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HCI Considerations for Managing Social Media (03 Mar 2006)
Have you spent time with a typical computer user, asked them how their computer works, how the internet works, how their browser works, how email works? Have you seen how concerned they become when you fill out their mental model of these systems? What does it take to build a social software system that actually works the way you would want it to work?

imeem is an instant messenger that combines new ideas in peer based architecture, distributed database design and social networking. The system was designed with three goals:

give people a spectrum of privacy choices that they have complete control over
remove arbitrary limits on what people choose to share with each other
if you explain how it works to people, they would still use it
We also wanted to answer a basic question:

- what does it take to create social software that is sticky?

This talk will discuss how a company itself can be an HCI statement, from the choice of technologies, to the data model design, to resource usage strategies, to the vision of a long term partnership with every imeem user.

peer technology makes it possible to model privacy as a distance metric, i.e., how far does your data migrate from your system

an embedded relational DB at every client enables a data model that certifies every data item's provenance, privacy level, and search rank

paradoxically, you can't use cpu/disk/network resources when users are idle because that is inextricably associated with spyware now

social software can't be good without good privacy statements, user agreements and design for the long term

social software needs to embody natural social mechanisms for it to truly work and bring us towards an online society.
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