Make me better and I will love you
Previously we’ve talked about creating software that makes people better on what they’re doing. Kathy Sierra has been a long term activist on this subject. How we get passionate about software that makes us better at our work, that is why I for example love Keynote, or a certain interest or hobby.
Joshua Porter has a good post on the subject, regarding how many social niche networks are about just that, making users better at a certain activity and leverage existing motivation. There is a lot of motivation in many spheres about improving your ability which also relates to the discussion about social objects. How social networks or web apps should surround a certain social object such as cooking, fashion or sport in order to be successful and sustainable.
Many times it’s because we want to be better at certain tasks. When I go to a recipe site I do it because I want to learn new stuff or a new dish that I can benefit from there and then as well as later on. The same with fashion blogs & networks, game communities, movie networks and so on.
Ravelry is a knitting community that has a helluva lot of interesting stuff going on, they’re invite only and have about 120 000 members and over 3 000 on the waiting list. The team behind the site is very clear about what the purpose and why the community of Ravelry will help you get better at knitting. They’ve also taken the alternative route to funding by letting their passionate users make donations to help the site grow. 3 weeks and more than $70 000 later it’s a success. It also adds to the growing mass of evidence that making people better at what they do is a critical success factor for any social software.
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