Building a Healthy Planet in the Inter-verse
Today’s Internet users seem to cluster most around community driven sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and IGN.com like moons around a spinning planet. A planet, taking Earth as the best example, is essentially a system of interconnecting processes that run parallel with each other, ebbing and flowing in a perfectly synchronized harmonious rhythm on a spherical interface. Effectively, this rhythm gives the planet the ability to support active life. A community website, in comparison is very similar. These sites are filled with user-generated conversations and content that simultaneously runs in and out of the system at a constant rate. The purpose of operating a social media and community driven website in the first place is to become the harbiture of a specific kind of information, than engineering the power of the community around this information to help sell a product, a service, or build a brand image.
To properly construct a working system, the site must not only mimic the emotional experiences of real life social situations but create an arena, so to speak, in which the user’s actions on the site is cyclical; meaning that the user’s experience on the site doesn’t stop in any one direction. To illustrate the point further, on a planet, if a person heads due east he’ll eventually wind up where he started; however, he will certainly have an interesting and long story to tell about who he met and what he did along the way. He may have stopped at many different places, as opposed to if he trav elled to one location, met one person, and went directly back home. Considering this, now compare a web experience of a person who travels along the many roads of Facebook versus the one stop shop experience at a site like Bestbuy.com. One can assume that the time on Facebook far outweighs the time on Bestbuy’s non-community driven site.
So taking all this into account, it can be deduced that community sites that maintain activity on a consistent basis simulate the three basic components that support life on a planet: a functional stable core and adaptable landscape (the functionalities of the online application), an atmosphere with breathable air (the content inputted into the site), and an interconnected network of rivers and bodies of water (user actions and behaviors). Taking this planetary metaphor and changing it into a development process is quite simple. Start with the core and layer the rest of the components over it over time.