Monday, January 14, 2013 – 64 views
— by max
A while back, I had a poorly-formed idea I presented to @dalton when taking questions for the 5th ADN podcast. He answered mine and a few other questions, mostly surrounding the concept of lists. Now, I don't have a problem, per say, with lists. My idea is very different from lists, but I was rather terrible at explaining it, and I think most people considered it very similar to lists. I'd like to try and explain it more completely and get some feedback.
There's a good chance it's a terrible idea. Regardless, please tell me what you think. Maybe a few folks will think it's a cool idea. I'm using the #clubs hashtag to talk about this idea.
There's a TL;DR version at the end for people like me with short attention spans
In Wara Wara plaza, the startup screen on your television with the Wii U, lots of people from around the internet gather underneath large tiles, each representing a video game, and they talk. This to me is the way I've always visualized the way people group together on the Internet when grouping in a more formal fashion than the short life-spanned hashtag.
My original inspiration was Vimeo Groups. They're very specific, and very big. It's easy to join a group, and you feel more in-touch with the community when the specialized can come together like that.
To me, ADN has a perfect ability to create an environment where everyone is welcome, but specific corners can exist. People group together on the internet the same way they do in Middle School. Why not embrace that? Clubs are cool.
As a web designer, as an adamant Nintendo gamer, and as a Star Wars fan, I'm frequently looking for environments to discuss these interests. Hashtags don't do the job. Hashtags have an inherently short life-span. Hashtags are perishable bits, whose life-span is determined by attention span of the people riding the trend. And, while they can be re-established, it's not very common, and they currently depend on people's discovery of the hashtag. On Twitter or App.net, unless someone you follow turns you on to a hashtag, you probably won't know about it unless it's popular enough to make the Trending Topics.
With Clubs, ADN users can identify with (perhaps only, say, 3 (more on that later)) major sub-ecosystems that pertain to their long-term interests.
I think this can also help keep information filtered in a way to improve everyone's experience with the site.
For example, say I'm coding a site and can't figure out why this stupid
You may hate web design and follow me. So, you're not going to help me fix the problem, and you're probably irritated and considering un-following me. The net benefit for both parties isn't positive.
However, let's say I'm part of the ADN Web Designer's Club. I can go rant about how much I hate Internet Explorer to my heart's content, and know that the people there also value my disgust of IE. No one is reading content they don't consciously already have an interest in. And I've got a better likelihood of getting feedback from like-minded individuals. Everyone's net-benefit is higher.
I'd envision an implementation like this:
Each user can have up to a certain number (say, 3 or 5?) number of groups to which I can belong. These can define me. And, these groups would be listed on my profile. So, by visiting my profile, in addition to my bio, you can get a feel for what's most important to me.
Each club gets a dedicated page (using Alpha, for this example). Users post to this one specialized feed and connect with each other. Posts inside of a Club are private to that Club, unless reposted by a member (in which case the post is treated like any other ADN repost) (also, all ADN posts are inherently public).
Clubs could also have their own "trending" and "top users" lists (Top users could be determined by any number of factors).
Whether or not you have to be in a Club to see what's posted to the Club is a question I'll let other people answer. In the spirit of ADN, I think it should be open to anyone, but, y'know, whatever works.
Going forward with the future of ADN, I would assume groups would need a way to throttle user additions to keep from getting to be so huge no one cares. I can't think of a way around that other than some sort of membership process that screens the not-so-serious members from the serious. That's a ways down the road when the number of users is hard to deal with in this context.
Duplicates. I haven't thought up a clever way to deal with this. But I don't envision clubs functioning like Facebook groups, in which I create a group for my circle of friends and use it to set up hangouts. Or, if this is allowed, major-groups should be given dominance in search results. If I search for a "Heroes of Time (Zelda)" Club, I want to see the one with a bunch of members, not the one with 4. Also, I wouldn't think duplicate names would be allowed, as they are with Facebook groups.
I do think that this can add even more value to the ADN ecosystem. The same way the @spacekatgal talked about a specific app branding that creates the recognition of the service, so too could the community on both the existing macro- and non-existent micro-levels.
TL;DR Version: The goal is to get large groups of people who don't know each other to come together under one flag and converse. That's it.
This was just an idea. Thanks for reading.
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