Steps for Optimal Social Intelligence Design

by Robert M
This article, entitled “Social Intelligence Design for the Web,” written by Toyoaki Nishida, first goes into the steps that the author feels are necessary for creating a successfully designed intelligent social network. As described in the article, the primary concerns when designing an intelligent social web application are “establishing a social context, embodied conversational agents, collaboration design, public discourse, and social intelligence evaluations” (Nishida, 2002, p. 37-38). Afterward, the article goes into the state of current technology and how the design steps above can be implemented using it. However, the article is 10 years old, which is ancient in the time stream of the internet, so much of what is written about is already commonplace on the web. On the flip side, that doesn’t make it any less true, so the article is still very much valid. It then discusses the two types of implementation for social websites, defined therein as Broadcast-Based Approach (essentially a Tweet, or Facebook status update), or Agent-based approach (creating an online persona for discourse; forum posts). Lastly, Nishida briefly lists the technical issues surrounding the implementation tactics described above. They are listed as “content creation, content-interaction conversion, interaction management, and evaluation” (2002, pg. 40).

Although a bit outdated, the article is a good starting place for anyone looking to a design a website with a socially interactive component, and it has obvious implications in the web and social intelligence discussions that we had this week. Namely, the social interactions of a website’s users can be categorized and used by businesses that are looking to get insight into what customers want. Although there are ethical issues brought up by this, it is unfortunately pretty commonplace on the web (Google ads, anyone?). Personally, I’m worried about the integrity of data that is used in situations such as these. Especially given the number of high profile cyber crimes that took place this year (specifically the cracking of the Sony Playstation Network database in which consumer information was rumored to have been stored in plain text).

The fact that the article was written so long ago actually works to it’s benefit as it shows the accuracy of the information contained within. Although internet forums were already pretty commonplace, the broadcast based media was something that was not really tapped until the days of Myspace. Now, Facebook and Twitter are two of the biggest websites on the internet, and both sites are built on a fundamental level around the simple types of interaction discussed in this article. Aside from demonstrating the power of social media in maintaining business data, this also illustrates that building a website around simple but useful interactions with the right information in mind can have massive social and financial consequences for the web as a whole.


Nishida, T.  (2002). Social Intelligence Design for the Web. IEEE Computer Society Magazine, 35 (11), 37-40.