Theory re User Experience's Impact on Human Interactions
August 11, 2017 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm curious how various social media platform's feature sets contribute to how users communicate. I want to learn how structural decisions create different cultural experiences. What search terms do I use to find the theory in this area? Is it in computer science? Is this what community managers talk about over drinks?

I'm not looking for more info about Twitter, per se, but these two Twitter examples are the sort of insights I want to learn about

ntk right here this week on the blue
Like many platforms, Twitter's problem is with internal incentives, not some sort of political stance. Their metrics are driven by "engagement", and harassment looks like engagement under those metrics.
Dreamwidth's co-founder, Denise Paolucci, ruminates at her site
Twitter-style harassment is almost entirely down to the fact that it's a many-to-one relationship, not a one-to-many relationship the way DW is.

You make one tweet; many people can yell at you (and encourage others to yell at you). This tends to make disagreement performative: at least part of the reason why the level of discourse is so often awful on Twitter is because it's so easy to perform disagreement loudly to all your readers (who then go and perform their own disagreement) in such a way that the person you're disagreeing with is almost guaranteed to see every last tweet.
posted by Jesse the K to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I believe the word you want to google is "affordances."
posted by praemunire at 11:10 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


You could look for work by danah boyd relating to this -- social networking is her area of focus.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:16 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


This is totally what community managers talk about over drinks, although I haven't seen any good essays on the topic. (Although I need to put writing one on my to-do list...) You might do better looking for essays on specific features - upvoting, for example, has had considerable discussion in the past (I think cortex has actually written very cogently on it here at Metafilter, if I remember correctly) and this discussion at Makinglight is about an article about community feedback and upvoting. (Makinglight is a place where community managers tend to talk shop, but it's not easily searchable - worth plugging it into google with some relevant terms, though! Don't skip the comments.)

Search terms that I'd start with - upvoting, threaded vs. unthreaded, barriers to entry. Hmm. It's a very good question, and later tonight I'll do some more digging.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:18 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I studied technical communication in college and we had some discussions related to this, so if you have access to journals like Technical Communication Quarterly it wouldn't surprise me if there were discussions on this issue. I can't think offhand of what keywords I would use - it's not quite in the wheelhouse of "human-computer interaction" (which in my experience was more about usability) but it might be adjacent.
posted by Kortney at 11:23 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


This is a great question, by the way. I suspect that going down the route of "limiting harrassment through design" might also be a useful path to take. The story of Nextdoor and their incident report form change seems like the kind of thing you're looking for (maybe) but more general.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:35 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]




I was coming in here to say danah boyd. But 'participatory features' is another keyword you might want.
posted by lollusc at 12:38 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Some colleagues of mine (in information science) do research in this area.
You might look at "values in information design" as one of your terms.

Here is a recent paper they produced, Learning from Elitist Jerks, that might be helpful.
posted by pantarei70 at 1:32 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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