How to conduct a productive observation

why? observing the real world social activity can reground us to see what real social activity look like so that we don’t get lost designing online social interaction.

how? grab a partner and go observe some where! (why working with partner when doing observation? Force you to talk about your idea, and rethink your assumption.)


constantly look for funny/weird things in the world. Keep observing.

while observing, be sure to balance the overwhelming information.

the environment plays a big role in shaping social interaction

while observing, broaden up your mind, be aware of tunnel vision, take account of the overall interaction

30 mins observation exercise and insights:

on the busy square, some people are dancing while some just stand aside and watch, and some sit at the corner to study -> different level of participation: comment, likes/thumbs up

give people something to talk about: people with dog are easier to talk with because it is easy to talking about the dog -> facebook memory, things that happen one year ago to encourage you to talk to your friends

First move or norms, people like to follow trend-> the system give you the first like?

figure of authority -> celebrity on social media, 知乎大v

design for commitment: choose one : work or chat ? Starbucks’ small tables

smokers: the engagement time of conversation is kind of set to how long it takes to smoke a cigar -> meme me for 1 min

signaling attention to people: they might not be fully engaged