Lift11: Chris Heathcote, The invisible communities [en]

[fr] Notes de la conférence Lift11 à Genève.

Live and India-lagged notes from the Lift11 Conference in Geneva. Might contain errors and personal opinions. Use the comments if you spot nasty errors.

Communities that aren’t Facebook!

History of the internet is a history of community.

Usenet, for example. Let people talk about stuff they were interested in with anybody in the world. Very well-designed.

Mailing-lists. Used in academia a lot to collaborate for the first time.

As usenet slowly died and turned into a place where you can download pirated movies, web forums took up. Vbulletin, phpBB & discuz. Huge part of the internet, way bigger than Tumblr etc. But nobody talks about them anymore.

On the web, but often invisible. Sometimes Google can’t see them, so they don’t exist to us.

Chris is seeing a lot more communities like this, for example community game-playing in Japan. 22 mio users (2 communities) — maybe the reason Facebook isn’t taking off in Japan. Pseudonyms and important life/persona separation, stark contrast with the over-sharing identified user that Facebook wants.

Korean messaging apps. Hugely popular, but the community is completely in-app.

Image-sharing: Instagram for example — you see the pics on the web, but all the rest is only in-app, and it feels private because it’s on your phone. Other example: Path.

All of these things are of the Internet, but not of the Web.

Unexpected communities: Grindr.

Gay dating application. No login, your physical phone is your identity. You just see the photos of the 100 nearest people. Works well, compare to Gaydar where you probably never get past the first screen because you’ve forgotten your password. Grindr is very limited!

A community despite its original intentions. People are using it just to chat. Designed to minimize the time between seeing the person on Grindr and actual physical meetup, but people just use it to chat. Excellent: map of gathered weight of people on Grindr one Saturday night per London tube station. Interesting: in Grindr profiles, lots of Ping! identities.

Even dating becomes a community.

Gaydar: started as a web dating site but is now much more. Has its own radio station. Website larger than Tesco’s in the UK!

How do you get people to come back? We’re lucky, people love talking about everything and anything. Go where the people are.

If you have people doing something, you might want to add community features so they can talk.

And in many cases, don’t use Facebook Connect or Twitter login, people don’t necessarily want to tie their identity to everything they do. Don’t connect identities.

Let people to talk both in private and in public.

Moderate with personality. Moderation is really key. Passionate and interested moderators that are real people and not Google Groups moderators.

Watch what’s happening. Not every site has sociologist going through their data.

“Get them to like each other” (Rushkoff) Don’t look to monetize. Look to foster connexions between people, and let them go about their business. *steph-note: hmm, this is kind of how I roll*

  • people like to talk
  • whatever you build will be used to communicate
  • more than one identity
  • public, semi-public and private conversations
  • watch what’s happening
  • let people like each other

4chan tries to rule the world by taking down whole countries, etc — they need somewhere to organize…

One of the cool things about usenet was that there was a master list of groups. That doesn’t exist anymore. Google Groups is a great chance to try and make sense of all this, but Google dropped the ball.

Could we imagine a Facebook competitor based on the fact you have a fake identity, asks Laurent? *steph-note: connexions are limited with a fake identity — if you connect to too many people who know you it breaks down*

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