Ever wondered why different websites despite being of the same genre
appear/feel differently ? or why your own behavior differs from site to site?
Well the case in point being that all websites across the web consciously or unconsciously develop cultures and subcultures just like it happens elsewhere when a group of people interact with each other over a period of time.
Consider the following examples
I’ve always felt that people(ones I know) spend a lot of time “filling the profile info” and often even more time “maintaining/updating profile info regularly”. It might be necessary in some cases but if you are just there to stay in touch with people you know its not necessary at all but still lots of people(old and new) tend to do it.
I haven’t used Facebook much so in this regard the only thing that stands out is “Adding new apps” and “Requesting others to use new apps”. Every time I log in there are a dozen new requests to try new apps and that’s probably because this viral behavior has really got into the users and seems no signs of stopping.
How a Culture gets developed:
Culture development is a two way process. While in most cases it comes downwards from the top in some systems(emergent) it rises bottoms up. Generally the culture developed by the initial users of the site continues to grow with more people joining and unconsciously following the experienced users behaviors thereby strengthening the existing culture.
What can you do about it ?
Either you consciously develop a culture “Top down” in a planned/phased manner or keep an eye on the small/mini behavioral usage patterns, facilitate them and guide them upwards. This can be done by say adding new features or re-designing the existing ones to make them more available. I feel the features to “push out profile updates” to friends and in your face options to “invite friends to use apps” respectively have helped a lot in setting the above mentioned trends.
A simple example of “Top down” culture that I can think of(and I’ve used) is say you have a website and you want the users to upload their profile pictures instead of continuing with the default ones. One way it can work is say if all the initial user(100 or so) have uploaded their profile pictures then someone whose new to the site might upload a picture straightaway and it stays the same way going forward.
This behavior is quite natural and common as most new users don’t want to look new/naive/different, gain acceptability and become a part of the crowd so they’ll follow the established behavior without making much noise. However simple and obvious it may sound if it happens right it can do wonders for a site consider a social networking site(a friend told me about) where almost all users have provided their mobile numbers despite them not being mandatory. Sounds scary but then its not impossible.