notes in MindManger — here’s the .PDF or the .MMAP files.



Have arrived at Web 2.0 Expo

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/04/15

I am at the Web 2.0 Expo at Moscone West in San Francisco this AM. Got here early to scope out the power and do a Sightspeed video call with Jen, Thomas, and Ruthie back in Seattle.

If you are here for the conference, shoot me a note or twitter me (bryanzug) and let’s hang out.

Am looking forward to Stowe Boyd’s 3 hour workshop this AM on ‘Building Social Applications‘. I hear he know his $#!7.

Also — the first Ignite session outside of Seattle is happening tonight at the Expo. Brady has put together an excellent lineup — including Justin.tv — should be interesting.

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Creating Passionate Users: Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video…

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/03/16

God bless Kathy Sierra.

Over the last few months I’ve found myself trying to explain the deepening (and real community) aspects of meatspace interactions that my wife Jen and I have been drawn into as a result of participating in online community.

Ruthie's Shoes at Northern Voice 2007

Usually we are trying to explain to business colleagues or friends or family or members of our church that, yes, indeed — online community is a part of real community and not the equivalent of social cheese-whiz that some describe it to be.

But, yeah — as I’m working to explain it I often see eyes begin to glaze over — and I can tell that folks are either not buying it or I’m not communicating very well.

Which leaves me — searching for ways to compellingly relate how online community has become real community for us — looking for the stories and patterns that engage both the emotion and the intellect.

Enter Kathy Sierra.

This morning I read her post from yesterday describing her keynote at SXSW. The post is called Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video… and is full of great passages on how all this social web software drives a deeper desire for face-to-face community.

My favorite quote —

…all our globally-connecting-social-networking tools are making face-to-face more, not less desirable. Thanks to the tools y’all are building, we now have more far-flung friends–including people we’ve never met f2f–than ever before. We now have more people we want to connect with in the human world, often after years of electronic-only contact.

Nice insight — sticking that pattern in my bag of tricks — something tells me the “online community isn’t real community, is it?” questions aren’t gonna stop anytime soon — this stuff is continuing to disrupt everything.

Did I mention that my mom who just got her first computer for Christmas is now IM’ing all the time — the world really is getting flat.



Whitespace: 34% More Retention in Half the Time

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/03/14

Cool article this AM from the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review. It’s a review of an eyetracking research study called “Eyetracking points the way to effective news article design“.

Best quote —

“What if you could engage users in a story for about half the time, yet have them remember about 34 percent more of the content?”

Visit the article for cool screenshots of the noted before and after design. Main takeaways are that retention increased with a redesign that emphasized —

  • Increased white space
  • Concise main idea
  • Removal of unnecessary images
  • Shortened lines of text
  • An added graphic for each restaurant ranking


Udell on ‘Video Knowledge’ and my riff on the death of the specialist

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/12/20

Father of screencasting, Jon Udell has great post on the move toward video as a knowledge/rapid-documentation repository. After a few technical points, he hits this gem that completely jives with my experience on getting into the flow of screencasting —

…you have to overcome the same natural reticence that makes dictation such an awkward process for those of us who haven’t formerly incorporated it into our work style. You also have to overcome the notion, which we unconsciously absorb from our entertainment-oriented culture, that video is a form of entertainment. It can be. Depending on the producer, a screencast documenting a disaster recovery scenario could be side-splittingly funny. And if the humor didn’t compromise the message, a funny version would be much more effective than a dry recitation. But even a dry recitation is way, way better than what’s typically available: nothing.

Just another step toward the seamlessness of media where real headway means that this will be less and less of a specialist skill — who is a ‘word processing’ specialist these days?

No one — every one.

There is a point in the future (near? mid? far?) Jon alludes to here where things like screencasting will be a natural repository for business/education/whatever knowledge — a time when this stuff will not be a specialized skillset.


Last night with the wife and kids, I brought YouTube up on the family TV and searched for my wife’s username and my daughter’s name. We all sat mesmerized for 30 minutes while we played the various clips Jen has uploaded over the past 6-8 months.

It’s content that I, as a professional multimedia producer, had little to do with — All video my wife produced on her own through mostly self developed knowledge and a digital camera (not a miniDV camcorder).

What does TV look like to my daughter and my wife? Something much less specialized than I could ever imagine — and I’ve got a good imagination.

On with the flattening of the universe…



Annotate Online Video with Mojito

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/11/09

There’s a post over on Lifehacker about using Mojito to annotate online video (ala YouTube). They’ve put together a cool example of adding callouts to the Sony colored ball commercial.

Am seeing this as an easy way to add titling and callouts to videos — in a way that can be collaborative, fast, and non-destructive.

Interesting…



Less about eYada and more about participatory cultures

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/11/08

Tama points out a couple of reports this morning on technology and learning that focus less on the tools and more on how they enable folks to engage in participatory cultures.

From Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century by Henry Jenkins and the MacArthur Foundation —

That is why we focus in this paper on the concept of participatory cultures rather than on interactive technologies. Interactivity is a property of the technology, while participation is a property of culture. Participatory culture is emerging as the culture absorbs and responds to the explosion of new media technologies that make it possible for average consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content in powerful new ways. A focus on expanding access to new technologies carries us only so far if we do not also foster the skills and cultural knowledge necessary to deploy those tools toward our own ends.

That seems like a really compelling way to describe all this eLearning 2.0 stuff to me.



Firefox 2.0, with spellcheck!

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/11/08

I am using Firefox 2.0 and it has red squiggly spellcheck that automatically runs on any text field. Who knew that something so mundane could be so satisfying?

As Scott says, it shoulda been there years ago, but better late than never, eh?



Current style in web design

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/17

Web Design from Scratch has a nice rundown of current wed design trends and why they are effective. Nice roundup of examples.

I’m glad to say that web design in 2006 is better than ever. And it’s not just because there are more web sites out there, so more good stuff to look at. There’s still an awful lot of crud too. I just think that more web designers know more about how to design than ever before.

The examples below (which I’ll roll over time) show excellent modern graphic design technique. They all look good, and are clear and easy to use.



Tim Wang’s eLearning Blog – Ancient Spaces – Ready for the Fall

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/16

Tim Wang is working on some cool learning projects via 3D environments. This AM he posted an update on the Ancient Spaces project that is using 3D to teach on cultural history via immersive sets.

August is a critical month for the Ancient Spaces project where the modelers are busy porting the precisely designed 3D models into the Ancient Spaces editor and rendering engine. Check out these wonderful pictures, the lighting and shadows really make a difference!

Ancient Spaces Nisga village Nisga Village



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