Pushing social patterns

· Patterns, Social Design

One of my top priorities in my job as curator of Yahoo’s Design Pattern Library is to help polish up and publish to the wider web community a series of social-media oriented design patterns that our community platform team has been working on.

The first of this, Vote to Promote (a sort of generic “Digg This!” pattern) went live last week. There are more to come. The author of the pattern, Bryce Glass, has more to say about it in his blog, Soldier Ant, and I blogged about the pattern (and a new organizational scheme I’m trying out for the library, both the internal and open versions) at the Yahoo! User Interface Blog.

As always, we welcome feedback.

Reputation and Patterns at SXSW

· conventionology, Patterns, Social Design, The Power of Many, User Experience

Here’s my obligatory plug for my South by Southwest proposals. I’ve got two panels in contention at the cool-but-unwieldy Panel Picker, so I thought I’d provide some shortcuts here. A lot of folks feel that there are too many panels at SXSW and not enough solo presenters. I tend to agree, but I think the problem is really panels that are underprepared or have too many participants. After moderating a panel with five participants last year I’ve decided that that’s too many for a 45 or 50 minute slot. I think four (including moderator) is the max, and three or even two is probably ideal.
The first panel I’m proposing pertains to my ongoing book project (working title: Presence of Mind), on the subject of online/digital identity, reputation, attention, privacy, trust, and presence. Last year, my panel, Every Breath You Take (podcast, my slides) seemed to go over fairly well, despite the gawdawful 10 am but really 9 am because of daylight savings Sunday morning slot (you must recall that Saturday night – and, really, every other night – at SXSW involves a lot of drinking for most attendees.
I took to heart the positive and negative feedback and so the sequel this year will feature just three participants: myself, Ted Nadeau returning from last year, and Andrew Hinton, whose presentation on communities of practice at the IA Summit this year was such a huge success. We’re going to strive to go beyond the typical talking-head panel format and enage the audience in innovative ways. We’re also going to try to take the conversation past the grounwork-laying, high-level philosophizing of last year and hand the attendees some practical tools for building on what we’re tentatively calling the “human operating system.”
If this sounds appealing to you, please go vote for Online Reputation: And I *Do* Give a Damn about My Bad Reputation.
My second proposal draws on my experience running Yahoo!’s Design Pattern Library and moderating a mailing list for pattern authors. I’ve recruited Jenifer Tidwell, the leading figure in UI patterns; Austin Govella, who can talk about implementing a pattern library in a commerical context at Comcast; and James Reffel, also now at Yahoo!, who will share what he learned getting eBay’s pattern engine off the ground.
Luke Wrobleski’s talk on patterns at SXSW last year filled a large room and generated a lot of interest and I’m hoping to serve that same constituency by sharing practical experience and advice in our panel Design Patterns: the Devil’s in the Details, which we described this way:
> Patterns ground frameworks like Rails and Django drive libraries like Prototype, and enable rapid product development at companies big and small. But what happens when patterns go wrong? How do you know when a pattern is right? We’ll examine common issues facing groups who use design patterns and share our experiences at making sure patterns go right.
There are a lot of other great proposals. I kind of wish I could sort my existing votes into star order to remind myself of the ones I’ve already deemed must-sees, but here are a few I’ve been able to recall or find.
* [Agile User Experience – Bigger! Better! Faster! More](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/123) – Austin Govella, Leisa Reichelt, Dan Harrelson, yo!
* [Roll Over Gutenberg, Tell McLuhan the News](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/6) – George Kelly
* [The State of Professional Front-End Engineering](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/146) – Nate Koechley (yes, a Yahoo guy, but this is a must-see, trust me)
* [The Future of Presence](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/108) – Bryan Oberkirch
* [Redrum in the Rue Morgue: Collaboration in International Communities](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/642) – Ana Boa-Ventura
* [Build a Site Search Widget](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/477) – Kent Brewster (another Yahoo guy, but again this is not nepotism or logrolling – Kent is the real deal)
* [Social Network Coups: The Users are Revolting!](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/232) – Annalee Newitz
* [Do I have to disappear to get anything done?](a href=”http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/274) – Ryan Freitas
* [English: Technology’s Universal Language](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/481) – the always entertaining and enlightening Kevin Smockler
* [Stop Emailing and Be More Productive](http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/52) – Tantek Çelik
Hit me up in the comments if you’d like to recommend another panel or presenter as well.

Build your own search robot at Searchbots

· Searching and Finding, Social Design, The Power of Many, User Experience

a searchbot rampantBack in February, Mark Zeman, Lecturer and Subject Director in Digital Media, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, New Zealand, tipped me off to a search agent research project called Searchbots. I tagged it as something to blog about in my email and then, well, I got busy with my new job.
I’ve finally checked it out. Mark was clever enough to give me short precis of the project:
* Experimental social search engine created as a Masters in Design project.
* Build your own search robot and send it out to search on your behalf.
* Search using tags, location, color and mood, or ask a question.
* Get ongoing personalized reports and feeds.
* Talk to it and feed your Searchbot metadata to keep it alive.
* The more you interact with your Searchbot the better everyone’s results.
* Runs on top of API’s from Google, Yahoo, Digg & del.icio.us and more.
* Cross references popular Digg items with del.icio.us tags.
* Building an artificial intelligence using people’s common sense and clicks.
* 34,000+ Searchbots built.
* Interactive tag clouds & other metadata games to play with your Searchbot.
* Get your unique tag cloud plus your Searchbot printed on a tee-shirt.
* Your Searchbots finds facts and entertainment. Mix it up.
* Diligently retrieving the best of the Internet for the good of humanity.
Here are the questions (to users) the research is designed to address:
* Does personifying the search interface increase the motivation of
users to contribute metadata?
* Will users become attached to their Searchbots through ongoing
interaction and therefore be willing to play metadata games to keep it
* Will using mythology and game theory help make searching an active
give-and-take relationship? Will this sustain an open-content social
search engine?
* Would you rather fill out a basic form or talk to a Searchbot? An
agent that works on your behalf to wade through search results.
* How will users respond to creatively tagging the web? If I search for
the color red will I find a website about tomatoes, communism or angry
* How would you define your ongoing “relationship” with your search
engine? Does it endlessly talk in your ear or just drip-feed you good
Mark said he was planning to run a survey of users so if he notices this post, he can chime in and let us know “some of the findings on how personifying the interface effects users motivation levels.”

BarCamp virgin here – be gentle

· conventionology, Design, Development, Events, Patterns, Social Design, Teamwork, The Power of Many, User Experience

Two years after the first BarCamp (an ad hoc unconference formed initially in response to O’Reilly’s Foo Camp, I’m finally planning to make it to one, this weekend’s BarCampBlock, headquartered at SocialText’s offices in Palo Alto.
According to what I just jotted on the Sessions page on the wiki, I’ve just volunteered to lead or participate in discussions about portable social networks, identity, design patterns, particularly social-media related design patterns, and the gift economy.
I don’t know if I’m qualified to talk about all of those things but when has that ever stopped me before?
Since the moment that Liz Henry and Tara Hunt tipped me off to this event, I’ve had the feeling that this was an important one not to miss. So soon after my wedding and honeymoon and with a rapidly filling-up fall conference schedule, I could have been tempted to let this one slide by, but I have a strong intuition that many of the people I consider friends, heroes, and inspirations will be there and that I’d be kicking myself if I let another Bay Area BarCamp go by without joining in on the fun.
I’ll blog from there if I can find the time between no-spectatorin’ and schmoozin’ and gettin’ things done.

Sifry steps down as Technorati CEO

· Applications, Searching and Finding, Social Design, The Power of Many, User Experience

Maybe everyone else in the blogosphere knows this already but I just read that Dave Sifry is stepping down as CEO of Technorati: Technorati Weblog: A Change In Seasons
Looks like Tantek’s timing was impeccable.
I first met Dave during the dotcom bust when blogging was booming (again) on the backs of a lot of underemployed folks, myself included. I was working hard, updating Radio Free Blogistan three to seven times a day, hanging out on the #joiito channel on irc, and going to various blogger dinners and shmoozes here in the Bay Area.
I met a lot of folks with interesting startup ideas or who were looking at various ways of turning their passion for blogging and or social networking into businesses or publications or both. Dave’s idea was simple to explain and easy to understand, so I wasn’t surprised to see it get funded and take off.
I’ve got other friends working there now – some of whom I introduced to the Technorati people. I guess I consider myself a friend of the company, if that’s even a possible thing to be, and I’ve hesitated to complain or criticize too much when I’ve found the service sluggish or otherwise frustrating.
I applauded their recent redesign and I still visit the site when I am in the mood for some egosurfing (usually disappointing) or to see who’s been blogging about the Yahoo! Pattern Library recently.
It sounds like Technorati is having a tough time right now. Valleywag reported something like eight layoffs in addition to the CEO vacancy, and people don’t seem to talk about how Google or Yahoo! should buy Technorati so much anymore.
(Disclosure: I work at Yahoo but I have absolutely no knowledge regarding acquisition plans or lack of them for any startup out there.)
I’m sure the next thing Dave does will be interesting and I wish him the best.