ISBN: 0321534921

Excellent primer for those new to designing social platforms. If you’re current in your use or study of social networking sites and web usability principles, you’ll find many of the concepts familiar. the book would still be useful in putting the concepts systematically.

Published in 2008.

Author blogs at

P24. focus on primary activity. Only one activity is primary.

P31. Identify your social object. E.g. Ppl looking for jobs don’t just want to look for contacts.k. The object of interest is a job. Need to translate this to the brand image.

P33. give social objects a URL (flicker)

P34. Choose a core feature set (put a limit to features; don’t copy features).

P41. On Authentic Conversations. Overall strategy is to “make a solid commitment to authentic conversations and focusing on a specific community” (p64). Suggests it’s the most impt thing to do for social web. Gives examples of how Plaxo responded and how Dell did not. It’s the tone and style of responding. Suggests a community manager.

P53. Ten ways Flickr builds communities.

P57. Keep attention by reacting positively to negative feedback.

P60. How to say you’re sorry (8 points). JetBlue Airways example.

P62. Treat criticism as opportunity.

P65. How to motivate ppl to sign up for a web app.

Chpt 4. Designing sign-up pages. Author provides clear examples of how to do things right/ less than perfect. and netflick as positive examples. Describe what it is, Show how it works, Show end results, Explain Why with Benefits and Features, Reduce sign-up friction (i.e. Don’t require ppl to sign up until they have to), Progressive Engagement (i.e. Start using w/o fully committing)

P98/ 99. Why people participate (in online platforms); 9 reasons: manage their identity within a social group, feel they have something unique to contribute, out of reciprocity, to build reputations, to create positive effects, control how their information is shared, feel a sense of ownership over their content, find like-minded people, out of fun.

P99 makes the case for identity management; also can be read as advocacy of making people identify themselves online (though author did not specifically say use real identities).

P104. “social network fade”. Cautions against merely providing a platform for others to manage profiles. Cites a comment re: Friendster, that there isn’t much to do after finding one’s friends.

P116 – 118. Facebook controversy. How Zuckerberg’s initial “calm down. Breathe. We hear you” post to clarify the situation sounded defensive and made matters worse.

p125. Designing for collective intelligence. Key is to enable users to use feedback mechanisms. could be ratings, promote/ demoted content.

Case study on; MusicLab Study and “social influence” – that aggregated downloads convinced more people to dowload than relying on their own independent judgement. Visible popularity, not quality, led to more downloads (see wisdom of crowds).

P143. How to build features that enable sharing. Implicit (shared by default, like and explicit sharing (shared on purpose, e.g. Email, post to public profiles). Specifics ways: provide a permanent URL, make it embeddable, make it a PDF (says for some reason ppl love to share PDFs), make it printer-friendly, call to action statements, placement of the call to action/ timing (wrt user experience), give options for sharing, sharing form (don’t ask for more info than what’s needed to share). Give ppl something to do after sharing. Recipients receiving personal message and call for action. Cautions against going overboard (e.g. options overkill).

Final chapter on “The Funnel Analysis”. A systematic way to analyse and plan to meet goals set for the site. Layers of this “funnel” can be: interested, first-time use, regular use, passionate use (each layer has a percentage). Then analyse where “leaks” might occur (could be pdt, design, process). Work to plug those leaks.

Measurement: explains how Page Views aren’t the definitive measure nowadays. More common metrics: unique visits, repeat visits, time on site, pagerank, sign-ups, feed subscribers, click-through. Other social metrics include: comments, items shared, no. of friends, no. of posts, no. of saved-to-favourites etc.