Design to Thrive: Creating Social Networks and Online Communities that Last (英語) ペーパーバック – 2010/2/9
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Social networks and online communities are reshaping the way people communicate, both in their personal and professional lives. What makes some succeed and others fail? What draws a user in? What makes them join? What keeps them coming back? Entrepreneurs and businesses are turning to user experience practitioners to figure this out. Though they are well-equipped to evaluate and create a variety of interfaces, social networks require a different set of design principles and ways of thinking about the user in order to be successful.
Design to Thrive presents tried and tested design methodologies, based on the author’s decades of research, to ensure successful and sustainable online communities -- whether a wiki for employees to share procedures and best practices or for the next Facebook. The book describes four criteria, called "RIBS," which are necessary to the design of a successful and sustainable online community. These concepts provide designers with the tools they need to generate informed creative and productive design ideas, to think proactively about the communities they are building or maintaining, and to design communities that encourage users to actively contribute.
- Provides essential tools to create thriving social networks, helping designers to avoid common pitfalls, avoid costly mistakes, and to ensure that communities meet client needs
- Contains real world stories from popular, well known communities to illustrate how the concepts work
- Features a companion online network that employs the techniques outlined in the book
"This book provides the necessary antidote to the thoughtless, random and in too many cases desperate nature of many of today’s attempts to build online communities." – Carl Zetie, Strategist, IBM
"Howard's theoretical stance is firmly grounded in a lifetime of practical experience which makes fascinating and sometimes very amusing reading. Have you ever wondered why some networks and communities thrive and others fail? Read this book and find out." –Dr. Jurek Kirakowski, Senior Lecturer, Human Factors Research Group, Cork, Ireland
"Professionals in technical communication will find this book packed with relevant information, especially given the evolving role of communicators in new media. Writers and editors can put best practices to use in working with their employers, with clients, or within their own professional lives."--Angel Belford, Technical Communication, Volume 58, Number 1, February 2011
"This important work fills a gap in the literature in its proposal of methods to fuse technology with practical community growth and sustainability… [Howard] more than knows the subject, considering the very prominent place he holds in the human computer interaction and usability communities… [Howard] very smoothly conveys his thoughts in an eloquent, easily accessible manner that any level of reader would be able to penetrate…. This surprisingly deep yet easily readable book seamlessly incorporates the research of people such as Bruce Tuckman, Leon Festinger, and Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, among others… Highly recommended. All levels of academic and professional readers, especially those who create and maintain online communities."--CHOICE商品の説明をすべて表示する
But once you get comfortable with skimming over the minutia, there is really excellent content to be found no-where else.
The entire book can be boiled down to these four points:
These are the four key points of building a community - any community, not just a web community. A web community can bloom and fade quickly (or not at all) and these four factors are the determining points. The author takes great care in detailing and explaining these points with historical and current examples.
If you are building a community, this data is essential.
Thank you Tharon!
ps: One factor, however, I think is omitted is that most successful community have a leader. Think Apple, Microsoft, Amazon. Think of them as communities, not companies. And they each had a strong leader. Maybe the next edition will include this observation.
The heart of the book is the RIBS framework, a discussion of the four key elements necessary for the success of online communities: remuneration, influence, belonging, and significance. Each of these concepts is developed in a separate chapter, and the result is a solid framework that can be used to design, build, and test online communities of many different flavors.
I work in publishing, and have already been cribbing ideas from Design to Thrive to use in conversations with our new media and marketing teams. I find myself frequently citing Howard's vital distinction between social networks and online communities, two very different things that most folks I know tend to confuse. Whatever your role, if you work in media, publishing, or web development, you will find useful strategies and ideas in this book. If you're serious about doing social media right, this book can provide you with a framework, practical strategies, and a language for talking with your peers.
Below is my review written in 10/2010
An analogy can be made of this book as to having to read a dry, boring book in a required college course, but later realizing that the book's teachings really were useful.
This potentially powerful book is written by a tenured professor, and is halfway between a textbook for a required class and a popular marketing book, not being particularly readable in either case, but providing valuable methodology. Like many professors, the author states he doesn't care whether the book becomes popularly read, as he wrote this strictly for community designers. If you're NOT a community designer, I recommend reading the last two chapters first, as later explained.
The topic is how to attract and retain users to build web communities, using users' benefits of Remuneration, Influence, Belonging, and Significance to evaluate the community's potential for success. The synopsis of the book in Amazon's book description and other reviews here will give you a feel for this RIBS model.
Web community building is, in its essence, an understanding of the sociology of the web and how to harvest its groups. This understanding requires volumes of books, and this small book and RIBS can acts as partial guideline for web community guideline.
Is reading this partial and dry guideline on web community building worthwhile? The answer is definitely yes, and this is actually best explained in the final chapter, where the author describes the political power, marketing influence, social behavior influence of potential web communities. The problem though is that this is the final chapter, and it took 7 chapters of dry reading material to get to this final motivational chapter.
There are three pertinent steps in building a community: 1. Finalizing the decisions to build one 2. Selecting the appropriate web software 3. Utilizing the software, leadership skills, and people behaviors to build the community.
This book is best on helping one to assess step #1 and providing a few suggestions on step #3. Step #2 is better served by a book such as Social Networking for Business.
As for step #1, the book's value is that most web owners who want a community have not thought through on users' motivations to participate in a community. The author asks such owners to evaluate how does the community really benefit the user, by evaluating using the RIBS model. Potential owners of web communities should definitely read this user model before investing into their web community.
As for step 3, the author gives a number of techniques to enhance the RIBS user motivation. Techniques such as having emoticons in the software, not archiving users' content, building rituals, and ensuring empowerment.
The book isn't really good enough to be a great textbook, because it's too anecdotal and lacks quantitative analysis. Too dry to be read for non-course learning, unless, a person is really motivated, which is why I suggest reading the final chapter first. In short, the author has spent a lifetime studying the topic of electronic communities, and the book's information is valuable, but it's dry writing, so consider reading the last chapter first to get motivated.