Feedback on NetPosse
Recently I was trying to create account(s) in NetPosse and testing its features. I really like its simple design and think it will be a very powerful tool for community building and social networking in the Teachers College community. Here are some other thoughts on how to make it more powerful:
There are two main aspects of social networking tools: 1) people search and 2) building or maintaining relationship through online interactions. While the original version states NetPosse as a social networking application in general, I notice the updated version Jeannie demonstrated yesterday has a short statement that clearly conveys NetPosse's emphasis on people search.
The purposes of people search in the TC community might range from finding members for dissertation writing group, certification exam study group, Psychology GRE study group to searching faculty members with expertise in a specific area, TC members from certain region/country, etc. We can further brainstorm creatively about how TC members will use NetPosse to find people, and these ideas will contribute to the design of the Search and About Me page. For instance, NetPosse can accommodate task-oriented needs of people search (e.g. study group) in some formats in both Search page (e.g. an additional category for special group search) and About Me page (e.g. add a “I'm here for…” box ), though incorporating more functions and keeping the user interface simple and intuitive might be a challenge.
The effectiveness of NetPosse depends partly on how people upload their individual information. In a sense, users can enhance the intelligence of the system. Thus, we might want to have a short tutorial video explaining briefly how the system operates (how it choose keywords, how these keywords are weighted, etc.) and instructing users to enter information in a manner that helps the system effectively target what users want. For instance, if a user doesn't think sharing common educational background is important for him/her when searching people, he can just skip that part in “About Me” to avoid that factor being weighted in Suggested Network.
Current design of member list in Suggested Network will change dynamically based on any revision of he About Me section and the entry of new members. It's great to let users see who the best match is for them currently, but it would be helpful if users can also keep a record of people they were previously interested in and group/tag them in some format for later review (Ting has a similar suggestion in her earlier comment).
Maintaining and building relationship through online interactions seems not to be the emphasis of NetPosse, but adding popular social networking options such as FaceBook, LinkIn in both About Me and Suggested Network would be convenient for users who want to further interact with suggested TC members.
We can consider allowing people to make part of their information in About Me public, so others can view basic background of them. Currently only members with individual webpages elsewhere and upload the web address into the NetPosse can be viewed further in the system.
I don't really know faculty member's need of people searching within TC community and don't have ideas how to make them buy into this tool. We need to know more about their needs, or alternatively we can create account for them using information from TC website.