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The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Judith Donath

Kindle-Preis: EUR 28,65 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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For anyone with interest in this field, either as a technology designer or just as someone who loves beautiful technology, this is destined to become the definitive text. It is eloquent, well organized, and thorough... Those who share the author's principles of valuing beautiful and thought-provoking designs for their own sake will fall in love with this book. Those who are motivated to design platforms to generate profits or support analysis and decision-making will find value here, too, although they are unlikely to be completely won over by all of Donath's opinions on radical, creative design. Then again, this is a common characteristic of manifestoes. I don't expect Karl Marx planned to win over everyone with his manifesto, either. Science


Computers were first conceived as "thinking machines," but in the twenty-first century they have become social machines, online places where people meet friends, play games, and collaborate on projects. In this book, Judith Donath argues persuasively that for social media to become truly sociable media, we must design interfaces that reflect how we understand and respond to the social world. People and their actions are still harder to perceive online than face to face: interfaces are clunky, and we have less sense of other people's character and intentions, where they congregate, and what they do.Donath presents new approaches to creating interfaces for social interaction. She addresses such topics as visualizing social landscapes, conversations, and networks; depicting identity with knowledge markers and interaction history; delineating public and private space; and bringing the online world's open sociability into the physical world. Donath asks fundamental questions about how we want to live online and offers thought-provoking designs that explore radically new ways of interacting and communicating.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 38444 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 432 Seiten
  • Verlag: The MIT Press (23. Mai 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00KMJ48MU
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #476.953 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  4 Rezensionen
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A beautiful book, a key set of concepts, a veritable textbook for building better online spaces 1. Juli 2014
Von Ethan Zuckerman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
(Disclosure - Judith Donath is an admired friend, and I have had the pleasure of talking to her about this book over the years she's worked to craft it.)

The internet allows us to interact with other people in ways that were previously impossible. We can be virtually present with people who are continents away, interact with groups larger than could fit in any room or carry out clandestine conversations in the midst of a public discussion. While these new forms of interaction of possible, they're not always comfortable - we are still learning how to take part in these digital spaces and designers are still learning how to build spaces we understand and navigate.

Judith Donath has been thinking about these problems since she was an undergraduate at MIT's Media Lab in the early 1990s, before the rise of the graphical Web. As a student and then a celebrated professor at the Media Lab, she worked on dozens of systems to visualize online social interactions and make visible subtle, but important, human dynamics like turn-taking in conversations. Her work, and the work of her students, has influenced the design of online community systems for the past two decades.

The Social Machine is both a tour through this work and the work of other designers of social media systems, as well as a set of principles for design of online spaces. Judith urges us to consider the "legibility" on online spaces, the challenges users have in understanding what's possible in these systems and how they should interact with them. This insistence on clarity and simplicity over innovation for innovation's sake characterizes the designs she showcases and serves as a critical principle for all designers of online interactions.

One of Donath's most important points is the need to move "beyond being there". She is critical of online spaces that slavishly recreate the details of physical spaces as a way of signifying how people should behave online - i.e., why create a virtual desk with chairs to signify a meeting room if there's no need to sit in the virtual space? (She's not a big fan of Second Life or other virtual realities that mimic the offline.) Freed from the design cliche of mimicking the physical world, Donath demonstrates that we can make visible other aspects of online communication, offering spaces for conversation and interaction that are richer than are available in physical space.

Concepts like "beyond being there" are the key reason for reading this book - Donath has thought through these ideas in great detail and used her insights to design innovative systems. These ways of approaching design problems will bear fruit for other designers and programmers, and the head start she offers in unpacking these complex problems is a gift for people just starting to ponder the implications of these spaces. The directions these insights can lead in is most visible in Donath's work on portraiture, considering the ways in which we construct portraits of ourselves and others based on data we share and suppress. In an examination that considers both the portrayal of characters in multiplayer online games to the beautiful artistic interventions Donath and collaborators have undertaken, she offers a language and set of concepts likely to be deeply helpful to anyone else exploring the space of profiles and online representation.

The Social Machine is a beautiful object - it is replete with illustrations of the projects Donath is reflection on, her own and those from the broader technical and artistic world. It's deeply satisfying to flip through, looking for provocation and inspiration. It's at least as rewarding for those who dig into the close examination Donath offers of her own work, the work of students, peers and of legendary artists, illustrating a set of concepts helpful for anyone who cares about the future of online spaces.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A beautiful challenge to design truly social objects 12. Juli 2014
Von David Weinberger - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Judith Donath (disclosure: she's a colleague and friend) has written a beautiful book that poses a profound question to designers: How can we create digital, social objects that enable and encourage us to be together in fruitful and fully human ways? She brings to this discussion a vast knowledge of the field, her years of working with talented students, her own experiments and projects, and an underlying set of concepts -- signaling theory -- that bring a coherence to all of this.

Donath is a skilled observer and analyst, enabling her to explore what old concepts, such as portraiture, mean in the digital, networked age. In thinking through the transposition of old forms to the new networked medium, she brings us to a deeper understanding of the old, while challenging us to take responsibility for the social effects of our new design decisions.

The book is full of provocative examples, many illustrated with color photographs. For that reason, this is a book that should be held in the hand, not read on a black-and-white Kindle.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fantastic book about social interface design - even for non-designers. 15. Juli 2014
Von Rey Junco - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Donath (who is a colleague and friend) writes an engaging and wonderful book on how to design online social spaces. Donath inspired me to think about the difficulty in designing user interfaces that are innovative, legible, and socially beneficial. Donath begins the book by explaining how difficult it was to create a whois interface that made sense in the early days of networked computers. This thread is continued as a metaphor throughout-- how do we represent space, place, and person online? As a person who is not a designer (and quite far from it I may add), the examples and explanations throughout the book were incredibly vivid and easy to understand. Indeed, Donath excels here- bringing all audiences along the path of learning how we visualize things offline and how they can be represented online. Her explanations of interface design made me realize how difficult it is to develop and refine the social interfaces we take for granted today like Facebook and Twitter and how these designs have been shaped by their predecessors. Donath asks and astutely answers the question "How do online spaces accurately capture and represent the nuance and dynamics of the offline world?" There are wonderful examples throughout showing how humans use metaphors to think about time, space, and money and how metaphors can be applied in the social interface design process. She reminds us that there can be a lot of values inherent in interface design-- and one of the funnier examples was when she discusses how CERN scientists used Comic Sans in their presentation announcing the discovery of the Higgs boson. Was it an intentional design decision (probably not)? This book is a wonderful read for non-designers and designers alike and should be required reading for all graduate degrees in digital design.
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Warning: Not useful outside a university campus 28. September 2014
Von Harald Groven - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
If you are writing a thesis in media studies or sociology and need a reference to an updated work on the most current theories of social media, this book is probably perfect.
However if you are a practitioner building websites (like me) or a large (pro-/con-)sumer of social media, this books offer nothing but theories, theories and more theories. There is nearly no (new) empirical data. A lot of examples, many of the exiting, but half of them well known and possible worn out if you have read books in the same genre.
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