Although a takeaway from mid-century psychology, I think it maps nicely to understanding online spaces. A distillation of one of Roger Barker’s early insights, from “Our Town“:
The repercussions for psychology seemed profound: if you wanted to know how people were behaving, it was less important to know who they were than where they were. An individual’s emotions, motivations, and life history were secondary to his or her location. A school wasn’t just some classsrooms and a gym, but a context whose physical layout and social forces shaped — or, in Barker’s stronger langauge, “coerced” — the actions of the students.
The Kano model is a theory of product development that has a great way to describe user’s reaction to product features as well as help prioritize feature development. Of course, it is neatly flattened and visualized with two axes. I’ll take the upper right quadrant, thanks.
The enabling features aren’t obvious and evident, because the key was getting rid of stuff.
– Jonathan Ive, on designing the iPod [Wired]
The idea is that different types of online social relationships drive different levels of engagement. Whereas getting a lot of people to watch your youtube videos will encourage you to post more, you’re likely to get even a greater productivity boost if a lot of your actual friends favorite or comment on your videos.
Luke Wroblewski leaves it with a guess on why this is often the case:
So actual friends (real relationships) are more likely to encourage contribution. Perhaps we can blame this on the 0-1-2 effect which states that the probability of joining an activity when two friends have done it is significantly more than twice the probability of doing it when only one has done so.