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Author Topic: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.  (Read 19700 times)
Paul Keith
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« on: October 18, 2011, 02:02:35 AM »


Not alot of content but interesting premise. The notable tidbits (entire text below is from the article):

http://www.nikkichau.com/...igning-up-maslow-pyramid/

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The outpouring of love for Steve Jobs over the past couple days is summed up by Techcrunch writer John Biggs: “Apple and Jobs brought something to technology that it didn’t have before he began – irrationality.”

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But should we really characterize the intense consumer devotion to the iPhone as an addiction? A recent experiment that I carried out using neuroimaging technology suggests that drug-related terms like “addiction” and “fix” aren’t as scientifically accurate as a word we use to describe our most cherished personal relationships. That word is “love.” – Martin Lindstrom

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Apple has aggressively worked on accessibility for users who are blind or deaf or have other limitations, an effort that makes no “business sense” but surely makes human sense if you read that or any of the countless other articles about what a boon the iPhone has been to the blind.

Here’s my take: people love their Apple products, so they love the person(s) making it possible. Beyond word processing and making spreadsheets, they have an emotional connection to their devices. But don’t take my words for it. It turned out through neuroimaging that You Love Your iPhone. Literally.

My questions: What are examples of products in each of Maslow’s level? What do they do? What are their characteristics? What works? What doesn’t work? Most importantly, how do we design to serve up the pyramid, all the way to the Self-Actualization level?
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IainB
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 07:00:54 AM »

Well, whilst this might sound like "a great idea", it might not be such a great idea in practice for two reasons at least.

In the first place: "gamification" is just another bullsh*t bingo buzzword. - i.e., it sounds great, but it means nothing except maybe what you want it to (per Tweedledum and Tweedledee), and so lacks definition and is ambiguous. Thus, when used in a rational argument it can contribute to invalidating the argument, so it is a probably a piece of BS best avoided if when attempting to make a rational argument or make some clear communication.

In the second place: even if you avoid the BS and thus risky word "gamification", in business terms there could be a great deal of risk involved for any business attempting to base a marketing strategy on "Maslow’s Pyramid" as a market model.

The latter would be because Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an imaginary thing. It is an artificial theoretical construct in the domain of psychology and apparently is still not necessarily substantiated by any scientific research/proof (since 1943). In fact, the reverse would seem to be the case - i.e., the validity of the theory has apparently been brought into question by some research.

It would therefore seem as though no rational basis exists for believing that Maslow's HON bears much of relevance to actual human buying behaviours.

However, one thing that is certain about buying behaviour is that it is irrational, which is why some of the most successful marketing works - it manipulates people at a deep subconcious level - e.g., you might buy an Apple iPhone or an iPad because (say) you just "like" it or believe it is "just great technology" or worship Steve Jobs/Apple, or all of these things, and then you might only later try to rationalise your decision to buy it.

This would seem to have more to do with people's apparent capacity for irrational belief  - e.g., religion: in an imaginary invisible supreme being - than it does with getting something that supports their imagined (QED) "hierarchy of needs", unless of course you consider that maybe we might all need to believe in imaginary things - e.g., such as fairies (hat tip to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Having said this, there is nothing necessarily wrong in irrationally buying something - e.g., if for no other reason than because you like it. It is quite human! For example, I bought the car I have today because, of the various options I could afford at the time, I really liked this one a lot more than the others. The buying clincher was that I could negotiate a significant extra trade-in discount from the dealer (cost is always a major deciding factor for me).
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40hz
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 08:07:37 AM »

It's my understanding that motivational models may have relevance when it comes to encouraging category purchasing behaviors. Such as deciding whether to redecorate a home or go on an extended vacation. But they have not been all that effective in predicting or motivating a specific behavior within a category.

Basically that's saying you can lead a thirsty horse to the water - but you can't make him order a Dr. Pepper. smiley

A lot of papers came out in the late 70s that got into that since it was a time when much of Mallow's work was being openly questioned. One representative example can be found here. The study that started the ball rolling was some research done by Mahmoud Ahmed Wahba and Lawrence Gail Bridwelland who authored a paper entitled Maslow reconsidered: a review of research on the need hierarchy theory. That's the one I read for my behavioral psych course. (I did a search, hoping to find a copy up on the web. Unfortunately, it will cost you about $42 to get a PDF since the paper's text is not available online.)

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One more thing: Am I crazy for thinking about this in product design?

Maybe Nikki Chau could better answer her own question if she did a tiny bit of scholarly research and perhaps a little bit less meditating on the subject?

Because right now it seems that question is equivalent to asking if it's crazy trying to use a paint brush to drive a screw.

------

+1 w/IainB on "gamification." Ugly construct that word is. Especially when, in the context it's being used in, you could just as easily have said 'manipulation.'
 Cool
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 01:21:07 PM by 40hz; Reason: spelling » Logged

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IainB
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 10:38:39 AM »

Quote
One more thing: Am I crazy for thinking about this in product design?

Maybe Nikki Chau could better answer her own question if she did a tiny bit of scholarly research and perhaps a little bit less meditating on the subject?

Because right now it seems that question is equivalent to asking if it's crazy trying to use a paint brush to drive a screw.

It seems to me that Nikki Chau is not crazy, just normally irrational - and possibly a tad lazy as well, intellectually, for apparently not doing the (any?) necessary research.
I suspect that she might not in fact be able to better answer her own question - even if she had done some research and less meditating.

It is generally true that we think with what we know, and we use language (one of the things we know) to articulate that thinking and communicate it. If you don't know all that much (not done the research) and if you use use poorly-defined or ambiguous terminology both to think with and to communicate that thinking, then you are likely to end up with the sort of sloppy/muddled thinking that seems to be in evidence in Nikki Chau's article - i.e., it is half-baked.

The analogy of trying to use a paint brush to drive a screw conjours up an amusing image, but it's probably not precise enough. A paintbrush is at least a tangible, concrete thing, whereas the idea of using Maslow's hierarchy of needs to drive product design would akin to using an abstract (intangible figment) of our imagination as a screw driver - Telekinesis anyone?

In my book, the potential for critical thinking of anyone who would blog about yoga is arguably suspect anyway.
Excuse me whilst I go and practice my yogic flying.
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 01:38:36 PM »

Lol, you guys made so many great points it's hard to know where to begin.

I can't really speak for Nikki obviously but as I'm also one of those who refer to Maslow's hierarchy of needs loosely in my own writing, I think what makes it so appealing to refer to that concept is not so much the existence of the hierarchy itself but the final step of self-actualization which depending on how you interpret it has elements of buzz and manipulation to it too.

In many ways both self-actualization and gamification has elements to it that make it both buzz words and yet "above buzz words compared to most buzz words".

Two examples of these types of words are Apple and social media.

Almost everyone has their opinion on Apple here already and I really don't want to touch this because I'm not really an Apple fan so let's go with social media.

If you look at social media, it almost started hand in hand with the buzz word of Web 2.0. One thing was different in the two words though. Web 2.0's legacy is what exactly? No one really knows. What is social media's legacy on the other hand? It boosted the discovery of news on the internet and made it easier to consume. You could say the latter didn't have any direct impact but while I do feel Digg was overrated, it's hard to deny Digg's presence in influencing Reddit and other voting services which in turn resulted in things like Twitter and Facebook "Like" buttons as stuff like social media sharing buttons spread around the concept is what then boosted the motivation to develop such concepts as social curation and cross-sharing further than what designers and coders would have intended.

In many ways, this I think was the heart of the blogger's post. Yes, she could have done her research but I think at the same time, if she had done her research, it would simply have led her to omit mentioning Maslow's hierarchy of needs at all.

It even applies to marketing. In my opinion there's two overlaying definition of marketing. One marketing is the attempt of making lesser products look, sound, feel better beyond the capabilities of aesthetic design. This is the manipulation part. Especially the math aspect which goes into lengths to profile people as habitual yet easily predictable by statistics species. The other marketing though is the attempt at making an overlooked product become more looked upon by connecting it with people's needs.

In my opinion the great companies corporations often mix these two and Apple is no exception. Even if there were some questions to Apple's marketing earlier on, the latter history of Apple cannot be denied for popularizing and revitalizing the portable music market and the tablet/ppc market.

Which goes back to the heart of what the blogger posted. Even if Maslow's theory is less of a theory and more of a hypothesis, what makes the writer's post notable is that she did not say let's design "around" Maslow's theory but rather let's design "up". Up again involving the wording of self-actualization which Wikipedia quotes as:

"the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."

Does this sound like a call to manipulate people? I feel so. Especially when she's calling for consumer products to be the equivalent of what fulfills the identity of a person in it's most upmost peak and equating it with feelings. The problem though is this: many people are already manipulated.

If the internet goes down, there are people like me who feel taken out of our realities. If our favorite software breaks, many people would emotionally feel something cast down upon them whether it's anger or frustration or depression regardless of how momentary. And it exists because even without marketing, what are the goals of a designer? What are the goals of a coder? Many of those elements overlap with the goals of marketing especially when it comes to user interface design. In fact, often times it's worse. The lack of marketing is what leads cultures like many Linux distroes to simply offer a Mac looking product if it's what's consider aesthetically appealing. Then if a netbook design comes out and becomes popular, there's a Linux based design optimized for netbooks. (Which is really just saying they have big and bulgy icons)

Which leads us back to the buzz words. Yes, gamification is bad. Especially the Zynga kind. At the same time, prior to gamification, few services even dabbled in gamification. The ones that do, people often delegate to such popular services that the future designers try to "copy" or "plagiarize" from those services the design rather than offer up a concept that applies to the heart of why those designs work. Take Gmail's star and "labelling" or take Twitter's "follow" button or take Facebook's "collect your friend" concept. These preluded gamification's popularity but at the same time these are the origins for what would make the buzz word more than a buzz word.

Finally, this is at the heart in my opinion of anything that tries to say "design up". Ignorant or not, this is akin to a customer saying "Please I don't know why I want this but there's something about this that I want. Please try to do something about it even though I don't know what it is." In a scenario such as this, the customer is the one asking to be manipulated. But maybe you don't want people like Nikki to be your customer. Especially as freeware and donationware doesn't have customers but rather have users. The problem with this statement though is that most of the freeware/donationware coders either then wonder why people use or know their products less which then makes them turn around and be happy that a manipulative media like a popular blog would then blog and advertise that their program exists. The culture then tries to eat their own cake and have it too and opts instead to try cheaper copies of already popular software and then it's the Apple that then gets people to pay attention and then if there's enough demand, the designers then tries to go around their perspectives by trying to design a software that may not copy Apple's look and feel but which they then would try to offer on the Iphone or the Android. Why? Because they either eventually hop over or they get accused of not taking their userbase' needs into consideration. Needs that by then have validly move towards less marketing or user interface models and into things like a coder simply making a software available on the most used operating system. This doesn't mean that the flaws of gamification and Maslow can't be a topic especially since a writer brought it into the forefront - but at the same time, why not go further? Why not criticize what the writer got wrong but also set things straight on how to help the topic maker reach their needs while pointing out how it doesn't even need Maslow or gamification or how it's already been done and how it can be done? Of course I'm not demanding anything. Nope. This isn't even a request. Just adding my own input to why this flawed article is still interesting and why the quotes have notable tidbits.

As far as the paint brush and the screw analogy goes, it falls apart because the writer is not talking about working or building on an object but building up to an object. It'd be more like a basic question on how we can improve both the design of the paint brush and the screw so that more people would understand the history and the needs and the origins of the different terminologies behind tasks surrounding those tools without having to hope to know a screw or paint brush expert. Especially people who simply want to get on with their lives and paint or screw something. If you then notice, the optimal solution to this problem ends up being far different from the premise of a problem. In both the screw and the paint brush dilemma, the web developers who built the technology behind a wiki and whoever was responsible for popularizing Wikipedia to people who then know about the details behind each screw and each paint brush ends up delivering the more optimized need rather than the carpenter who looks down upon a fool using a paint brush as a screw. Not that you need Wikipedia nor is Wikipedia the best source for information on the internet for screws and paintbrushes. It's application as an introduction to everything simply manipulates most user to use the pages in it as their priority much as many manipulate themselves into buying into the first few SEO'd pages on the subject less they know of a screw or paint brush expert.

Edit: Damn it! I just realize I could have shortened my reply by simply referencing back to how a "personal desktop computer" was once merely a buzz word too. So sorry about this.
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IainB
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2011, 03:21:09 AM »

At the risk of expending more of my cognitive surplus than I would usually like to expend on discussing something as daft as what a writer might have meant in a post where she apparently may not have understood what she meant herself in the first place:

There seems to be a great deal of material in published form and on the internet relating to the idea of the alignment of design with Maslow’s theoretical 5-level hierarchy of needs - e.g., there is the book "Maslow, Sustainability and Design Like You Give a Damn" by Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr. It's probably mostly BS unless you operate on an assumption along the lines (for example) that architects have forgotton that housing is intended to provide secure, healthy and cost-efficient human habitation with protection from the elements - i.e., things that could align with Maslow's hierarchy, never mind building regulations.
A lot of this material seems to be what some bloggers and news-agencies refer to as "t*rd-eating", where you take someone else's publication, idea or post, re-digest it and regurgitate it with your flavour - it's a form of plagiarism, but I suppose that it at least fills some whitespace with print, gets discussion going on your blog and might keep the hits coming.

So, where Nikki Chau says:
Quote
One more thing: Am I crazy for thinking about this in product design?
- she may be being disingenuous in an attempt to conceal her plagiarism. Of course that's not very likely. (Yeah, right.)

In any event, I took the term "Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid" to refer to the idea of product design being applied to the categories in "Maslow’s Pyramid", in an upwards direction - i.e., from bottom to top, where "Self-actualisation" is the topmost category in the hierarchy of needs. Whilst I would give Nikki Chau an "F" for the post if it were an essay intended to display good research and critical thinking, I would not throw out the baby with the bathwater. The (plagiarised?) idea is at least still interesting in itself, and it has some merit in that marketing theory, models and practice address the market needs first and foremost. This is different to the old producer-led model of pumping out products to unsophisticated markets regardless of what the consumers might have wanted or thought they needed.
For example:
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"You can have any color Ford you want as long as it's black."

The other thing that you can do with good marketing is create a market by creating a need where there was none before. This is the quintessential Holy Grail of marketing.
Typical examples might be: the Apple iPad; off-road SUVs; Philip Morris International selling Marlboro cigarettes to children in Indonesia and other blighted third-world countries; drug barons, drug cartels and pharmaceutical companies are doing this sort of thing all the time in most Western and third-world countries. It's good for business.

Maslow’s theoretical 5-level hierarchy of needs:
1.0 Self-actualisation
     1.0.1 Esteem
          1.0.1.1 Love/belonging
               1.0.1.1.1 Safety
                    1.0.1.1.1. Physiological

I have drawn it as a linear hierarchy of parent/child categories, to illustrate that it would be unlikely in Maslow's model for an individual with D-needs ("Deficiency needs") to address (say) meeting the need for self-actualisation, without first having progressed through the lower levels - especially meeting the basic physiological needs of food and shelter.
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Wikipedia: Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs.

However, the theory suggests that a person with B-needs ("Being needs") could be an exception to the above, being "metamotivated" and would have the potential to transcend the four base categories so as to arrive at the 5th category. If this sort of ideal seems familiar, it might be because you spotted it in Heaven's Gate:
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Hop on that spaceship tailing the Hale-Bopp asteroid with me baby, and we'll transcend humanity together - it's the last bus outta here!
Irrational religious belief and wish-fulfillment.

Some people might suggest that an implication of Maslow's hierarchy is that theoretically it could be be unlikely for a homeless person to achieve self-actualisation. However, some Indian Hindu fakirs might be able to show them otherwise, so maybe the fakirs are "metamotivated" or the theory is bunkum.
"Metamotivated" is arguably BS anyway, but we'd probably all like to feel that we were thusly motivated, because, heck - it sounds great, and much more important than being just "motivated".
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I'm metamotivated baby!
(Sounds like something from the drugged sixties that Austin Powers would have said.)

The good news is that some rational psychological studies have found some interesting evidence that people seem to be motivated differently along a spectrum of exogenous to endogenous - e.g., there are those who address life's problems with a strong locus of internal control (endogenous), and those who have a weak locus of internal control and who thus expect problem-solving to be exogenous. There is a thing called a "miner sentence completion test" that discovers where an individual fits on the spectrum.
Having a strong locus of internal control merely means that one accepts a degree of responsibility for what happens to oneself and for what one does about it - e.g., addressing/resolving any of life's problems.

One of the great things about this theory of Maslow's was that it provided what was a completely new (in 1943) concept - an artificial framework of reference - with which to think about and try to better understand the human condition.
It is therefore a potentially useful thinking tool, and IMHO one not to be sniffed at if we value the process of thinking critically about our existence or purpose.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a preponderance of BS spouted on the subject. I hope I haven't contributed to the heap.
Excuse me, I must stop here as I see that I have self-actualised all over the carpet, and my wife wants me to clean it up.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 03:31:45 AM by IainB » Logged
Paul Keith
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2011, 10:35:50 PM »

I don't know much about the specifics of marketing theory but I did chance upon an assertion that marketing cannot create needs where there was none.

That said, I don't find your statement incorrect at all especially as you did specifically say "where there was none before".

That's kind of the controversial thing about marketing though. The two aspects don't always align.

One aspect treats marketing like developing cult-inducing media. The other aspect insists that there must be a need in there in order for a marketer to be able to do something about it.

When you combine this with concepts that do provide things where there was none before such as tech and then the aspects of tech that involve designing for ease and usability...and then those aspects, once performed well along with marketing, enabling a new form of demand to surface... it's simply tough to discredit the power of buzz as there's a finite amount of capable developers and even more finite amount of developers willing to go for the grain of usability that is married to developing original software that words such as gamification, intentional or unintentional, simply have their influence on the culture in general regardless whether it is based on hate or not. It influences direction and thankfully, often direction where people copy less used concepts rather than many of the older rehashed designs.

In some ways, the same can be said for turd eating. Even if we take away the aspect of essay writing or research into the equation: Blogosphere + Wikipedia crowd = massive turd eating. It's almost a necessity. Much as a blogger must add pictures to his texts and make it both SEO and reader friendly, people do simply take simple models like Maslow's theory and insert it into making a statement in the hopes that bringing something like that up is what will get people to talk about it. This is regardless of whether they have thought through what they were writing.

Yet, at the same, you have a scenario here where once you expand on the fallacious concept of Maslow - you simply build the case for it.

In this case, your latter post falls apart in that you try to simply tackle Maslow and why it's false with an analogy that doesn't address the designer request the author was saying. This designer request, if we were to simply view it as a designer request, ignores both 1.0.1.1.1 simply for the fact that this post is not talking about hardware or software security and that the author is aiming this more at the usability criteria when she says one has to build up to Maslow.

Treating her statement as merely a focus towards desktop or desktop-like (ex. tablet OSs, hardware ease of use design) needs then even though Maslow's assumption is flawed, it's not quite flawed when one is thinking of product design especially as even technical minded people decry upon buggy and unsafe software. In this scenario, physiology and safety are already demanded by software and hardware consumers. Building up love and belonging is then due to a product being so good that we get used to living with it and feel more euphoric living with it. (Example: the internet as it's layed out and presented today by modern browsers along with easier to register and start with online services)

In such a model, the call to build up something towards Maslow's model could simply be seen as desiring for better product design.

...but where one is often at a loss when trying to describe a product that is as usable as Apple to an Apple fanatic but is at the same time, not an Apple clone but an entirely new and different way of usability and comfort all together... this author simply hides behind Maslow's model to simplify such request.

Of course the controversy then is that many people view products with emotional connections as often being based on marketing and cult-making designs. The problem here is that even if we take away the marketing, can anyone of us really say it's so easy to reject not playing a gaming console with zero marketing with all it's games available inside our house for free even though it's all just some paper taped on the box to tell you what the names of the games are? I doubt it.

Well that's Ipads, off-road SUVs, cigarettes too. More importantly, often times, people claim the way to cure them of those addictive products is another addictive design. In such a scenario, is it then so wrong to desire addictive products especially more made for casual or niche needs software such as MS Office alternatives, Tablet PCs, mp3 players, online services, etc? I leave this up to the reader.

However, is the pursuit for addictive design so negative consider the success of the Ipod design as being what got other enablers to provide more "better" alternatives than the previous status quo?

The list goes on and on.

Without the demand for the OLPC, there's no netbook market.

Without Web 2.0 buzzword, there's less attempt at people trying to fill up the tag of being one of the top Web 2.0 services.

Without gamification, would people consider looking at games for reference on what design motivates and makes designs more usable?

Even in games, it wasn't until when technology got good enough with the PS2 and Dreamcast and X-box, that we start seeing developers adding rpg concepts on other genres in bulk even though DOS games prove that it could work and worked wonderfully at making games actually be more fun. Yet few did it until some mainstream thing got so popular, people re-copied it even though their take may not be as good.

...And esteem and self-actualization, whether we like it or not drives our humanity.

People go on to be artists upon being inspired by the greats of the past (not most of the actual greats, whose works are mainstream enough to reach their ears as a kid).

People go on to be early gen coders while feeling something euphoric upon viewing this mechanized thing with it's terminals and BBS and beautiful unknown creature so much so that in Cronenberg's videogame inspired movie existenz and videodrome, technology was organic and alien and where the viewer may be disgusted - the people in those universes, just as certain people today with Apple, treat those items as products that build up their identity and love and confidence, etc.

Whether we like it or not, technology is now a need. We've pumped it into our psychology. Is it really then so wrong to not build up on that technology especially as even today, developers do improve and upgrade their software. Regardless whether there's a guy that hates Apple products and prefers Linux, if he's a coder, he's working on improving Linux towards that state of cult worship if it isn't already this way currently and for the author even though current product design may have already tackled this issue, the reason they may be bringing up a flawed model like Maslow is because maybe they aren't seeing many products that tickle their emotions such as Apple products.

It may not even be Apple. They may just want more innovative products (from their casual definition of product design fulfilling non-techie emotional needs) much the same as the way Apple went against the critics and prove everyone wrong about the demand for Tablet PCs. They may not even want someone creating a demand out of nothing before. They may instead want someone to simply build up towards Apple for Apple fans but for different groups. It may simply be a request that due to ignorance and the ease of blogging became what would end up as a blog post about building up to Maslow's model.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 10:49:03 PM by Paul Keith » Logged

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IainB
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2011, 05:48:30 AM »

I don't know much about the specifics of marketing theory but I did chance upon an assertion that marketing cannot create needs where there was none.
I usually would advise caution when assertions are being made, because they can generally be meaningless if not substantiated by fact or at least solid theory.
"The earth is flat." - an assertion that was based on a not-so-solid "theory" - and it would have remained flat if Copernicus had not messed things up with his ruddy rational mathematical proofs, observations and theories. Mankind has seemed to need fairy stories (myths, religions) for ever, and it hurts when those myths are blasted away. Copernicus was lucky to get out of it alive.
So, the assertion that "marketing cannot create needs" may be as useful as the statement that "the earth is flat".

Conversely, I don't know that anyone asserted absolutely that marketing can definitely create new markets by creating a new need where there was none before, but it is certainly the sort of thing that marketing students were taught that they should aim for in Marketing 101.

It is often debated that maybe you can't really create a new need where there was none before, and that it might simply be that you discover something that was already there - a latent or potential need. Certainly, SUVs are an interesting case, and marketers believe that sort of thing to be a consummate achievement of marketing.
I think it was British Leyland/Landrover that started the SUV concept off in the '70s, by producing an up-market and more comfortable version of the hardy utility Landrover called a Range Rover. The A1s (e.g., Princess Anne and her hubby Mark) would tend to buy them to drive them and their retrievers to their riding/hunt events or grouse shoots, so it was instantly OK with the A1s and the Chelsea set and the B1s who aspired to being and wanted to emulate the A1s. It created a new market for what might have formerly been considered an impractical vehicle, and the market has evolved so that an SUV is commonplace and people now feel they need one and don't have to justify it. It is more likely that they want one at a deep subconscious level because they have been so conditioned and have probably got into a state of Ahamkara over it. Happens all the time.

For example, Oakley-branded sunglasses. Nike-branded hoodies. In some cities, impoverished youths will apparently even mug you if you are wearing these things - just to steal them from you - because they "need" them so bad to feel "self-actualised".
Nothing wrong in this. It's good for business and economic growth. However, I personally wonder whether we may risk being debased and limited in our self-development by succumbing to the various marketing ploys, against which we may have poor defences to their subtle intrusion. At the same time, having studied marketing and psychology, I cannot but be admiringly appreciative of the way in which the application of good marketing theory, strategy and tactics can manipulate whole markets and the minds of the people in those markets - e.g., Apple and the Church of the late and great Steve Jobs, selling new cereal products for children via TV commercials. These are not points put forward to argue, nor are they opinions, just interesting questions/observations that occur to me.

Following on from this, I am not sure that I can usefully contribute to a good deal of your post, as (though I could be wrong, of course) you seem to be entering a debate about things using ambiguous terminology that probably needs definition before I can fully understand what you are intending to mean.
For example, "marketing" and "gamification" - I have my definition for the former, but I suspect it may not be the same as yours, judging from how you use the term, and I have no definition at all for the latter, as it is currently meaningless BS to me (QED).
I learned to do this (define my terms in a discussion) by watching a BBC TV programme called "The Brains Trust" on our B&W TV when I was a child. There was a panel of erudite scholars and philosophers who were posed a subject to discuss. When sloppy definition cropped up, one particular wise professor would tend to say, "Well, it all depends what you mean by [insert term]...". For all I know, you might be able to make all sorts of valid arguments using the term "gamification" - if it had an agreed definition to contribute to a logical proposition.

So I won't enter into a debate about those things, if you don't mind.
Thus, where you say:
Quote
...your latter post falls apart...
- I am at a loss, as there seems to be nothing to "fall apart". Whilst it might be badly/hastily written, I was not trying to structure a proposition or argument for debate, but was genarally merely pointing out that Maslow's theory would seem to be a weak thing on which to base an argument for anything, because the research that relates to it has apparently only been able to throw the whole thing into question - i.e., the opposite of substantiating it (QED). There is apparently no proof that the theory holds out in practice (QED).
This would be quite the reverse, for example, to the validity of the theory (unverifiable at the time it was proposed) of gravitational lenses postulated by Einstein.

Thus the thesis of  Nikki Chau's post is definitely invalid to start with, so why waste time discussing an invalid proposition unless it is to explore the reasons why it is invalid? That's arguably likely to be the only useful thing (analysis of reasoning as to why the argument is invalid) that could be gained from discussing it. Otherwise we might be better off - and have more fun - debating (say) the existence of winged fairies (because everyone already knows that the wingless variety exists as pixies).

Similarly, I am at a loss when you say:
Quote
..and that the author is aiming this more at...
- as I have no idea what she is aiming at, and I don't see how you can have special knowledge of what she is aiming at either, when what she is saying is irrational (QED).    Wink
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2011, 02:40:14 PM »

Lol, true true. I guess in this case, the assertion was from a book but I consider the book to be marketing fluff though to be fair compared to the other fluff out there, this one at least had a few data thrown in but I still can't help but feel like I was reading an ad in the end. It's why I was hesitant to throw out that statement.

I never took any Marketing 101 classes but yeah selling the dream is so wide spread around the internet, I'm kind of disappointed at hearing your hint about Marketing 101 but I guess that's kind of the nature of what happens when marketing becomes distilled into a generic class. It is kind of ironic. The goal of marketing is to improve the brand of a product and yet the actual brand of marketing is so piss poor, it seems to only stand on it's reputation of convincing companies that there's a charlatan here who can magically bring you profits while showing colorful charts to explain why it's going to work.

I sincerely thank you for sharing that link on ahamkara. Coincidentally I'm currently reading the English version of the Bhagavad Gita and I might have glossed over many of these complicated words without realizing that they have a much deeper meaning to them. (or it might be that I haven't gotten to it yet, I didn't quite know what I was getting into when I read this. Too much Krishna this and Krishna that so far)

Yeah, you could say marketing's ultimate goal is the opposite of ahamkara.

Using some of your examples in that link, a moral marketer may instead:

Convince a sensible young man to feel that his new sports car was a reflection of his true self and to not drive through recklessly with it without taking heavy precautions just as he would not recklessly endanger his own body.

Convince someone who believe in the fight for peace, and who ordinarily might behave in a non-violent manner, to come to blows with someone who threatened or challenged his notions of peace via more effective non-violence even in the face of wanting to purse violence.

Of course this is all hypothetical. I don't think or believe actual moral marketers do this but in the hypothetical sense of ahamkara, marketers would rather deal with the illusions and utilize it into a direction than expound it unless it provides them with any leverage but what leverage is there in a product reliant world full of product ignorant users? People can't even have modern empathy for global warming without a marketed propaganda movie in the Inconvenient Truth style.

I don't know if Oakley-branded glasses are a good example for self-actualization though. It seems more rooted in safety + love/belonging. Safety in that they can acquire something expensive to sell and belonging in that they managed to be the ones good enough to acquire and wear one among their neighborhood. Mind you I don't even know what Oakley-branded glasses are. I simply don't have any inkling for any branded glasses. I get one. I buy one. I wear one. That's always been my perspective of sunglasses. If there's a convincing factor, it's the tint of the glasses not the brand for me. However it does sound like a luxury item and well this is the casual perspective of luxury items for any one living in slum-like environments.

I think as far as both marketing and gamification goes, I did try to throw out my specific definition for marketing by laying it over two overlaying aspects. As far as gamification goes, something more specific to me would be role defining marketing. If you look at many of the gamification aspects, they don't try to turn objects into games (at least not to the extent that we would view videogames) but instead they adopt elements specifically those of the rpg genres that other genres would later adopt to their games. Badges I feel are just a primitive example rooted more around the original scouting for what would eventually be social gaming. A concept that basically took everything that worked in browser based games such as flash and online rpgs that have less graphics combined it with the Sims and then added on top of free to play/pay to compete design. I don't have a background on social gaming either though. This is just my opinion even before Farmville got released and I sincerely believe any Harvest Moon fan no matter how hardcore or casual has figured out the social gaming model even if they haven't played one social game nor know any programming.

As far as more concrete less theoretical examples, I do have a jot on fun theory:

http://subjot.com/Foolness/fun+theory+videos

Not trying to advertise my profile, that link just has my curated collection of examples that both fit my definition of marketing and gamification all in one link which makes it more convenient for me to just paste this then look for any specific example to represent my viewpoint.

As far as Maslow's model being weak, it's why I said:

Quote
Yet, at the same, you have a scenario here where once you expand on the fallacious concept of Maslow - you simply build the case for it.

Where Maslow's model is weak at addressing humanity, applied to product design, it is stronger and thus why I said in the effort to expound on it's weakness - you've simply highlighted it's strengths by expanding on the weakness of humanity's desire for products as well as the make up of what entails a marketed product.

Which in turn makes it so that when Nikki's original post was weak to begin with, it becomes stronger with your words as you highlight more and more the difference between human needs for products and basic human needs.

Finally, as for knowing where she's aiming, all bloggers aim for an audience and right now if you zoom out on this thread - it seems like her topic have generated quite a conversation. No thanks to the both of us.  tongue
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2011, 05:35:05 AM »

Thought-provoking response!

Quote
I sincerely thank you for sharing that link on ahamkara.
Thank YOU. I learned about this concept in about 1994, when I attended a series of educational sessions at The School of Philosophy in Wellington, New Zealand. I was mindboggled by it at first. I found it to be one of the most profoundly useful concepts that I have come across, and it helps to explain a state of being or perception that I had hitherto been unable to understand. It helped me to understand myself a little more. I am so pleased if the link has proved useful. Please pass it on.

Quote
I don't know if Oakley-branded glasses are a good example for self-actualization though.
No they are probably not, depending on how you define "self-actualization", but I have no idea what "self-actualization" means.
I was trying to make a joke by mocking Maslow's idea of "self-actualisation" being at the top of the hierarchy - and by association so might be the thugs doing the mugging.
You see, if Maslow's theory has been debunked (QED), then so has his idea of "self-actualisation". It's all part and parcel of the same thing. You can't pick a piece out of a logically invalid/irrational structure and use it as though it were magically valid/rational just because you might (say) like the sound of it. It is and will remain BS for all practical purposes. That's why I wrote above:
Quote
...I have self-actualised all over the carpet...
- the whole idea is stupid/funny.

Quote
Of course this is all hypothetical. I don't think or believe actual moral marketers do this...
LOL. "Moral marketers" - a novel concept. An oxymoron.

Quote
Yet, at the same, you have a scenario here where once you expand on the fallacious concept of Maslow - you simply build the case for it.
Eh? Who is this guy Maslow anyway?     Wink

Quote
...when Nikki's original post...
And who the heck is Nikki?
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2011, 10:18:33 PM »

Debunking self-actualization is certainly an interesting thing especially from a Hindu (Buddhism?) perspective.

My understanding of self-actualization is that Maslow simply meant that when one has met a natural set of needs, then enlightenment can happen which is what self-actualization means.

Example, Gautama achieved arguably the pinnacle of safety, love, esteem that an average being can achieve. With these things in set, then his mind was in a state of peace that he "can" (in the mental sense) drop the lower hierarchies.

Albeit Maslow wasn't insisting on self-actualization as enlightenment but the concept of self-actualization seems to still match with many rich people eventually discovering solidarity or many intelligent people (say programmers and mathematicians) eventually discovering/promoting innovation because many of the lower needs were met by their growth paths that many of those in poverty both mentally and physically had no room to move about on.

This doesn't mean that self-actualization can't be wrong, just showing that the way Maslow sets up self actualization it not only is not determinant on the lower hierarchies being right or wrong, it's still one of the least debunked phenomena there is despite Maslow being flawed in his hierarchy. After all, even today, one can make a case that certain people in power clearly have more influence due to being in universities or having more nurturing/opportunity providing parents. One can also find many examples of people rising through poverty only to maintain their riches rather than reach a state of provision that matches those who truly had more than them though they may be considered rich in their culture.

In some ways, this too is my dilemma with productivity systems. Most productivity tips are written from the perspective where one can be a lifehacker if not an outright possessor of notebooks/pens/PCs and rooms they can call their own. Worse, msot ideas arise not while one is in chaos but where one can simmer and experiment upon impending chaos.

Even in the military or sports, we see elements of one allowing their love to reach towards self-actualization only when one has a way of training in an actual "safe" and "loving" environment and where people most credit a person's esteem is when such static training meets the adversity that is an opponent that which the individual rises over - a scenario which when celebrated raises the esteem of the person and in the end actualizes the self of the person both to himself and to others as proof of said individual's legacy.

Indeed in all scenarios, there seems to be a scenario that matches self-actualization even when the hierarchy is wrong. Say a person who was raised in chaos and finding an opportunity in that chaos which thus then raises them towards the hierarchy of safety and belonging or marines training in sensory deprivation and being unappreciated in the world only to then be thanked for by whichever individual they were tasked to save. A case where belonging does not mean love and low esteem still means self actualization.

Quote
- the whole idea is stupid/funny.

I apologize. I had originally interpreted this as you saying you have just mentally masturbated on a topic. tongue

Quote
"Moral marketers" - a novel concept. An oxymoron.

Indeed.

Quote
Eh? Who is this guy Maslow anyway? 

And who the heck is Nikki?

I don't know. I'd rather we find out who we all are.  tongue
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2011, 05:14:35 AM »

Debunking self-actualization is certainly an interesting thing especially from a Hindu (Buddhism?) perspective.
if you mean that you thought I was trying to debunk self-actualization from a Hindu perspective, I wasn't, as I am too metamotivated to do that (Yeah baby!).    Wink

Having said that, I do rather think that Hinduism has an uphill battle for it to become credible.
In a news item on 14 September 2007, the BBC made a report Report on Hindu god Ram withdrawn .

The report was potentially amusing (tongue in cheek) in that it related to a canal-building project and:
Quote
"Hindu activists say the canal project will damage Lord Rama's bridge...Hindu hardliners say the project will destroy what they say is a bridge built by Ram and his army of monkeys."

Many people apparently actually believe this sort of stuff.
It rather looks as though it's on a fantastic par with Heaven's Gate.
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2011, 05:18:20 AM »

Well no but after reading your link, the misunderstanding was well worth it so I change my claim to yes. Yes, I thought you were debunking self actualization from a Hindu perspective.
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 12:34:52 AM »

Just thought I'd note what seems to be an unintentionally highly amusing and classic example of action with no basis in proven theory: Effect of One-Legged Standing on Sleep
It seems to me to be a fatuous post and discussion, and looks to be similar to the sort of thing you would be achieving (i.e., nothing) by trying to have a rational discussion where I said:
Thus the thesis of  Nikki Chau's post is definitely invalid to start with, so why waste time discussing an invalid proposition unless it is to explore the reasons why it is invalid? That's arguably likely to be the only useful thing (analysis of reasoning as to why the argument is invalid) that could be gained from discussing it. Otherwise we might be better off - and have more fun - debating (say) the existence of winged fairies (because everyone already knows that the wingless variety exists as pixies).

It reminds me of something from a few years back, when I was working on a contract in a country-regional office in the Asia-Pacific region of one of the biggest worldwide IT corporations. At the time, they were were in a big cost-reduction drive. As part of that drive, the CEO had put them on a crash downsizing schedule of 20% headcount reduction worldwide.

The personnel in the country offices I was in were to be moved to newer premises - more modern, and with a smaller square footage and hence lower lease costs - because they were not likely to be needing all that existing space for too long (the 20% reduction).

The trouble was in the timing: they had to vacate the old leased premises they were in before renewal date, and move to the new smaller/cheaper leased premises as soon as possible after taking up the new lease (to avoid paying overlapping annual leases for an extended period). They knew they wouldn't need all the personnel they currently had, in the new site, because they planned to downsize by 20% after moving to the new site (they couldn't complete the downsizing before the move.)

Problem: How were they going to accommodate all those people in the new site, before the planned downsizing and without causing employees to become fearful of losing their jobs? (Experience tells us that, when culling a herd, it is always best not to spook the animals as they can become uncooperative or resisting, and where the animals are humans and can get litigious, it would be downright foolhardy to spook 'em. The management and psychological practices employed in Hitler's notorious mass-extermination death camps have demonstrated some good management lessons in this regard.)

What to do?

They hit on the clever idea of compulsorily introducing stand-up desks and desk-sharing for a large number of personnel/roles, in the existing (old) offices. This was not announced as "being good" for the staff, just that they were "beneficial" and that the office was "being updated to the modern business trend" - and it was true that they were the modern business trend, because businesses had already recognised that stand-up desks helped reduce square-footage lease costs.

The management also cleverly engaged the cooperation of the staff by getting them to view the new site and put forward their views as to how their offices were to be laid out. "Staff representatives" for this were appointed, who gathered their colleagues' views on the matter. It was going to be such fun being involved!
The management used the language of bullshit/ambiguity rather than tell an outright lie and say that it was "ergonomically proven to improve such-and-such" - that would have been a lie because there was no proof.
Ergonomic and work-study research carried out in the '60s and '70s in factory and office environments showed that keeping people on their feet all day long is pretty much guaranteed to produce a range of otherwise avoidable health problems (never mind its effect on productivity), just as packing people/desks into offices as per the old "bull-pens" was unhealthy - and counterproductive. (Fortunately, cattle cannot read and have no sense of history.)

So the stand-up desks were slowly introduced to the old semi-open plan offices, and the offices progressively became a visibly more roomy without all those big ergonomically-designed desks and cubicles cluttering up the place.
And when the move was made to the new and smaller premises, though the packing density of the stand-up desk arrangement was noticeable, it was not nearly so noticeable as it would have been had they retained the old sitting desk arrangement. In any event, no-one seemed to complain, probably because not long after the move, the 20% downsizing plan started to bite and the staff had more important things on their minds than office layout.

The moral of this story is that wherever you find people using the irrational (QED) "the Emperor's new clothes" argument, then beware and hold onto your sense and your wallets.
The probability is that such people are either just plain stupid/ignorant, or - more likely - they are con-merchants wanting to manipulate your perception into accepting/believing whatever they are taking about is valid and a "good" thing to to do.
This may be done unscrupulously, neither knowing nor caring that you ordinarily might not be gullible enough to accept such nonsense, though real conmen are more unscrupulous and know very well that is the case. The motivation is likely to be financial gain on the part of the conman.

Anyway, that's my take on it, after my alien abduction experience.    Wink
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2011, 10:48:58 AM »

...as stuff like social media sharing buttons spread around the concept is what then boosted the motivation to develop such concepts as social curation and cross-sharing further than what designers and coders would have intended. (My emphasis.)
I thought this Dilbert cartoon made a good comment on this...speaks for itself really.
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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2011, 12:41:00 AM »

I think the problem with the Dilbert cartoon is that it ignores why social curation is notable.

It's kind of like social media where I never quite picked up the hubbub of what drives major social sharers but I know what Digg and Reddit is and I know enough about the troubles and hoops people went through just to be part of the in crowd.

In some ways social curation is far superior and it's ambiguity is it's greatest strength seeing as instead of trying to fit a role (curator/social media journalist) it is instead a keyword to find words where the curator - the middle man - is cut off. This doesn't mean just writers or journalists but includes such things as people rambling out upvotes and downvotes. Social curation apps actually try to fix the filter failure following the fall-out of popularity from tweets and rss.

Take for example subjot. It doesn't advertise itself as a social curation tool but you can use it as a social curation tool far better than Twitter. In that respect, the route towards designing for a fad word like social curation inherently improves the dynamic of the web without asking the designers to understand it. Simply to address the need for it. The result is that subjot may not be the ideal curation tool but at least compared to services that leverage Twitter, subjot extends itself so far to it's own design that it doesn't need to be Twitter+. Instead it can be Twitter alt -minus less filter failure from the end user with less need for the end user to unfollow someone/everyone. Thus in this case, social curation apps are the opposite of the Dilbert comic though hype wise it doesn't appear to be.

As far as management goes, well... to me it just reads like apples and oranges. I apologize for simply not being able to follow. Managements suck. Bureaucracies suck. Hell con-men suck. They all have something on hand to offer already though. It just seems like the opposite in this case. Fad words are post-phenomenon mass-hipster marketing (not sure if these words make sense since I'm just making them up but the point is these are observers) where as corporate politics such as your example aims to create a pre-phenomenon justification as to why whatever it is that's being done is some sort of cutting edge absolute that should be done until one can get away with it for so long. In many ways it falters when you have such examples like Apple who have a history of hardware that went against the status quo and worked and though it is debatable what these items really contributed besides increasing consumer mindset towards previously luxurious items, the influencing factor did lead to further innovation of such products that might not have happened if the competition had not went beyond the call. (not just technologically or usability or nobility - those things don't move other companies but through a symbolic market demand that serve as a threat to other hardware/software providers/designers to pick up their slack.)
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2011, 07:07:13 AM »

I am confuzzled by most of what you wrote above - even after having read it through carefully, three times.
You seem to be discussing the merits of something that you confirm is still an undefined term - a buzzword - and which thus does not exist.
Sorry, I don't wish to seem rude, but, as someone whose teachers included grammarians and logicians, I think your comments probably only serve to confirm that "curation" is still in the Bullsh*t Bingo buzzword collection.

Anyway, I think it could likely be more fun (though no more useful) to debate the colour of the wings of those nonexistant fairies made so famous by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
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« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2011, 10:28:52 AM »

I don't see what's confusing.

The topic was gamification/Maslow.

You then raised points why buzz words are bullshit.

I then raised points why buzz words have some influence.

We went into social curation which has a stronger and more concrete history of design because there are web apps released that claim that tag/had been branded that tag by the digital media and each of those websites are different but have a unifying pattern of what they are trying to introduce.

You use a Dilbert cartoon as your argument point.

I then use your Dilbert cartoon as your argument point.

Teachers/students/philosophers/forum users/logicians/grammarians, I sincerely hope none of those groups try to raise evidence by referring to a Dilbert cartoon much less use it as a set up to say the counter reply to a Dilbert cartoon only serves to confirm curation as still being a Bullshit Bingo buzz word.  tongue

The difference with "social curation" (two words, not just the word curation) and the colour of the wings of those non-existant fairies is that even for myth believers, the colour of the fairies does not help expound any of their beliefs as even in those times the women who revealled the fairies were considered liars even in such an innocent age and it is only Doyle's status that lend it credibility and later on as desire to look for evidences backing the unknown went on, it became an urban legend that was brought up not because the biologies or even the appearances of such fairies would back up the rationale of the fairy believers but because it would back up this idea that there was truly something paranormal about this world that science can't explain but fantasy can. In short, even in concept, the fairies even if they were real would be useless. They would simply be like the myth that managers are not bullshitters that's why they get payed more.

In contrast, social curation is like the CEO. There's still a lot of bullshit in that position. The justification of high salaries. The instigator of bureaucracies. The manager of managers. The guy who saves the company by simply inspiring the workers and knowing how to out-wit the lesser politicians of the company. Yet at the same time, done right - social curation/CEOs do provide something intangible. They have nearly the same role as managers but because of their greater responsibilities, if they pull it off, they introduce something new. If they're shit, the company sinks. In this case, the same goes for buzz words. Digg's dead but Reddit still lives. Social curation is in a similar scenario. It lived. It died. It got a temporary ressurection in things like Mashable follow where the Web finally understood something as simple as the usability behind the follow button. It went low. It then pops up from time to time with newer social networks like G+ but under the wrong assumption that it needs to be "private data backed" in order to "recommend" circles/fans/friends/etc. (An old model that failed except for Facebook and even then Facebook did it right because of it's userbase not because of it's design) But whichever the case, regardless whether the word social curation even survives or not, there are tangible examples of apps in a social curated mold. There are tangible examples of designs following social curation showing it can have an impact.

Take the recent workflowy thread. I've become cynical of outliners because they don't adopt something as basic as Tree List's hotkeys or things like Onenote becomes popular but few (even among notetaker/outliner circles) mention/adopt some of the design of YeahWrite until OneNote but Workflowy wows people because it can filter branches thanks to it's search. That's a core element of social curation, bullshit or not. That's why even in the workflowy thread no one can find quite an alternative example because even though the design should be somewhat obvious (we do have software like Evernote banging the idea of personal search notes for years now) it wasn't until Workflowy appeared that we finally have a pseudo-free and simple implementation of that concept in a total package.

At the same time, the bullshit factor of buzz words here is that Workflowy doesn't state it is a social curation tool. The designers might not even be thinking of social curation when they design the app. Yet here's the flip side though. Is Workflowy better off because of it? I say no. A big part of social curation is the social. Actually social here doesn't mean sharing except that it can be shown to the public/friends that get permission. What in reality it is hinting at is that export and import can be cool.

...but in order to be cool, it has to be personalized to more casual needs and layed out in better ways. Bullshit buzz words or not - there's nothing confusing about that especially for technical people. Export/import and presentations was always an important and controversial issue in all walks of life but software developers have often tacked it on if not been slow to adopt to this. Web developers focus too much on mobile. Desktop developers focus too much on caged databases. Had Workflowy been more of a social curation tool maybe it would have focus on a desktop compliment already. Maybe.

If this is still confusing, here's the bottomline. Curator as a word especially in a digital world? Yeah, there's a lot of bullshit in that. The average blogger can be a curator simply by blogging. You won't know whether he's a good or bad curator at that. You might not even sniff it because blogging is based on popularity and niche circles much like social networks. Social curation though - you can see a bit of the person's identity through that as it's their personal collection. Not in an entirely privacy invading way but like a well researched blogger making a blog post. The difference between the potential of social curation design and blogging is that blogging asks for the reader to have an interest in skimming through archives with little way of organizing a story except maybe via chronological and tag based random clickings. Social curation could potentially adopt the concept of stumbling upon data that Stumbleupon originally popularized before that service was hijacked into a social media category and combine it with the innovations of annotations (PDFs/Diigo), personal website scraping (Scrapbook+/Surfulator) and combine it with the bundles of an e-book.

Example imagine if dotepub was one day not based on an old version of readability but like website scrapers can edit and curate and mash up contents into an e-pub. It may not be a revolution unless e-book readers become cheap (for third world countries) and take off but the combination of those results could one day fuel the "true" death of mainstream newspapers and open up the culture for journalistic challenges where the best daily e-pub subscriptions are judged rather than the popularity of a newspapers' brand. On top of this, it may not be for everyone, but imagine the filter failure stress relief from no longer having to juggle between reading something later or reading something now but taking the perspective into that between a decision of those two plus the option of reading a collected set of articles like wikipedia but without the need to click through every next link or hope the other link is not a red herring. All these without having tabs stored in browsers or suffering in collection problems or being slaves to con-men who claim they scraped the free information around the web and then "curated" it into a paid PDF/video. Not to mention the lack of need to distribute this with an internet connection.

Again, I'd like to emphasize that the above is merely hinting at the potential of social curation and not saying this will be the reality.
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« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2011, 09:46:23 PM »

...as stuff like social media sharing buttons spread around the concept is what then boosted the motivation to develop such concepts as social curation and cross-sharing further than what designers and coders would have intended. (My emphasis.)
I thought this Dilbert cartoon made a good comment on this...speaks for itself really.

I don't see what's confusing.
...
...Again, I'd like to emphasize that the above is merely hinting at the potential of social curation and not saying this will be the reality.

Well, perhaps I added the confusion then? Because I are still confuzzled.
Unless you are making a joke of this? It could be amusing for Tweedledum and Tweedledee, I suppose.

At any rate, I am sorry if you feel the need to be defensive about using the term, but all I intended was to point out - without sticking it in your face - that if you are unable to define a term (in this case the "curation" concept) before you proceed to use it in a rational argument, then it cannot be a rational argument from the point when you first use it - because there is no definition of terms.
This isn't my opinion, it's just one of the rules of logic that I learned in high school when we were being taught how to develop our critical thinking skills and methods of thinking.

The only definition I have so far managed to find for "curation" is this sense:
Quote
curation
late 14c., from O.Fr. curacion, from L. curationem, noun of action from curare "to cure" (see cure).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

The way you talk about it, that meaning (above) doesn't look like it has anything to do with the price of fish. However, your language indicates that you seem to know what it is that you mean when you are talking about "... curation ....".
However, there seems to be nothing to put one's finger on and say, for example, "Ah! That's what he means when he talks about the terms 'curation' or 'social curation'! "

If we carried on discussing this without some idea of what you mean by the term "curation" in this context, then it will probably become an absurdity like the discussion in "Waiting for Godot".

So, please help me - this is making my brain hurt!:
  • "Curation" - what exactly do you intend it to mean when you use it?
  • "Social curation" - what exactly do you intend it to mean when you use it?

Thanks in anticipation.    smiley
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« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2011, 07:56:16 AM »

Oh I apologize if the way I came off was being defensive. I was simply providing tangible examples. I think it's safe to say that there are people whom I respect enough to not feel emotionally bothered with when replying.

However it is weird to equate critical thinking into the conversation of fad words though. Especially digital fad words.

If anything, it would be pseudo-skeptic to deny the existence of a term on face...nay Dilbert value.

The critical thinking way would be to do as what you have done with Maslow's idea and slice through the fluff from the truth. I can only surmise that it is not your fault but mine for being a poor communicator that you feel I have failed to bring this things to surface when I felt that was what I was already doing. In my previous post alone I (attempted to) answer this question: what exactly do you intend it to mean when you use it?

Quote
At the same time, the bullshit factor of buzz words here is that Workflowy doesn't state it is a social curation tool. The designers might not even be thinking of social curation when they design the app. Yet here's the flip side though. Is Workflowy better off because of it? I say no. A big part of social curation is the social. Actually social here doesn't mean sharing except that it can be shown to the public/friends that get permission. What in reality it is hinting at is that export and import can be cool.

...but in order to be cool, it has to be personalized to more casual needs and layed out in better ways. Bullshit buzz words or not - there's nothing confusing about that especially for technical people. Export/import and presentations was always an important and controversial issue in all walks of life but software developers have often tacked it on if not been slow to adopt to this. Web developers focus too much on mobile. Desktop developers focus too much on caged databases. Had Workflowy been more of a social curation tool maybe it would have focus on a desktop compliment already. Maybe.

If this is still confusing, here's the bottomline. Curator as a word especially in a digital world? Yeah, there's a lot of bullshit in that. The average blogger can be a curator simply by blogging. You won't know whether he's a good or bad curator at that. You might not even sniff it because blogging is based on popularity and niche circles much like social networks. Social curation though - you can see a bit of the person's identity through that as it's their personal collection. Not in an entirely privacy invading way but like a well researched blogger making a blog post. The difference between the potential of social curation design and blogging is that blogging asks for the reader to have an interest in skimming through archives with little way of organizing a story except maybe via chronological and tag based random clickings. Social curation could potentially adopt the concept of stumbling upon data that Stumbleupon originally popularized before that service was hijacked into a social media category and combine it with the innovations of annotations (PDFs/Diigo), personal website scraping (Scrapbook+/Surfulator) and combine it with the bundles of an e-book.

For word origins I often refer to this site: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=curate

late 14c., "spiritual guide," from M.L. curatus "one responsible for the care (of souls)," from L. curatus, pp. of curare "to take care of" (see cure). Church of England sense of "paid deputy priest of a parish" first recorded 1550s.

...and for dictionaries:

http://www.onelook.com/?w=curate&ls=a

noun

an Anglican priest who helps a more senior priest more...
verb

to be the curator of an exhibit in a museum more...

On top of this, if you search social media in the dictionary:

http://www.onelook.com/?w=social+media&ls=a

You'll have to go to such anyone can edit sites such as Urban Dictionary or Wikipedia just to get a "dictionary" entry.

Such is the commonality of many digital words. I don't see what's weird in that. Yet I'm sure despite the lack of this, you would know that what the dictionary defines as Twitter is not the same as the social media service known as Twitter.

On top of this, you could simply google for a definition and links such as this would turn up in the 1st few pages:

http://www.quora.com/How-...m-collaborative-filtering

Quote from: Guillaume Decugis, I run Scoop.it
The main difference to me is that curation is more than filtering (whichever form you give it): curation is about giving context.

A filter will select content. A collaborative filter, content based on what others and you did.

A curator will not only do that but add context: comment, analysis, format, pictures, ... Why they felt it was relevant, why they agree or disagree with that content.

Look at how the same piece of news is titled differently by say CNN and Fox and Al Jazeera: it's the same news but the context can be way different because each time, a human being - not an algorithm - gave his own twist to it.

To cut through the fluff, social curation is beyond context. It is perspective. Context can be everywhere. People can have context from upvoting and downvoting and liking an entry. Yet that's social media.

Social curation as it is commonly understood and implemented by many services is a fad word to unify the way people collect and personify such collections to bypass the filter problem from collecting such items.

The theoretical aspect of it is to take the mindset away from the collector so that they could simply collect and put more fluid and natural wording metadata to their collections instead of the dead as molasses aspect of tagging. It is a mindset to take into account the manner that people not only collect in different ways but they consume their collection in different ways as well as take into account the what if of what happens if they present this data to another human being. In short, it is an experiment towards something that can change the way we bookmark, annotate, share, relate, blog etc.

Of course origin-wise, the problem remains that it is a buzz word. However as most buzz words go, there was a prelude to this and the prelude is that as new services come and go, such services are often wrongly categorized and while those categorization helps, they also fail to be buzz words but one needs buzz words to influence those web developers to create and design a service that applies to the buzz word.

An example is Twitter's follow button. While it is a crucial feature on par with the "mark as read" buttons of rss readers and the footnote feature in word processors, no one was copying it. No one even understood how or why it needs to be copied for usability. At least that's how it was if you read the digital media and ask most of the early bird users. There was a demand for it but no one simply find it cool/necessary or needed.

As it stands with most concepts, someone had to hype it. So someone did. My first introduction to a social curated compared service was Storify and while I do not know the origin of the buzz word, it cemented to me why social curation was both necessary and important. At least for me.

One reason being is that even before I encountered social curation, I was social curating and the concept so enamored a poor communicator like me that when I first encountered a service that somewhat hinted to social curation (though it didn't advertise it as one) I wrote in my profile:

"I use Diigo because it's a great service, certainly the one I most depend on. I wouldn't know how to read as much websites without it's features. The Diigolet button looks like the developers were considering Opera users. It was one of the few web services where support was present to the point that it will be hard not to be introduced to Maggie even though I didn't really look for the staff. It is still in my opinion one of the key features in building up a competent web service.

So all in all, you have community, developer support, innovation and the underdog quality feel of a well made "before it's time" web application. Man, the only thing that would convince me not to use it is if the developers looked like they forgot all the stuff that got them the users, the features and the general stability of the service.

I mean, I've heard some like Mashable think Diigo has failed so there's always that doomsday looming in my head that one day they'll just drop the service but man oh man, hopefully they don't.

I don't have the cash to donate to them but this is like THE new hope for a more productive web if not the few soldiers on the quest of going against the grain of web 2.0 being more about infotainment than "fun research" community that really really just works and isn't just for the experts and the rich or the mainstream users so finally I use it because even though I don't have the cash, I want to use it as a way of showcasing my support for such an app that deserves to be right there at the top and hopefully it can only improve from here on out."


*Note that this was way way before such controversies as this article.

Now has most social curation services reach Diigo's level? No, I don't think so. Which is why it's so difficult to simply define social curation like one would define social media when Digg first became popular.

Diigo was what I considered the first Web 3.0 service when it was first released. For me, the only other innovative service on par with the tag of Web 3.0 was Dropbox because both of those services have qualities that you just couldn't point to anywhere as a total package.

When Diigo first came out, it had the most external social bookmarking service importing feature (which it dwindled down by ver. 3) and it's premium features, were not premium features and it also captured embedded youtube videos. It was a perspective that at that time I've never seen offered in any other free service nor I've ever thought a bookmarking service couild do. After all (even though it didn't) it gave you the capability to eat up nearly the entire portion of the social bookmarking side of the internet...and then some.

That is what modern social curation tools are aiming for.

As a definition, it is as large as the semantic web which is why it's so hard to define in a short manner without sounding like buzz words and it being a buzz word, also doesn't help it's case.

But as an tangible design, it's a lot more specific and that's what gives it life.

Storify first inserted the idea of a search engine where you can collect data via drag and drop and present it as a personalized edited collection.

PearlTrees does to social bookmarking what Goalscape does to outliners which is give you results that you wanted but you weren't searching for. Most of it is just due to it's mindmapping-like interface but to call it simply mindmapping would be false.

Scoop.it aims to push the focus more on content than authors. It is blogging without the pressure or the destiny of a blog to be judged on it's author rather than it's content.

Subjot edits the follow button so that instead of following the users, you follow subjects which lessens the noise.

Uncram takes the Zemanta model of creating diaries by recommending explanations for entries you posted. It also experiments with a like button that also serves different emotions such as thanks or agreement.

Ifttt.com takes the problem with exporting data from different services and uniting them.

Workflowy creates a fluid filter search engine that redefined how outlines are filtered and managed.

Each of these designs redefine what used to be simple subscription models utilized by RSS readers.

Each of these are able to do this because instead of trying to value your personal data and identity (at least less so than say something like Facebook), social curation defines itself as services having the perspective that (me) is less important than my data and that as good as many "Web 2.0" services has been, at the end of the day... not everyone desires to see how many upvotes an entry has, not everyone wants items recommended to them, not everyone wants to read the latest linkbait blog article. There are people who simply want to be informed. Read up on things they want or need to read up on. Have simple ways to collect and reread what they collected. Have simple ways to extract what they read and show it to another person without going through hoops and have ways they can interact with such presentations/stored notes to make it easier or more enlightening to review them.

Unfortunately this potential also means that where social curation's definition starts to stray towards incredibly tangible, incredibly present, incredibly existent definitions...the potential of the service strays off towards theoretical concepts again. No different than what semantic web features entail once people talk about social media vs. MSM or social bookmarking vs. browser bookmarks that sync. Social curation's potential (and in turn it's definition) lies in that place where one day people who can't hack it/who can't use bookmarks have a service designed like a bookmark for others but one for them. That one day people who can't collect without getting disorganized, have a way to get themselves organized without needing or wanting to get organized. That people who can't cut through the mass exposure of rss or feed-like features such as push entries like Facebook or Twitter, have a way to still consume such services with less noise. It is as it says on the tin: a way for a personal user to have a personal library but unlike a library like say MediaMonkey or Calibre, a library that's more like a museum. A museum where one does not need to be a master metadata librarian in order to mass collect and mass consume their collections without becoming confused or even worse buried under our own inferiority to better human beings.
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« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2011, 09:31:54 PM »

@Paul Keith:
Quote
...That is what modern social curation tools are aiming for.

I have read and reread what you wrote above, and am unable to wrap my mind around what you are saying - at least, not to the extent that it makes sense to me as much as it apparently makes sense to  you. Sorry if I seem to be missing something obvious. And if you were making a joke, then I apologise for treating it seriously!

My take on it so far:
Quote
Here's a thing called "curation", and it means whatever I say it means, but it means kinda everything. This "everything" is the objective that the designers of "modern social curation tools" are aiming for. Yet those designers seem to be unable to define what curation is any more clearly than they can define what the objective of using them is.

From pragmatic experience, this looks to be potentially even less useful in practice than the idea of an enterprise architecture model has apparently shown itself to be for the enterprise.
It seems to me that curation does not yet exist except as a vague Tweedledum-Tweedledee-ish concept with a Will O'the Wisp definition.
(Is it God?)
Are you "self actualizing" (as Maslow might have put it) in your last post above?     Wink
Is this a "gamification" of "curation"? (Eheh. Sorry, a weak joke)

My brain hurts still.

On another but possibly related topic, I came across this today:
Out to Lunch: A Bad Start for Apple on Black Friday.
I found this definition of "Routinization of charisma":

I thought this was interesting in the context of the apparent "deification" of Steve Jobs, who was of course just a man like any other great prophet (e.g., including Jesus Christ and Mohammed).
Looks like Apple may have a FAIL on that (the routinization of Jobs charisma), anyway.

Where are those aspirins?
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« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2011, 09:39:28 PM »

Here we go: http://www.scoop.it/
Quote
Easily Publish
Gorgeous Magazines
Leverage Curation to increase your visibility.
Give persistence to your social media presence.

I think I'm beginning to get it now. "Curation" seems to be publishing eye-catching pictures as a substitute for knowledge/information for people who may have limited reading ability and/or a low reading age. So you can "leverage curation" in such a way as you can imagine that you are somehow "increasing your visibility ... and ... giving persistence to your social media presence".

Yeah, right.
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« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2011, 12:22:28 PM »

I think judging Scoop.it on it's own as a singular representative of social curation services would be just as unfair as say judging 4chan as a blog or judging Tumblr's main culture as what the blogosphere is all about.

On top of this, it ignores the fact that Scoop.it is not the most unique among the social curation services. A simple google search could show that in fact it's the opposite: it is the most generic. (though generic here is not necessarily bad)

From the very beginning Scoop.it never hid itself as Tumblr but focusing on topics. (Though the direction they took doesn't really show that as there's no way to be anonymous and focus completely on a topic but nonetheless everything about it is still more topic based than Tumblr.)

To top it off, it would be one thing to say, "Hey I registered to Scoop.it and it seems to be...[...]" but forgive me if I accuse you of not even doing this to prejudge a service. I'm not saying so with the intent of being defensive towards the service it's just that if I was being critical of curation or a service like Scoop.it, I would at least expect someone to point out the less efficient in-built Google Alert/RSS type slow as molasses recommendation engine or even the small text space but to go as far as curation seems to be publishing eye catching pictures I think it begs one to be skeptical about whether one truly even attempted to know about a service or simply copy pasted several texts.

Even without registering, it would baffle me that such a comment could be considered serious at face value when several Scoop.its essentially mimic the lay-outs of many blogs. At the very least I would hope that a critic even at face value would at least prejudge it like a blog...but publishing eye-catching pictures and then referring to limited reading ability and or low reading age??? It's a comment unbecoming of you.

Anyway, as far as usefulness in practice, that's up to debate but it seems enough people find use in the idea and I leave those people to silence or prove right the critics. Example (it was reading this that in fact reminded me of this topic):

Quote
Why Financial Literacy Fails

 “Actually,” I told the interviewer, “I don’t think this country needs more financial literacy education. Time and again, financial literacy efforts have failed. They don’t make any noticeable difference in the way we spend and save.”

I gave an example from my own life. “When I was in high school, all seniors were required to take a financial literacy class. It covered topics like compound interest, the Federal Reserve, how to write a check, and the dangers of credit cards. I took that class. I aced every test. And five years later, I had the beginnings of a debt habit.”

I wasn’t the only one. From what I can tell, the kids from my high school grew up to be no different than the rest of Americans. We learned the basics of financial literacy, but it had no perceivable impact on the way we saved and spent and earned. We still made stupid mistakes. We still spent more than we earned? Why? Because financial literacy isn’t the answer!

If you’ve been following Get Rich Slowly for any length of time, you can probably guess what I believe is a better solution. It’s not to feed people more facts and figures. It’s not to teach them how bonds work or to explain the sheer awesomeness of a Roth IRA. I believe what we really need in this country is some sort of behavioral education.

I’m just not sure how to do it.

Behavioral Finance

 Personal finance is simple. Fundamentally, you only need to one thing: To build wealth, you must spend less than you earn. The end. That’s it. We can all go home now. Everything else simply builds on this. Why, then, is it so hard for everyone to get ahead?

For some people, it’s systemic. There’s no doubt that some people are trapped in a cycle of poverty, and they truly need outside help to overcome the obstacles they face. But for most of us, the issue is internal: The problem is us. In other words, I am the reason that I can’t get ahead. And you are the reason that you can’t get ahead. It’s not a lack of financial literacy that holds us back, but a chain of bad behavior.

One of the key tenets of this site is that money is more about mind than it is about math. That is, our financial success isn’t determined by how smart we are with numbers, but how well we’re able to control our emotions — our wants and desires.

There’s actually a branch of economics called behavioral finance devoted exclusively to this phenomenon, exploring the interplay between economic theory and psychological reality. And in August, I wrote about a new wave of folks who are exploring the gamification of personal finance; they’re trying to turn money management into a game. More and more, experts are seeing that our economic decisions aren’t based on logic, but on emotion and desire.

“For years, I struggled with money,” I told my interviewer today. “I knew the math, but I still couldn’t seem to defeat debt. It wasn’t until I started applying psychology to the situation that I was able to make changes. For instance, I used the debt snowball to pay down my debt in an illogical yet psychologically satisfying way. It worked. And I’ve learned that by having financial goals — such as travel — I’m much more inclined to save than if I have no goals at all.”

Source: http://www.getrichslowly....-and-what-to-do-about-it/
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« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2011, 12:55:22 PM »

Just wanted to drop by and say how glad I am you two found each other.  Grin

I doubt you'd find many other DC members with the focus, love of definition, and gluteal stamina to get into a topic like the two of you sometimes do.

I think the DC forum is a more interesting read because of it. Trot on! Thmbsup
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2011, 07:04:34 AM »

@Paul Keith:
Curation:

Gamification:
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