DandyID: Humanizing Social Media
By Sara Czyzewicz
Sara Czyzewicz is a passionate technologist, spending the past 10 years in research, conception, and development of mobile, web, and prototypical systems – from a "mood therapy" cell phone application to motion-sensing installations. As Co-Founder of DandyID.org, Sara is currently pursuing methods for identity management on the social web. She and fellow Co-Founder Arron Kallenberg will be presenting at the Providence Geeks Dinner on Wednesday Nov. 19th 5:30-9pm. Details and RSVP here.
Humans, social by nature, are both individuals and they are members of groups. Humans create complex social structures and utilize systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. [wikipedia]
This uniqueness of social media in contrast to real life is of great importance to fields including Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Usability and Artificial Intelligence. While humans evolve in our own understanding and co-existence with technology, efforts continue in parallel for designing technology as "user centric" and human intuitive systems.
Let's consider user centric design in social media specifically…
Social media enables humans to share and discuss information amongst each other, much like in real life. Using social media tools, humans can discover and identify "friends", share digital photos, congregate in "virtual" meetings, own "virtual" homes with purchased furniture, chat with others, portray emotions (emoticons). Social media doesn't replicate real life entirely, but to the extent that it does is still quite amazing - and the number of humans engaged with these "virtual" experiences is momentous.
In what ways, then, is social media needing further user-centric developments?
We've found one particular area in need - identity. We are DandyID (www.dandyid.org) and our team is working towards a more intuitive model for sharing your identity on social media.
As a human, in real life your identity remains with you and thus exists wherever you go. In social media however, your identity is typically undefined where you go until manually communicated, repeatedly, and then exists as fixed. For example, many social media destinations ask users to create a 'profile' before using the site. This 'profile' will serve as your 'identity' for that site. You may enter another 'profile' with another site… and another, and another. These 'profiles' may each differ slightly but in essence attempt to portray who you are; unfortunately they exist separate and fixed.
DandyID proposes another option. Enter your profile and identity information once and let it follow you amongst your social media travels. Manage it in one place, and it remains up-to-date everywhere else. To see how we're doing this, visit our blog at http://blog.dandyid.org or jump in and sign up at http://www.dandyid.org/
In what ways do you think social media needs further user-centric developments?
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