As the maintainer of the Facebook-style Statuses module for the Drupal content management system, I like to read around the web and see what kinds of statistics and innovations I can find on comparable systems. This week, there was a gold mine that indicates that the "status movement" is going to grow its already expansive online presence exponentially.
I recently compiled a list of things that increase the "wow" factor in a website theme, in anticipation of building a new theme for one of my websites.
To illustrate the point made in my last blog post, I'd like to offer some visual representations of the burst in social media adoption within Drupal. To start, here's the usage chart (with outliers corrected) for my Facebook-style Statuses module for Drupal. The figures shown in the chart are estimated to be about half of the actual adoption rate because of the way the figures are collected.
The social networking scene has been evolving over the last few years. Today, Facebook's 250 million users demonstrate beyond doubt that social networking is an important movement, and one that Drupal should pay special attention to as it evolves. But social networks are a different animal than conventional websites, and one must understand the differences in order to build a successful social network.
I was recently asked to download a series of images from a remote server. The image URLs were not known ahead of time, so to figure them out, I had to submit a search form, parse the results for a way to determine the file name, and then download the images onto the local server.
I spend a lot of time on the internet, but most of it is not your typical webgeek stuff. Yeah, I do a lot of programming and webdesign, but I don't browse 4chan or 7chan or even youtube. I've recently discovered the webcomic xkcd, however, and although I occasionally miss some of the Jurassic Park/Star Trek humor, most of the other ones are hilarious. This one in particular strikes me as the most clever comic I've seen in quite awhile. To give you an idea of my sophistication in that area, I read Garfield, Dilbert, and Doonesbury daily.
I had never read any Emerson at the time; in fact, I would come to live my life by contrasting policies. But standing in the doorway of the dorm room at Duke where I would spend the next month, I had a realization that could not have been better expressed by anyone but Emerson: "always do what you are afraid to do." It was a moment not of selfish individualism, like much of Emerson's dissertations, but of zen: I recognized that the cumulative effect of my 14 years of life experience meant that I knew exactly how to behave if I wanted to do something I had never been bold enough to try before. All I had to do was cast aside my lack of confidence and step up to the plate.
I've been working on a module for BabelUp lately called user_deco. It allows users to add images ("decos") to the site, and then "buy" them using a point system (userpoints). The decos are then added to the user's profile. It's a great way to encourage community participation, because decos are a fun way to "spend" userpoints (known as BabelPoints on BabelUp) and userpoints are gained for contributing content on the site.