“I like” & Facebook or “WiTuN”

I like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and many more …

I constantly hear sentences like…

“… all those Facebook and twitter affairs are evil … personally, I absolutely boycott social media … virtual friendships are rubbish, because you have to see each other face-to-face, anyway… and worst of all is, after all, this stupid: I like!”

… from persons who are otherwise basically to be taken quite seriously. I mean people who climb into their cars and drive off at high speed or go back to watching TV – which means they actually use technology that used to be quite modern and relevant.

I prefer to keep quiet on hearing their comments. After all, I know that any and all of my attempts at explaining things (social media) to them is totally useless. There is nothing you can ever do about dogmatic know-all manners, especially if those know-alls do not even know what they are talking about and consequently cannot understand it. This is actually true in general.

In the last ifcamp (barcamp at InterFace) on our BlueFriday (of March, 22nd, 2013), I introduced one “knowledge management” session. It was about how we can set knowledge free and then share it. In order to then evaluate it together and identify what is relevant. With the goal of finding the right and probably better decisions for the future from the “crowd”.

In the course of our discussion, the Facebook phrase “I like” also came up. And we concluded that this is probably a first and extremely simple tool for social feedback. You can use it if you want to show people that you like something. Or that you appreciate them. Or that you simply are sympathetic. …

During the session, we came to the mutual conclusion that there is a need for a refined and neutral “feedback technology” for applications intent on using the crowd and the good social web. For these systems, this would be an absolute necessity. Without this technology, these kinds of projects cannot succeed.

We spontaneously found ways to improve on “I like”. Here are some examples.

  • Give a limited number of “I like”-s to each participant;
  • Assign a certain amount of them each month;
  • The participants get dynamically more “feedback units” as the social relevance increases, perhaps similar to klout;
  • Or maybe there could be something like a “Page-Rank” for members of a social system;
  • It might also be a good idea to introduce “feedback units” with different weightiness…

In a nutshell: I believe the “feedback technology” is a very important and central component of all kinds of crowd and social web applications. But this is not at all a trivial topic; it is well worth dealing with in great detail. I am sure there is also a considerable number of scientific works with good ideas which one might be well advised to take a closer look at.

Here is an example from another field that surprised me:
I like writing in stenography. So I had this idea that the technology of “writing quickly and ergonomically (instead of tense) by hand” – which has been developed and perfected over hundreds of years – could be used for text processing on tablets or with gesture-controlled systems. And then there was a friend of mine who works among the Academia who found it a wonderful bachelor theses topic, so it was very thoroughly analysed.

So – let us get under way;
Let Us Share Knowledge – and Use It!

(Translated by EG)

This article does not suggest that I find everything Facebook or Twitter does agreeable. If, for instance, I will notice certain tendencies towards tampering with “social metrics” at Facebook, you will have seen the last of me there sooner than you might have imagined.    
But such a turn of events at FB will not change my opinion that social networks and shared knowledge applications mean social progress. In fact, it would be one more reason to rekindle the old philosophical and ethical discussion: how can we get to a stage where the production of articles and services will be done decently? After all is said and done, this will again end up in a discussion about privatization or the social responsibility of those who own all the production goods.

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