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A talk about the information architecture of social networks when they go global: the cultural challenges etc...

A talk about the information architecture of social networks when they go global: the cultural challenges etc...

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  • Thanks for coming. About me: IA in London, New York, Belgium. Book about IA. Talk/writing about global IA.

Social networks going Global Social networks going Global Presentation Transcript

  • Social networks going global.
  • A little background theory .
  • Cultural standardization
  • “ Cultural standardization”
    • The myth that by spreading cultural artifacts & practices, culture around the world is becoming the same everywhere.
      • Examples: “Coca-cola-ization”, “The world is flat”, “The death of distance”, “The convergence of tastes” .
      • People give meaning to artifacts & practices.
  • Technological determinism
  • “ Technological determinism”
    • The myth that there is one path of technological evolution that we all follow, determined by technology itself.
      • Example: “We’re 10 years behind Japan in cellphone technology.”
      • Technology and culture interact, are co-created.
  • Global social networks.
  •  
  • Some numbers
    • Registered users (million)
    • Facebook: 60
    • QQ.com: 500
    • Cyworld: 20
    • Mixi: 14
    • Revenues 2007: (million US$)
    • Facebook: 150
    • QQ.com: 520
    • Cyworld: 200
    • Mixi: 100
  • Cyworld
  • It’s a cultural phenomenon.
    • “ My name is Kim Yoo Bin… I am 21 years old… I am Wonder Girls… I like Horror movies… I like pretty things… I’m…Truthfully…I…have a confession to make…
  • It’s a cultural phenomenon.
    • “ My name is Kim Yoo Bin… I am 21 years old… I am Wonder Girls… I like Horror movies… I like pretty things… I’m…Truthfully…I…have a confession to make… I am……. Snow White…. “
  • Features and culture
    • Environment:
      • Fast internet
      • Real identity.
      • No anonymous browsing.
    • Features:
      • The usual photo/video sharing, buddy lists, groups etc…
      • Avatar’s and 3-d homepages that you can decorate with items you buy.
      • You can write a “couple-diary” with your special someone (way too corny for US audience).
        • You can also write a group diary with your friends as many as 12.
      • You can “lend” comic books (online).
    • Cyworld evolved in South Korea.
    • Technology and users co-evolve.
  • Exporting culture/adapting features.
  • Features and culture: Nico Nico Douga vs. YouTube
  •  
  • How “Japanese” is Nico Nico Douga?
  •  
  • Webkare
  • Social networks on the move.
    • CyWorld
    USA South Korea Orkut is focusing on Brazil Brazil Japan Friendster is focusing on Asia Netlog Is moving (leaving their home market) Is expanding
  • Netlog’s strategy: add languages & smart localization.
  • Smart localization: KISS
    • Language based (not country based).
      • An easy to localize platform.
    • A smart global gateway.
    • Content prioritization.
      • Users see relevant content when logged in: users in their country, content in their language.
    • No local offices.
      • Community managers (students based in Gent) that speak the language.
  • Xing
  •  
  •  
  • Categories are cultural
  •  
  • Tags can be separated by the user’s default language
  • Crowdsourcing translations
  • Standardize, then localize
    • Go international (standardize)
    • After some time has passed, in some markets, go local
  • Users of the same service are not necessarily the same.
    • “ LiveJournal has decided that, in order to make certain that different communities are represented, there will be two user representatives in the Advisory Board. One will be elected to represent the Cyrillic language community and the other will represent the non-Cyrillic users.
  •  
  • Conclusions , if any.
  • Conclusions
    • Myth: technological determinism.
      • Users and technology co-evolve.
    • Myth: cultural standardization.
      • Users give meaning to features.
    • The world isn’t flat, it’s regional.
      • Some social networks seem too “local” for export.
      • Regional export tends to work.
  • How do social networks go global?
    • KISS the internationalization/localization:
      • Localize on language.
    • Content prioritization:
      • Users in your country, content in your language.
      • Keep tags separate per language, but users and content global.
    • Expand into culturally similar regions:
      • moving from Belgium to Spain is much easier than moving from the US to Korea.
      • If you do expand (like Cyworld) into a culturally different location, building a culturally mixed team is the first step, adjusting features is the second.
    • Features: standardize, then localize.
  • Tension between standardization and localization cannot be ignored, nor resolved.
    • Standardize
    • 1 feature set
    • Central offices
    • Rollout globally
    • Global processes
    • Localize
    • Separate feature sets
    • Local offices
    • Evolve separately
    • Local processes
  • 290s.com
  • Thank you. http://petervandijck.com