TechHui

Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

Hi all,

Ning is great for socializing, but with time, I keep bumping against 'good to have' features that it does not have. For example, I would love to have 'Export to PDF' feature for blogs. Another useful one is 'Save Blog/Forum as Google Doc'.

Comparing Ning with Facebook and Google, I also like 'Liking', 'rating', and 'starring' posts for later access. This way it is possible to sort content by the amount of responses it gets, thus making useful information easier to search and access.

So I was wondering, if anyone had any more ideas about features they are missing or would like to see in their favorite social networking app?

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It would really scratch my itch on ANY system if there's a "Recent Activity" sidebar block, with My Favorites, My Starred Items, or My Tagged Items; along with a Search feature within the items contained within the Recent Activity block. And for goodness sake, allow me the ability to sort and reorder the items in such lists.

Call this a "Personal Parking Lot" if you will -- but I really want a way to organize useful content for later retrieval, and this is how I'd prefer to do it.

Without such a feature, I'm stuck with Firefox Bookmarks or Delicious Bookmarks (via Firefox Toolbar); and I'm really not all too happy with either of those. (I'm open to suggestions!)

Social Networks get cluttered with content quickly, and there's nothing that ticks me off more than "Searching" or paginating back within the system to find an article that I came across only days before. System-Wide Tags don't work; and System-Wide Ratings don't work. It's got to have displayability and searchability within your own personalized tags/ratings/starring.
Good search. I can't ever find what I'm looking for in Tech Hui. Drives me nuts.

Ken
Yeah, I've always thought that everything on the page should be an object that you can perform many different operations on: copying, referencing, to_image(), etc, etc

There's still a lot of innovation that can happen in web browsers, web applications, etc, imo.


Laurence A. Lee said:
It would really scratch my itch on ANY system if there's a "Recent Activity" sidebar block, with My Favorites, My Starred Items, or My Tagged Items; along with a Search feature within the items contained within the Recent Activity block. And for goodness sake, allow me the ability to sort and reorder the items in such lists.

Call this a "Personal Parking Lot" if you will -- but I really want a way to organize useful content for later retrieval, and this is how I'd prefer to do it.

Without such a feature, I'm stuck with Firefox Bookmarks or Delicious Bookmarks (via Firefox Toolbar); and I'm really not all too happy with either of those. (I'm open to suggestions!)

Social Networks get cluttered with content quickly, and there's nothing that ticks me off more than "Searching" or paginating back within the system to find an article that I came across only days before. System-Wide Tags don't work; and System-Wide Ratings don't work. It's got to have displayability and searchability within your own personalized tags/ratings/starring.
One of the most frequent actions I perform on the web - whether through email or social networks - is sharing links of interesting stuff I've come across.

If personal expression is increasingly about lowering the barrier to taking action (starting a website>blogging>tumblelog>twitter), it would be nice to have a "share link" function within a group; then all the shared links could be aggregated in a coulumn/box within the group (and all shared links from all groups could be meta-aggregated up to the social network's homepage ).

1. This would enable a low-pain threshold method of generating activity.
2. Depending on the configuration of the meta-aggregation box on the site homepage, it could drive users to discover new groups within the site.

Although sharing a link could functionally be accomplished within a status update box in some respects, it really is different conceptually as a share link function could be restricted to groups and thereby allow a user to post specific messages to specific groups; what a user wants to share with the Web Designers group will likely be different from what she wants to share with either Maui Techies or Renewable Energy Professionals ... status updates tend to be generalized broadcast updates specific to a user but applied across a site.

More ideas to follow...
While arranging a panel speaker event a number of years ago, my colleague said: "the best conferences, speakers, and events generate some heat". To amplify the quote - you need contrasting opinion; some friction; some opposing viewpoints. Agreementfests are boring. So are solitary opinions cast into the wind.

With that in mind, it would be cool to have a "debate" content-type. Sort of like a text analogue to http://bloggingheads.tv/. Like bloggingheads, the content type doesn't necessarily entail creating a platform for flame wars. Debate needn't be disrespectful.

Lots of potentially useful applications - I'm thinking particularly of scholastic and professional community groups. Blogging as a platform sometimes cedes too much respect to the poster (I wonder if this is even more pronounced in non-Western cultures). With a "debate" content structure, differing viewpoints are baked in. Right now, the only way to "safely" solicit opinion is through the blunt tool of a poll. A debate structure could generate more thoughtful discussion on a topic/issue by inoculating users from the negative consequences they might fear would result from voicing a different viewpoint - since a differing viewpoint has already been voiced - the activity has been rendered safe.
Two random points (sorry for the multiple posts so far, but I figure it would be easier to organize discussion and improve readability if I broke the thoughts out across multiple comments):

1. I think the Public Square platform does a good job of recognizing thoughtful, constructive, and active users:

See:
http://boxesandarrows.com/person/9711-mattcclarke
http://boxesandarrows.com/people

2. What about a content type for questions? Yahoo Answers and Mahalo Questions seem to be very popular applications. Again, having a content type specified as "Questions" lowers the bar to activity by vaccinating users from the fear of sounding dumb or ignorant. I suppose people feel safe asking questions within a listserv so maybe the feature wouldn't be as useful if that feature is available - but few, if any, online group platforms offer a good listserv function akin to that available in Google groups.

Konstantin, this very post is a question - but this type of post is very rare on Techhui, I think precisely because people don't feel comfortable posing questions within a blog/forum type environment. So my thought is that it's necessary to have either a listserv or Questions feature.
Thank you everyone for you ideas! I think the future of online social networking is shaped by features that current active users value as being most useful/desired. I also agree with Gabe, since a lot of 'socializing' depends on how 'comfortable' people are with using some features over others. Given this probable fact, a possibility for anonymous/avatar posts/responses/questionaires could actually add more useful content to networks without exposing author as being 'dumb or ignorant'. Network admins should probably still maintain 'view author' privileges for all posts, simply to make sure that all content is well filtered.
I truly believe that social networking is in its infancy stages right now, and will be evolving globally and exponentially over years. It certainly is exciting to be on the front-row seats, actively participating and witnessing this 'social evolution' taking place, in real time.

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