Gavin Bell Toc09 Long Tail Needs Community Sm
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Gavin Bell Toc09 Long Tail Needs Community Sm

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How publishers can move beyond book sales and start running services which draw together the communities of people who have read the books they publish. ...

How publishers can move beyond book sales and start running services which draw together the communities of people who have read the books they publish.
The talk focuses on user experience design concepts and references activity theory as a strong future model.

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  • 1. The Long Tail needs Community Gavin Bell Tools of Change 2009 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Hi I’m going to talk about how supporting community and social interaction will be beneficial if not essential to publishers in the next few years. I will be sharing my slides after the talk, so enjoy the pretty pictures. http://www.flickr.com/photos/artcriminal/1249601513/sizes/l/
  • 2. Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/paopix/194178681/sizes/l/ How do we get beyond simple purchasing data to see behaviour around books How much social activity there is currently around reading How to make applications that extend the scope for activity around your books I think it is possible to build services that extend the relationship that you have with the people who buy your books. This talk is focused on non-fiction and not the blockbuster books, but the thousands of other books.
  • 3. • Beyond purchasing Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/paopix/194178681/sizes/l/ How do we get beyond simple purchasing data to see behaviour around books How much social activity there is currently around reading How to make applications that extend the scope for activity around your books I think it is possible to build services that extend the relationship that you have with the people who buy your books. This talk is focused on non-fiction and not the blockbuster books, but the thousands of other books.
  • 4. • Beyond purchasing • Social activity Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/paopix/194178681/sizes/l/ How do we get beyond simple purchasing data to see behaviour around books How much social activity there is currently around reading How to make applications that extend the scope for activity around your books I think it is possible to build services that extend the relationship that you have with the people who buy your books. This talk is focused on non-fiction and not the blockbuster books, but the thousands of other books.
  • 5. • Beyond purchasing • Social activity • Creating applications Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/paopix/194178681/sizes/l/ How do we get beyond simple purchasing data to see behaviour around books How much social activity there is currently around reading How to make applications that extend the scope for activity around your books I think it is possible to build services that extend the relationship that you have with the people who buy your books. This talk is focused on non-fiction and not the blockbuster books, but the thousands of other books.
  • 6. The Long Tail 3 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Long_tail.svg You must all know about the long tail Those endless shelves of plenty A product for everyone, no matter their taste There is some question over its validity, does the internet just create blockbusters
  • 7. Is it just Fat Head? 4 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Is it all fat head, the mainstream 20% of the market that makes the sales. You know the truth to this, as you make the books http://www.flickr.com/photos/xrm0/2479540688/sizes/o/ I’m not going to debate the merits of economic theory, but I think that The long tail will still accounts for a substantial chunk of your business Support for this comes from Google book search and back list sales
  • 8. Musical stories 5 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/2283392272/sizes/l/ Music is where a lot of this started, certainly a lot of the advanced behaviours come from the music area, so what can we learn from this space. Who wouldn’t want to own a iTunes like store?
  • 9. iTunes 6 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 iTunes does a lot more than allow for sale of music. Tracking listening habits Managing playlists, helped drive random access to music Genius recommendations Music almost always gets consumed. How many of you have an un-listened to album? And an unread book, more than 10, 50?
  • 10. Last.fm 7 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Tracking listening behaviour Show lastgraph, this shows my listening activity for October last year. Social tools too, radio based on your friends tastes. Music is easy to aggregate, as it is largely digital, we are frequently online when we are listening to it or our devices can remember what we listened to for us.
  • 11. Aggregation of behaviour 8 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Show fireeagle / dopplr- where I have been What I have taken pictures of from flickr What I have listened to via last.fm What I have said on twitter
  • 12. Aggregation of behaviour 8 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Show fireeagle / dopplr- where I have been What I have taken pictures of from flickr What I have listened to via last.fm What I have said on twitter
  • 13. Aggregation of behaviour 8 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Show fireeagle / dopplr- where I have been What I have taken pictures of from flickr What I have listened to via last.fm What I have said on twitter
  • 14. Aggregation of behaviour 8 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Show fireeagle / dopplr- where I have been What I have taken pictures of from flickr What I have listened to via last.fm What I have said on twitter
  • 15. Digital is easier 9 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackbeltjones/3199655294/sizes/l/ This is the travel site dopplr, the annual report represents the travels for a person, in this case a mock using real data for President Obama. Digital can be remembered, annotated, tracked, located and stored Then processed, visualised and used in clever ways However the tools from one area do not apply easily to another. A last.fm or iTunes or Flickr for books will be a dismal failure
  • 16. Dusty tomes? 10 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://flickr.com/photos/beesparkle/111324645/ So what does this mean for books? Are they a lost cause? To twist the knife a bit more, people listen to albums many times Several of the tracks on this computer I’ve listened to 50-60 times. None of you can boast those re-reading rates for books
  • 17. Making reading work harder 11 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/midiman/284804050/sizes/l/ Reading a book takes time, we need to reward readers for reading. Reading the book changes them But we also need to get their opinions, suggestions and recommendations from them How can we connect a happy reader with another book we sell? An eternal question. Can we help our readers by sca!olding the experience and making it social Every book has a unique audience of people who have read it, these people have something in common and may wish to discuss or use the materials in the book with one another. Book groups are one example of this.
  • 18. Ebooks? 12 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tnkgrl/2555922960/sizes/l/ Ebooks, whether downloadable PDF or Kindle O!er a brave new world of potential reading surveillance (kindly meant) Will you be able to get the reading data behind this activity. We can start to understand if the interface to the content we have created is appropriate and e!ective. The New York Times constantly refine and test the layout and navigation on their site, we do this once with our books, yet both are textual information. Or will this be the same as PDF and iTunes and will you be disintermediated? This post sale behavioural data is really useful, we have the potential to get it finally, but only if you as publishers demand access to it from the vendors O’Reilly’s Safari and other online content services do give you this high level of trackability, but this is not the dominant form, yet
  • 19. Connected open platforms 13 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bispham2/1415787067/sizes/o/ There is a huge potential here I think for an open platform for reading books, connected to the normal internet. Some interesting developments are the Stanza reader on the iPhone I’d certainly want to know about reading behaviour on this device (how much, how far, repeat, what else in catalog, there are dozens of datapoints) [Yes it is all about the catalog]
  • 20. 14 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/53264755@N00/2782983222/sizes/o/ Having excited you with talk of ebooks and whatnot. Lets return to the world of $10 and $20 paperbacks and not $360 toys. Given that clever data capture tools which exist in the digital world will be slow(er) to come to the world of printed books, what can we do to support community endeavours. We’ll need to work harder as the data won’t come for free, like it does with music.
  • 21. Out of print books 15 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ices-Definitive-Guide-Caroline-Liddell/dp/1898697264/ This book is out of print There are many like it How would you know that this book is in demand Google Book Search will help How did something that is in demand go out of print? People are willing to pay more than the original price for this book secondhand Print on demand looks like it will help here, that is true, How can you make use of the fact that this is a popular book, despite its age and scarcity. How can you harness the interest from the community generated by the publication of this book.
  • 22. Social Reading 16 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cobra/5465955/sizes/o/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cobra/5465940/sizes/o/ By publishing books you are already creating communities, the purchasers of your books. If your relationship ends at the till, you are missing out. Cars get servicing, Computers get software updates Books do get errata, but most people never see them I think it is possible to develop a longer term relationship with the purchasers and readers of your books. These annotations show the desire to explore and understand content, the prose is Joyce’s Ulysses in case you are curious
  • 23. Authorship 17 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/fil/247295019/sizes/l/ Writing a book takes time [I know I’m nearly finished mine] The process of authorship is social, the myth of the writer in their garret on their own is just that. We discuss and get feedback on our books as we write. Some of us will keep it private. Generally this is a private process amongst friends, but it is moving online
  • 24. Social Authorship 18 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Nice feedback on books before print, community involvement can be really positive with the odd brickbat. Can lead to increased sales, certainly helps with the reputation of the book. I think this model would work brilliantly with travel and cookery.
  • 25. Readers 19 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/pensiero/1473000980/sizes/o/ What can readers themselves bring. Recommendations on the basis of actually having read the content, as opposed to simply purchasing it. We need to build tools to support their interactions They are capable of creating content, they want to share information, they have the tools to do this now, just like you and I do. Why shouldn’t the relationship become two way
  • 26. More than just talk 20 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aldoaldoz/2833634876/sizes/l/ We’ve all see enough simple message boards. A message board is no longer enough, a little pen for people to be herded inside to talk You are not doing community / social media with one of these Neither is having a facebook app, a twitter account or an iPhone app* *Insert latest fad I’m going to walk you through how you figure out what you can build We will look at how we can extend the interaction beyond a simple review.
  • 27. Content 21 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Traditionally this is your domain, gradually it is moving away from the confines of a perfect bound book into book shaped objects as Erin McKean would describe them http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/93819794/sizes/l/ Photo of the “On the road” manuscript by Jack Kerouac Putting your content online so that others can link to it and build upon it is an important next step in terms of how we can sca!old the relationship between the people who have read the book. They need some common frame of reference in order to be able to find one another and start to form relationships. A page in a publishers catalog is not enough, we can do better than that.
  • 28. Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Kodak allowing good and bad reviews of their products right on their own site Default is to show the good reviews, but dig deeper and the bad ones are there too With responses from Kodak addressing the complaints, not deleted or censored.
  • 29. Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Kodak allowing good and bad reviews of their products right on their own site Default is to show the good reviews, but dig deeper and the bad ones are there too With responses from Kodak addressing the complaints, not deleted or censored.
  • 30. Activity 23 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 What kinds of thing are we going to host, the interactions with a book can be much richer than a three line review. We need to figure out the activities that our readers perform. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nebneb/101601957/sizes/l/ Unless you been inside one or heard of a pillowfight, this might seem like an odd picture, the same is true of much social software. What is Flickr about - At first glance it is photography Look deeper and it is pure social interaction, conversation and friendship. Twitter is hard to get as it is seemingly a conversation between millions of people at once, a real tower of babel. Again at a distance it is noise, but on the inside it is people’s real lives and activity. Understanding the kind of activity that is appropriate for each section of your published catalog is vital. There is not a single appropriate social model for all book interactions. Programming books, travel, cookery and romances will have di!erent needs.
  • 31. Objects 24 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 These are the objects we are familiar with, the ones we sell. But what do our readers use these objects to create. The activities that our books help them to achieve result in a enormous variety of other objects being created These will be the basis for rich and deep social applications Where are the woodworking / cookery / wine tasting applications connecting the objects in people’s lives with the content we generate and the conversation around both What is most interesting is the stu! that stems from the reaction to the content in the book, not necessarily the reaction to the book. Capturing this second order activity gives you the basis for long term engagement
  • 32. Verbs 25 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/76301418@N00/109909940/ What makes these applications rich and deep is their fit. We are in the early days of these kinds of applications. We have seen ones which cling closely to the major media types. Flickr for photography etc If we can frame the kinds of activity that will spring from our books and build tools to help manage the objects that the books will manifest then the last part is understanding what kinds of interactions we need to support online. I describe these as the verbs of the application. Largely they are the interactions that happen between fellow readers on the site. The primary relationship should be reader to reader, publishers do not need to be the focus of the attention, not do we need to mediate it, manage it yes, but I’ll come to that. Analyse the things that will come from people using the content in your book and you will see the actions they will be able to perform online together.
  • 33. Social objects 26 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 If we can support this way of thinking then we will be supporting our readers in their lives, acting out based on what our books have helped them to achieve, in return they will share with us their own objects. -- These are often called social objects. The photos earlier from my flickr stream where not just pictures. They where my photos of things that have meaning in my life. They have connection with my friends. Each of them has a content specific set of actions that I and my friends can carry out on the objects. It is important to understand this and determine the appropriate actions for your domain. we need to think in terms of the social life of each object, prior and post action. There can also be multiple actions eg recommendation, purchase, listen, lend Jyri Engeström - social objects Dan Hill - social life of a broadcast
  • 34. Activity centred design and Activity theory 27 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 The science bit !! There is a great body of research looking at understanding these contextual social relationships. Two examples - the Don Norman activity centred design, a good improvement on a pure user centred design approach. This takes an internal information processing view of the world and looks at individual goal driven actions. Don’s suggestion in 2005 broadened the scope to include a wider activity based analysis See hcd considered harmful http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/human-centered.html Activity theory - A psychological model of how we act, respecting our social interaction with others and capacity for development. Derived from a new model of consciousness, one that accommodates the social nature of ourselves. Personally I’m really excited about this area, it will lead to great advances in how we develop the social web. The social object ideas spring from here and its science background makes it robust. See Acting with Technology series from MIT press http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11004
  • 35. People 28 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 The people who have read your book are not all the same, they will have read many di!erent books, perhaps many from you or just one or two Make sure though that you don’t have them create an account per business division so that you push the work of identity management onto them. Recognise them as the same individual across all of your properties, from login to cookies they are the same person, even across di!erent devices. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/613445810/sizes/l/ The role of the community manager will become as vital as that of editor. This change is happening in news media already. Valuing the reader becomes an important aspect. A simple language change can help I always refer to the people coming to nature.com as our readers, never users. They have a role on our site, user neuters any context rending them like numbers. Give them a profile page, let them discover and interact with one another.
  • 36. Community management 29 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/19686358/sizes/l/ People don’t come here because the table clothes are yellow. They come for a range of things, but the decor isn’t the one. Running a community website is much like running a bar. There are people who own the place, people who run it and the customers. Generally the interaction is pretty lightweight. Think of your sites as a bar and you’ll realise that they require a lot of upkeep and support after launch.
  • 37. Sharing 30 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/snapeverything/3096012196/sizes/l/ Make those nouns and their actions opportunities to share. Turning lumps of text into meaningful objects that people can have social interactions around can shift you from being a supplier to being a service provider. Creating easy a!ordances so that people can build on top of your content and share these creations gives people a reason to return to you. This is possible in many areas, travel, hobbies, sport, cookery, it is harder in fiction, but the fanfic movement shows it is possible even there.
  • 38. Discoverability 31 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 The last part of this jigsaw is making this content discoverable. http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulthewineguy/2329382156/sizes/l/ There are two sides to that. Personally relevant, things my friends have made or said Interesting, generally the good stu! should float to the top. But top of what? Search queries, groups, tags – any of the metadata used to describe this content should be allowed to acts as a means of surfacing new great content.
  • 39. Integration 32 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Once people have these social objects they will want to put them elsewhere on the web. Create an API so that people can repurpose their content on their site. Support common standards like OpenID and OAuth. Integrate with other services as appropriate, eg Twitter.
  • 40. Recipes 33 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/orangejon/2132468807/sizes/l/ A quick example, I like cooking. Imagine you had a catalogue of recipe books. How might you take these and turn them into useful social objects, but maybe not give away all of the content for free? V1 - buy these book, because other people bought them (amazon model), good but impersonal V2 - list books you own and find people like you (a personal layer on top of book sales) V3 - recipes I cooked (music tracks also), list and rate specific recipes, main ingredients (about cooking and people) Notice the shift from Book purchasing to similar people to actual cooking and social interaction. Perhaps allowing commenting and suggested alterations to the recipe? Ingredients etc become the entry points to the recipies
  • 41. 34 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/spursfan_ace/2328879637/sizes/l/ “user driven media” IFTF Bob Stein What I’m proposing is a shift towards reader interaction. Publishers are still valuable as subject specialists. The slow shift towards digital books and the rising expectations of our readership should be pushing publishers towards developing a richer relationship. Yet change is hard and we are strongly resistant to it.
  • 42. Brokering relationships 35 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/66164549@N00/2831868995/ Many publisher brands have got themselves into this position There is no voice to represent the brand anymore. Give it individuality and draw authors to this unique identity It works in travel and technical books, so why not elsewhere? Tie back into the long tail and community Brand vs imprint vs author Many of your own brands are impersonal, your need to make these something to relate to make your distinctive imprint brand part of the fat head. support your author for sure, but the relationship between author, brand and publisher can find a firm basis in the activities which spring from the books, rather than being tied to the book.
  • 43. • You know your role is changing • Build meaningful relationships • Think service not sale • Let your content become building blocks • Engage with the activity in your community Takeaways 36 Wednesday, February 11, 2009 http://flickr.com/photos/johnwesleybarker/215488418/sizes/o/ Engaging with the people who live in the long tail should lead to longer term relationships and better content being generated, some of that will become books you can sell again.
  • 44. flickr.com/photos/artcriminal/1249601513 flickr.com/photos/paopix/194178681 flickr.com/photos/xrm0/2479540688 flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/2283392272 flickr.com/photos/blackbeltjones/3199655294 flickr.com/photos/beesparkle/111324645/ flickr.com/photos/midiman/284804050 flickr.com/photos/tnkgrl/2555922960 flickr.com/photos/bispham2/1415787067 flickr.com/photos/53264755@N00/2782983222 flickr.com/photos/cobra/5465955 flickr.com/photos/cobra/5465940 flickr.com/photos/fil/247295019 flickr.com/photos/pensiero/1473000980 flickr.com/photos/aldoaldoz/2833634876 flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/93819794 flickr.com/photos/nebneb/101601957 flickr.com/photos/76301418@N00/109909940/ flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/613445810 flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/19686358 flickr.com/photos/orangejon/2132468807 flickr.com/photos/snapeverything/3096012196 flickr.com/photos/paulthewineguy/2329382156 flickr.com/photos/smudie/2724935036/ flickr.com/photos/spursfan_ace/2328879637 flickr.com/photos/66164549@N00/2831868995/ flickr.com/photos/johnwesleybarker/215488418 Thanks for the photos 37 Wednesday, February 11, 2009
  • 45. If you want to continue this discussion: gavinbell.com, me@gavinbell.com twitter.com/zzgavin slideshare.net/gavin Building Social Web Applications will be published this summer, isbn 0-596-51875-7 Thanks 38 Wednesday, February 11, 2009