Monday, January 28, 2008

The Realm of Sociality: Notes on the Design of Social Software

I'm not a social software designer. But this paper is really insightful! It titled: "The Realm of Sociality: Notes on the Design of Social Software" by Wim Bouman, Tim Hoogenboom, Rene Jansen, Mark Schoondorp, Bolke de Bruin & Ard Huizing. It won the ICIS 2007 best paper award.

In short, it's a model to support social software design. The design of social software "is a multidimensional problem that streches beyond connecting people and information." They "hypothesis that, in order to create social software, a designer has to address in one way or the other all issues of enabling practice, mimicking reality, building identity and actualzing self." Using a "soft systems methodology approach" the ended up with "A Conceptual Model for Social Software" (refer to Figure). This then resulted in "A Design Framework for Social Software". Again, I'm not a social software designer. But what struck me when I read this paper is that this can also be used to judge social software and analyze if the new application is any good. I'm not saying that all domains must be incorporated in social software (- which is possible future research, according to the conclusions of this paper). But the domains can be used to structurally evaluate the components of a new social software tool.


  1. Hi,

    I like your suggestion of using the Realms model for judging (evaluating) social software .

    Any specific houghts on that subject?


    Wim Bouman

  2. Hi Wim, Thanks for you comment. Specific thoughts? Well, for instance, you're looking for a social networking tool. You have list of needs/requirements. You select a couple of tools, like Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn and use your model to evaluate them. You now have a good overview of the strengths and weaknesses of each tool and don't run into them while your using them (as most of us experience now).

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