Jun 22 2007

The difference between software design and use

Guy Nadivi of http://www.intronetworks.com made some interesting comments on my post about his company’s software in an email. It’s really messy to take comments out of an email in MS Outlook at put them into a posting in Word Press, but I thought they were so interesting I’d quote them here with his permission. His comments are in red, and my original statements are in black:

When I first logged on I was somewhat put off by having to complete yet another profile. Isn’t there a way to bring profile stuff in from somewhere else? Yes, in fact we do it all the time. However, there was no registration database to integrate with this time, so attendees were left with no option but to manually input their profile information. And after the conference, is there anyway to carry the profile forward? Yes, but only if the destination you want to carry it forward to is willing to accept the data. And what about sharing my profile with the rest of the world? If by “rest of the world” you mean other social networks, unfortunately that’s not feasible at this time as there is no“profile standard” everyone adheres to. BTW – the vast majority of our deployments are for private communities where almost everyone would prefer to keep their profile information just that, private. Yours might be the first request we’ve ever gotten for sharing profile data. I wonder whether the business model for the software company favors captive content and hermetic boundaries where openness may be more useful socially. Our business model favors deploying as many instances of introNetworks as possible. Whether the data is private or public has no impact on our bottom line.

Each of the main Instant Messenger types are listed separately (AOL IM is separate from Yahoo IM which is also separate from MSN): what about Trillian users, who can speak to all three?). Maybe Trillian should have been added during the configuration phase of the deployment. Nevertheless, a Trillian user would still know whether they’re connecting to someone on AOL, Yahoo, or MSN, right? As I’ve thought about the tag categories it seems to me that push-back and complaints such as this one are an indicator of engagement. We appreciate constructive feedback of any type.

Although it’s conventional to put “me” at the center, I know that in reality it’s not the case. Actually, that is the case. We are providing you with what we call an “ego-centric” perspective of this community. The pins represent a view of that community with you as THE central reference point. There are others who are at the center of this particular conference, but IntroNetworks lies and tells me that it’s “me” that’s at the center. “Lies” is not only inaccurate, but a bit harsh. Again, we’re showing you an ego-centric perspective of this community as you relate to it, or as it relates to you if you prefer. When someone else logs in, they see the same thing as it pertains to them. We’re not “lying”. We’re simply showing a “you-driven” view of things. I wonder whether it would be more productive to find and show some “us” and “them”? Please note that the legend in the lower right is “active” and allows you to quickly narrow down to any of the constituencies with one-click. Additionally, the Search, Build Advanced Search, and Filter Search Results panels on the left offer a number of ways to find and show whoever you want to see in the community with the greatest of ease. I guess that’s what the “Discipline” and “research interests” tags are really trying to do: get at personal history and participation in specific, learned communities.

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