How To Design Social Media Interfaces For The Irrational Human Mind

Jay Vidyarthi works as a user experience designer and research coordinator at Yu Centrik and will be talking in-depth about cognitive bias and user experience at the UX Masterclass on September 20th in Montreal.

Like any interactive system, social media depends largely on effective human-computer interfaces. In my day-to-day work as a user experience designer, I often use principles in psychology to help design interfaces which are easy to use and persuasive. I thought it might benefit the Social Times community to provide a clear example of how a strict psychological approach can provide new perspectives to the social media landscape. We’ll start with a summary of how psychology contributes to marketing and design, and we’ll move toward applying social psychology to a clearer understanding of how social media works (and how to _make_ social media work).

This may seem like a long article, but in order to make sure people from any background can understand, I wanted to start with the basics. [Más…]
UNDERSTANDING THE IRRATIONAL HUMAN MIND

When observing the world, making decisions and performing actions, people are rarely perfectly rational. Psychologists have shown that a wide range of factors can influence us our view of the world. As it turns out, we are much more complex than strict, logical robots.

For example, let’s imagine you’re heading to the mall because you need to buy a new mobile phone. If you went to one store which offered two phones, you would make a judgement on the differences and similarities between them. Interestingly, if you saw the exact same phones at different times (you didn’t have the opportunity to evaluate them simultaneously), you would actually tend to see more similarity between the two options. Obviously, this doesn’t make logical sense, the phones haven’t changed, so why should our perception of them change? As it turns out, psychologists have demonstrated that humans make this mistake consistently (known as “distinction bias”).


Posted by Guest

headlogo Jay Vidyarthi works as a user experience designer and research coordinator at Yu Centrik and will be talking in-depth about cognitive bias and user experience at the UX Masterclass on September 20th in Montreal.

Like any interactive system, social media depends largely on effective human-computer interfaces.  In my day-to-day work as a user experience designer, I often use principles in psychology to help design interfaces which are easy to use and persuasive.  I thought it might benefit the Social Times community to provide a clear example of how a strict psychological approach can provide new perspectives to the social media landscape.  We’ll start with a summary of how psychology contributes to marketing and design, and we’ll move toward applying social psychology to a clearer understanding of how social media works (and how to _make_ social media work).

This may seem like a long article, but in order to make sure people from any background can understand, I wanted to start with the basics. Leer más “How To Design Social Media Interfaces For The Irrational Human Mind”

Who Says Money Can’t Buy You Like?

Whether for profits or popularity, the social web seems to be obsessed with celebrity and brand fan, friend and follower counts. We have (and will continue) to profile Facebook pages that have earned their high counts through clever marketing, keeping their ears to the conversations of their customers and creating great user destinations. This morning, on the other hand, we saw a press release from uSocial telling us that for Facebook fame all you need is cash.

Our sister blog, All Facebook, reported back in November that uSocial received a cease and desist from Facebook for violating the company’s terms of service for selling fans and friends. uSocial touts this — almost as a badge of honor — in today’s release; we were unable to find any official information on the order’s resolution. Another company that offered Facebook connections for a price appears to have vaporized. [Más…]

Commenting on Lady Gaga achieving 14 million fans, uSocial states, “While the pop starlet probably needs no assistance boosting her fan numbers, one company is now selling anyone the ability to achieve the same dizzying levels of stardom on Facebook, providing of course they have the cash to throw around.” It was just three weeks ago that there were several media reports of uSocial snitching on Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Barack Obama and, yes, Lady Gaga for artificially inflating their Twitter follower count. (By the way — uSocial will sell you Twitter followers, too.) There is no evidence that these allegations are true.


Posted by Neil Glassman

moneyWhether for profits or popularity, the social web seems to be obsessed with celebrity and brand fan, friend and follower counts. We have (and will continue) to profile Facebook pages that have earned their high counts through clever marketing, keeping their ears to the conversations of their customers and creating great user destinations. This morning, on the other hand, we saw a press release from uSocial telling us that for Facebook fame all you need is cash.

Our sister blog, All Facebook, reported back in November that uSocial received a cease and desist from Facebook for violating the company’s terms of service for selling fans and friends. uSocial touts this — almost as a badge of honor — in today’s release; we were unable to find any official information on the order’s resolution. Another company that offered Facebook connections for a price appears to have vaporized. Leer más “Who Says Money Can’t Buy You Like?”

In Recession, Drinking Moves from Bars to Home

Erin Ryan / Corbis

When the going gets tough, the tough, um, go drinking. That’s the word from a new Gallup poll showing that 67% of Americans are hitting the bottle, the most since 1985. Another sign of challenging economic times: more and more of those rounds are happening in the kitchen, not at the corner pub.

A new report by Mintel International, a market-research firm, shows that a growing number of Americans are guzzling down wine and spirits at home as opposed to in bars and restaurants, and many are trading down to cheaper brands as they seek fiscally conscious ways to party in a sluggish economy. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.)

“We used to say that [alcohol consumption] was recession-proof or at least recession-resilient, but the rules have changed in this recession,” says David Henkes, a vice president at Technomic, a research and consulting firm. [Más…]

Though the recession technically ended more than a year ago, high unemployment, stagnant wages, falling home prices and shrinking retirement savings have shattered consumer confidence and affected where and how much Americans imbibe, according to the Mintel report. Traffic to restaurants has plunged, with fine-dining establishments taking the biggest hit as businesses pull back on entertaining clients and consumers keep a tighter grip on their pocketbooks. (See a new generation of Mediterranean wine.)

Sales of alcoholic beverages at bars and restaurants fell 4.6% in 2009, while sales at liquor stores, supermarkets and other retailers for “at home” drinking rose 1.2%, the report said. Americans are gulping 10 drinks on average each month at home, compared with only 5.7 drinks in bars and restaurants, the report notes. (See the top 10 bad beverage ideas.)


Erin Ryan / Corbis

When the going gets tough, the tough, um, go drinking. That’s the word from a new Gallup poll showing that 67% of Americans are hitting the bottle, the most since 1985. Another sign of challenging economic times: more and more of those rounds are happening in the kitchen, not at the corner pub.

A new report by Mintel International, a market-research firm, shows that a growing number of Americans are guzzling down wine and spirits at home as opposed to in bars and restaurants, and many are trading down to cheaper brands as they seek fiscally conscious ways to party in a sluggish economy. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.)

“We used to say that [alcohol consumption] was recession-proof or at least recession-resilient, but the rules have changed in this recession,” says David Henkes, a vice president at Technomic, a research and consulting firm. Leer más “In Recession, Drinking Moves from Bars to Home”

Is There Enough Flame in the BlackBerry Torch?

Earlier today, RIM introduced the BlackBerry Torch, the company’s first smartphone to ship with BlackBerry OS 6 and perhaps more importantly RIM’s attempt to remind the world that it’s still a big player in the smartphone market.

We think it’s interesting that RIM chose to name its newest BlackBerry the “Torch” because what the BlackBerry brand has really been lacking over the last few years is heat. That is, while the iPhone and Android (Android) devices have generated tons of buzz and taken turns at being the hottest tech item of the moment, the BlackBerry has remained relatively cold. It’s clear that RIM recognizes that the BlackBerry brand doesn’t have the cachet and appeal that it once did and its betting that its new OS and slate of new devices will help turn things around.

There’s a lot to like about BlackBerry OS 6.0 and the BlackBerry Torch in general. The new form factor stays consistent with what BlackBerry users already know, but offers a full touch screen with a slide out keyboard. We think that taking design cues from the Palm Pre is a good thing because the rest of the smartphone world has embraced touch with a vengeance and the SureType keyboards on the BlackBerry Storm simply didn’t cut it. [Más…]

However, aside from physical features, we can’t help but be a little disappointed with the actual specs of the phone. Yes, it has a 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi support for 802.11n and more memory than previous devices, but the processor is still slow in comparison to the competition and the screen size and resolution seem downright trite by 2010 standards. Still, the BlackBerry has never been about being the flashiest, fastest, latest or greatest device. Ultimately, if the device and OS can remain snappy for users, the specs don’t matter.
Enough to Stop the Bleeding

Over the last few years, I’ve watched my group of friends slowly but surely transition from being BlackBerry obsessed to card-carrying iPhone or Android users. I went through the same transition myself, finally switching to an iPhone (iPhone) last year after nearly 5 years with the BlackBerry.

Why are users jumping ship? Because frankly, the BlackBerry hasn’t kept up. The e-mail and text experience might still be the best in the business, but more and more mobile usage is taking place in the browser, not the inbox. Fortunately, BlackBerry OS 6 includes a new WebKit-based web browser, a much-needed improvement.

Charles Golvin, a mobile analyst for Forrester Research, commented on the new device, “the Torch and OS6 put Research In Motion on firm competitive ground against Apple’s iPhone and the Android devices, with a touch screen plus the BlackBerry keyboard.”

In other words, this is a step in the right direction to keep current BlackBerry fans sated. However, existing users is only one part of the equation. While we doubt that even RIM actually believes that the latest OS is enough to win over Android or iPhone users, there is another arguably more important audience to tap: Non-smartphone users.

There are still millions upon millions of non-smartphone users and these users should be the ones that RIM targets. The biggest draw to a platform for consumers — aside from carrier — is largely becoming all about the number of available applications.


Earlier today, RIM introduced the BlackBerry Torch, the company’s first smartphone to ship with BlackBerry OS 6 and perhaps more importantly RIM’s attempt to remind the world that it’s still a big player in the smartphone market.

We think it’s interesting that RIM chose to name its newest BlackBerry the “Torch” because what the BlackBerry brand has really been lacking over the last few years is heat. That is, while the iPhone and Android (Android) devices have generated tons of buzz and taken turns at being the hottest tech item of the moment, the BlackBerry has remained relatively cold. It’s clear that RIM recognizes that the BlackBerry brand doesn’t have the cachet and appeal that it once did and its betting that its new OS and slate of new devices will help turn things around.

There’s a lot to like about BlackBerry OS 6.0 and the BlackBerry Torch in general. The new form factor stays consistent with what BlackBerry users already know, but offers a full touch screen with a slide out keyboard. We think that taking design cues from the Palm Pre is a good thing because the rest of the smartphone world has embraced touch with a vengeance and the SureType keyboards on the BlackBerry Storm simply didn’t cut it. Leer más “Is There Enough Flame in the BlackBerry Torch?”

Dimensionando la empresa en la web social

Una interesante entrada de Mashable, “Inside Gatorade’s social media command center“, nos da una idea del dimensionamiento que una empresa de productos de consumo da a la función de desarrollarse dentro de la web social: herramientas sofisticadas de monitorización en tiempo real desarrolladas a medida, un equipo de unas cinco personas dedicadas, información accesible desde cualquier puesto en la compañía…

Sin duda, una empresa que se ha tomado en serio la enorme pujanza de unas redes sociales que ya han desplazado a todo el resto de usos de la web en el mercado norteamericano, marcando una tendencia que sin duda se extiende al resto del mundo. El objetivo marcado para el proyecto, denominado “Mission Control” lo definen como “tomar a la mayor marca deportiva del mundo y convertirla en la marca más participativa del mundo”, y no es ni más ni menos que poner al social media como eje principal de todo el marketing de la compañía: promover la relación directa con los clientes, los atletas y los influenciadores de opinión, entrar en diálogos activos acerca de todo aquello que tenga que ver con la marca y su ecosistema, y monitorizar la actividad para destilar información al respecto. El vídeo que han creado para ilustrar el proyecto lo ilustra de manera clara y mantiene la coherencia con la comunicación habitual de la marca:

El asunto me recuerda una reciente entrada en Pop mk titulada “El Community Manager es el nuevo ‘Webmaster’. Y sigue siendo una mala idea“, en la que Ferrán desarrolla la idea de cómo las funciones sociales de una compañía no pueden ser desarrolladas por tan solo una persona, como en su momento “la página web” no podía tampoco serlo y requería de un equipo más ambicioso con funciones claramente definidas.


Una interesante entrada de Mashable, Inside Gatorade’s social media command center, nos da una idea del dimensionamiento que una empresa de productos de consumo da a la función de desarrollarse dentro de la web social: herramientas sofisticadas de monitorización en tiempo real desarrolladas a medida, un equipo de unas cinco personas dedicadas, información accesible desde cualquier puesto en la compañía…

Sin duda, una empresa que se ha tomado en serio la enorme pujanza de unas redes sociales que ya han desplazado a todo el resto de usos de la web en el mercado norteamericano, marcando una tendencia que sin duda se extiende al resto del mundo. El objetivo marcado para el proyecto, denominado “Mission Control” lo definen como “tomar a la mayor marca deportiva del mundo y convertirla en la marca más participativa del mundo”, y no es ni más ni menos que poner al social media como eje principal de todo el marketing de la compañía: promover la relación directa con los clientes, los atletas y los influenciadores de opinión, entrar en diálogos activos acerca de todo aquello que tenga que ver con la marca y su ecosistema, y monitorizar la actividad para destilar información al respecto. El vídeo que han creado para ilustrar el proyecto lo ilustra de manera clara y mantiene la coherencia con la comunicación habitual de la marca:

El asunto me recuerda una reciente entrada en Pop mk titulada “El Community Manager es el nuevo ‘Webmaster’. Y sigue siendo una mala idea“, en la que Ferrán desarrolla la idea de cómo las funciones sociales de una compañía no pueden ser desarrolladas por tan solo una persona, como en su momento “la página web” no podía tampoco serlo y requería de un equipo más ambicioso con funciones claramente definidas. Leer más “Dimensionando la empresa en la web social”

Innovation is a process of social interactions

I forgot!

Innovation is a social process that can only happen when people do that simple thing, which is surprising and deeply and that is connect with and promote the sharing of problems, opportunities and learning.

The reality of our life includes great ideas that not only develop with the passage from one silo to another silo or from room to room.

Although the generation of ideas is important, it ceases to be useful if there is not an effective process to transform inspiration into financial performance, i.e. value.

From the moment a good idea to start their trip to the market, a huge amount of connections are established repeatedly . The management of these interactions is thus the core activity of building an innovative company.

But why is innovation important?

The innovation became the key idea in shaping corporate life, helping business leaders to develop strategic options never before imagined.

When first we thought at potential acquisitions we were looking to act as a form of growth with cost reduction. With innovation we look not only to reducing costs but also as a means of accelerating earnings growth in first line and build capacity.

The innovation provides an advantage when entering new markets in a faster and more incisive way. A good example is P & G and its revitalized capacity for innovation, which allowed them to make inroads in developing markets and both will allow far greater than the growth potential in developed countries.

An environment of innovation is more productive, more agile, more comprehensive and can be more fun.

By putting innovation at the heart of the business, from top to bottom and from bottom to top , a company can improve the numbers and at the same time, find a much better way of doing things .

When innovation is nuclear in a company and in a way of doing things, it finds innovation not only in products but also in functions , logistics, processes and business models.

The best way of doing things is to create environments for people who want to be part of growth and not part of cyclical cost cutting.

This leads to say that anyone can innovate, but practically no one can innovate alone.

When a leader understand this, he can create maps, classify, measure and improve the social process to produce a steady stream of innovations.

Innovation is a journey that can be planned and repeated but this takes time and requires strong leadership. May require changes in the budget or the withdrawal of the strategy of the top priorities and necessarily require a different way of looking at the Human Resources.

It also requires an external openness in the processes of R & D and other knowledge sources.


Por jabaldaia

I forgot!

Innovation is a social process that can only happen when people do that simple thing, which is surprising and deeply and that is connect with and promote the sharing of problems, opportunities and learning.

The reality of our life includes great ideas that not only develop with the passage from one silo to another silo or from room to room.

Although the generation of ideas is important, it ceases to be useful if there is not an effective process to transform inspiration into financial performance, i.e. value.

From the moment a good idea to start their trip to the market, a huge amount of connections are established repeatedly . The management of these interactions is thus the core activity of building an innovative company.

But why is innovation important?

The innovation became the key idea in shaping corporate life, helping business leaders to develop strategic options never before imagined.

When first we thought at potential acquisitions we were looking to act as a form of growth with cost reduction. With innovation we look not only to reducing costs but also as a means of accelerating earnings growth in first line and build capacity.

The innovation provides an advantage when entering new markets in a faster and more incisive way. A good example is P & G and its revitalized capacity for innovation, which allowed them to make inroads in developing markets and both will allow far greater than the growth potential in developed countries.

An environment of innovation is more productive, more agile, more comprehensive and can be more fun.

By putting innovation at the heart of the business, from top to bottom and from bottom to top , a company can improve the numbers and at the same time, find a much better way of doing things .

When innovation is nuclear in a company and in a way of doing things, it finds innovation not only in products but also in functions , logistics, processes and business models.

The best way of doing things is to create environments for people who want to be part of growth and not part of cyclical cost cutting.

This leads to say that anyone can innovate, but practically no one can innovate alone.

When a leader understand this, he can create maps, classify, measure and improve the social process to produce a steady stream of innovations.

Innovation is a journey that can be planned and repeated but this takes time and requires strong leadership. May require changes in the budget or the withdrawal of the strategy of the top priorities and necessarily require a different way of looking at the Human Resources.

It also requires an external openness in the processes of R & D and other knowledge sources. Leer más “Innovation is a process of social interactions”

7 Days on Craigslist’s Casual Encounters

Many people use Craigslist to find roommates, cheap furniture, used cars or part-time jobs. But there’s another function: Sex.

I decided to dive into Craigslist’s (Craigslist) “Casual Encounters” — a section made for no-strings hookups — to see if any of what I assumed about that virtual place was true. Is it populated entirely by perverted sexual deviants, serial killers, prostitutes and scammers as rumors insist? Or can two regular people really make the connection that the section’s name suggests?

I should admit that I had no intention to actually hook up with someone, should the opportunity arise, if for no other reason than it would be inappropriate and manipulative to an unwitting partner to do so and write about it. But it’s not a stretch to say that even if you abstain from the goal, spending a week on Casual Encounters can teach you a lot about human beings and how the web has changed how we pursue one of our most essential and important desires.

It goes without saying that the content of this article is not intended for children or those made uncomfortable by such topics. But if you’re interested, read on for the story of my seven days on Craigslist’s Casual Encounters — my failures, near misses, discoveries, insights and successes. Following that, I interviewed two women to learn how they used the site successfully for their own fulfillment.


Many people use Craigslist to find roommates, cheap furniture, used cars or part-time jobs. But there’s another function: Sex.

I decided to dive into Craigslist’s (Craigslist) “Casual Encounters” — a section made for no-strings hookups — to see if any of what I assumed about that virtual place was true. Is it populated entirely by perverted sexual deviants, serial killers, prostitutes and scammers as rumors insist? Or can two regular people really make the connection that the section’s name suggests?

I should admit that I had no intention to actually hook up with someone, should the opportunity arise, if for no other reason than it would be inappropriate and manipulative to an unwitting partner to do so and write about it. But it’s not a stretch to say that even if you abstain from the goal, spending a week on Casual Encounters can teach you a lot about human beings and how the web has changed how we pursue one of our most essential and important desires.

It goes without saying that the content of this article is not intended for children or those made uncomfortable by such topics. But if you’re interested, read on for the story of my seven days on Craigslist’s Casual Encounters — my failures, near misses, discoveries, insights and successes. Following that, I interviewed two women to learn how they used the site successfully for their own fulfillment.


The Experiment Leer más “7 Days on Craigslist’s Casual Encounters”