wake up! How the Living Web is Tranforming Politics, Business, and Everyday Life

How do I order the book?
Order it directly from Amazon:


Or look for it in your favorite neighborhood (independent or chain) bookstore. Ask them to order it for you if you don't see it on the shelves or right up front.


without whom not
The people listed below have all given of their time generously, answering questions, pointing me to salient writings, sitting for interviews, reviewing chapters, or otherwise encouraging me to complete this book. I would like to thank every one (and I promise to add XFN information to the links at length):
Powered by Movable Type 3.33. This is a Telegraph site.

April 15, 2009

Designing Social Interfaces, Rough Cut edition now available from O'Reilly Media

Designing Social Interfaces - Rough Cut | O'Reilly Media
Designing Social Interfaces - Rough Cut | O’Reilly Media
Originally uploaded by xian

The unedited, 500 page first draft of our book is available now in PDF format for review by anyone who can’t bear to wait till September for the first (“real”) edition to come out.


Christian Crumlish
Posted (to user experience) by xian at 10:49 AM on Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 31, 2009

March 23, 2009

Slides from Designing Social Interfaces at IA Summit 2009

Erin Malone and I introduced some of the fruit of our effort to carve out a pattern language for social user experience design. At the Information Architecture Summit in Memphis this past week we taught our pattern library workshop and then delivered this tandem presentation:

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to Yahoo!) by xian at 10:22 AM on Monday, March 23, 2009
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

January 3, 2009

gee and i've only met barlow once

gee and i’ve only met barlow once
Originally uploaded by xian

was JP Barlow idly doing the comparisons today, or is this more like secret-admirer spam?

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to the power of many) by xian at 1:44 PM on Saturday, January 3, 2009
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

October 15, 2008

About this new book I'm (co-)writing

As you may know, I am writing a book with Erin Malone called Designing Social Interfaces for O’Reilly Media.

Erin is the the founder of the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library and hired me to be its third curator. Today she is a partner at Tangible UX, a consulting firm, and I maintain the library as a YDN design evangelist on Micah Laaker’s Yahoo! Open Strategy (YOS) team, in collaboration with Luke Wroblewski’s Front Doors and Network Services (FDNS) team.

The top of my agenda in the past year has been to identify, gather, and document a family of social design patterns: observed practices that work well in resolving common design problems in social applications. I’ve been looking for and teasing out patterns that enable social environments to thrive and sustain themselves.

Fortunately, I had a leg up or two. While there were very few documented community or social media patterns in the library, there are a wealth of specs, papers, patterns, presentations, and guidelines scattered around the intranet, and there was Matt Leacock’s first take on a social media toolkit, shepherded together on an internal Yahoo! wiki.

More importantly, I looked out across the landscape of the web and drew on my own personal experience as a user, analyst and addict of online social experiences.

At BarCamp Block last year I facilitated a session on social media patterns (at least that’s what I was calling them then) and the net takeaway was an amazing mindmap of potential patterns. Quite a few of them turn out to be social moments, social behaviors, or social objects; or scenarios that illuminate patterns without being patterns themselves. But the outline and cloud diagrams we built from that brainstorm helped get me started sorting out some possible organizing structures beyond what we had internally a Yahoo.

This mindmap went through a series of iterations and refinements. Meanwhile, I started presenting on the topic of social patterns at BayCHI, at South By, at the IA Summit, at Ignite and more recently at TechPulse and soon PLoP and Interaction09.

Taking your half-baked ideas on the road and presenting them to a demanding crowd of payng customers is a great way of figuring out which ideas have resonance and which miss the mark. Presenting ongoing work in progress is tough: you make yourself vulnerable and open to criticism. But the criticism will come eventually anyway. Why not hear it now while you can still address it and incorporate the best ideas of others into your work?

For that matter, I feel it’s essential to be clear about one thing: almost none of this work on social design patterns is original. Yes, of course I am naming patterns and writing them and perhaps throwing in a nugget of experience here and there, but for the most part I am still curating these patterns. I’ve been stealing from everybody!

We hates plagiarism so we cite sources and point back to originators where applicable. I’ve proposed that the nascent PLPL (Pattern Language Markup Language) standard include an attribution element, with a common structure for reflecting sources, reuse, derived work, and licensing matters.

Furthermore, in our book we are inviting a wide range of leading practitioners, thinkers, and bloggers to contribute essays on one or more of the pattern families we’re developing for the book. Because, yes, the book is in many ways an offshoot of this ongoing social pattern collecting effort. And in that same spirit we’re both interested (Erin and me) in experimenting iwth methods of opening up the writing process and seeking feedback, correction, criticism, and contributions before the book’s ship date.

We’ll probably post patterns in progress on a wiki and in the meantime we will both be posting thoughts about the chapters we’re working on on our blogs. I’ll also post some draft patterns here at least until we have the wiki process figured out.

My next post in this series will be about a set of fundamental social design patterns I’m pulling together in Chapter 2.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to Social Design) by xian at 7:44 AM on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

September 12, 2008

Open Hackday 08 begins

hackday stage
Originally uploaded by xian.

I’m going to name the robots Foo and Bar. We still haven’t announced the musical act that will be performing on this stage tonight.

So far I’ve heard Cody Simms and Neal Sample (Cody and Neal, hmmm….) give a great overview of YOS (with great visuals by Micah Laaker), and am now listening to Allen Rabinovich explain how to hack with Flash and Flex.

At 2pm I’ll be talking about patterns and stencils and how they can help coders build better interfaces.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to Yahoo!) by xian at 11:05 AM on Friday, September 12, 2008
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 22, 2008

Three talks for the price of, well, none

At the IA Summit a week ago in Miami, I co-taught two full-day workshops (on patterns with Erin Malone and Lucas Pettinati, and social design with Christina Wodtke and Joshua Porter), moderated a panel (on presence and other aspects of social web architecture with Gene Smith, Wodtke, Andrew Hinton, and Andrew Crow), and gave a presentation with Austin Govella from Comcast on designing with patterns. (Phew.)

I finally got my slides posted to slideshare today from the panel and the presentation. (Eventually, if and when audio becomes available, I’ll sync them up.) You’ll notice if you look at my recent talks that I am remixing a lot of the same points. I am trying to learn to be more shameless about this, since the material is usually fresh for each new audience until it’s fully distributed.

In that same vein, if you’re in SF you can find me at Ignite SF tonight doing a five minute talk (yes, covering some of the same ground as my BayCHI talk in this case) on the topic “Grasping Social Patterns.” I’m nervous as hell, not least because the lineup of other speakers is so incredible. So even if I bomb, you’ll get some pretty inspiration stuff from the likes of Kathy Sierra, Annalee Newitz, Lane Becker, and others.

For now, here are my summit talks:


Christian Crumlish
Posted (to conventionology) by xian at 4:07 PM on Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 17, 2008

Social design patterns slides from BayCHI last week

Here are my slides from my talk at Xerox Parc (the BayCHI monthly program meeting) on April 8th:

When I get the audio, I plan to put together a slidecast to synch the slides to the talk, which should be more valuable.

Oh, and consider viewing the slides in full-screen mode. They should be a lot more legible that way. I did my best to optimize the source files.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to user experience) by xian at 4:37 PM on Thursday, April 17, 2008
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 29, 2008

Notchup invites a cock-up?

I’m having second thoughts about Notchup. The other day I checked my mail in the morning, as is my wont, and found an invitation to Notchup from a friend who left Yahoo a while back to work with venture capitalists. I wondered if this was something he had had a hand in, but I didn’t ask. I went and signed up because it sounded interesting.

A few years ago I had some interviews at LinkedIn for a position that didn’t work out (didn’t work out for me, at least) and they asked me at the time for suggestions and ideas about additional businesses or products they could build on top of their existing platform. I was gung ho at the time about the idea of a reverse-auction style site for hiring. Just as Priceline reversed the polarity on hotel and plane bookings by having customers bid what they are willing to pay and having vendors match that, I figured that job searches could also work in reverse.

Instead of applying for a job, you could advertise the sort of work you are willing and qualified to take on and prospective employers could apply to you and try to make the case that you should “hire” them to be your new boss. The LinkedIn guys suggested that that’s what they were already doing but I thought there was still something missing from that model.

So Notchup seems to be somewhat in that same ballpark, which was why I thought I’d check it out.

Next, I saw that they had a way to import your personal info (effectively, your resume) from your LinkedIn account, if you have one. That sounded a lot better than entering all the data myself, again, so even though I had qualms about this violating LinkedIn’s terms of service, and even though it’s generally not a good idea to give your login credentials for one site to another site (even if “all it’s going to do” is scrape some data from the screeen), I went ahead and did that.

So then Notchup offered to enable me to invite my LinkedIn connections into their beta, saving those people the trouble of applying. I started that sequence and went through my list of contacts, which is long so this was tedious, unchecking the folks I figured are either definitely not looking for a job, or whom I don’t actually know that well, or whom I believed would have no interest in the latest social network thingamabob.

I assumed I would have the chance to write a personal note, something along the lines of

Hi! I’m checking out this new site called Notchup. I don’t know much about it and I don’t necessarily endorse it, but I thought you might be interest in checking it out too.

Unfortunately, before I was given an opportunity to write a note or even review the boilerplate they were going to sign my name to, I was notified that the invitations had been sent. This is not as bad as what Tagged.com and some other sites have done, tricking people into virally inviting their entire address books, but it still rubbed me the wrong way.

All that morning and the next day I got email notifications of friends joining Notchup, and a few personal notes from people asking me if this was for real - because we’ve all gotten spammy invitations in the past. When people asked I told them the gist of what I would have written in the invitation, but many people just joined, apparently trusting me. By now I wasn’t sure what the person who had invited me was thinking.

Then, the other day I saw a message from Russell Unger on the IA Institute members mailing list establishing that he had done more (that is, some) due diligence and actually read Notchup’s terms of service, and that he had uncovered some troubling clauses in the user agreement:

9. NotchUp reserves the right to offer third party services and products to You based on the preferences that You identify in your registration and at any time thereafter; such offers may be made by NotchUp or by third parties.

10. Without limiting any of the other disclaimers of warranty set forth in these Terms, NotchUp does not provide or make any representation as to the quality or nature of any of the third party products or services purchased through NotchUp.com or any other NotchUp Site, or any other representation, warranty or guaranty. Any such undertaking, representation, warranty or guaranty would be furnished solely by the provider of such third party products or services, under the terms agreed to by the provider.

As Russell pointed out, this sounds a lot like signing up for Notchup means agreeing to receive spam.

He also pointed out another pair of clauses:

18. You understand and acknowledge that you have no ownership rights in your NotchUp account (“NotchUp Account”), and that if you cancel your NotchUp Account, all your account information from NotchUp, including resumes, profiles, cover letters, network contacts, saved jobs, questionnaires and email mailing lists, will be marked as deleted in NotchUp’s databases and will be removed from any public area of the NotchUp Sites. Information may continue to be available for some period of time because of delays in propagating such deletion through NotchUp’s web servers. In addition, third parties may retain cached copies of your Information.

19. Your email and other data that you submit as part of the resume will be made available to our recruiters and employers. NotchUp.com doesn’t have any control over how that data would be used. If you don’t want any such data to be displayed your only remedy is not to post any resume.

So now I’m really concerned, particularly about seeming to vouch for a site and luring a bunch of best contacts into it. I’ll keep an eye on Notchup but so far I don’t like what I’m seeing, and to those I invited in before researching the subject further, I apologize.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to user experience) by xian at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

January 9, 2008

Help me write my book about presence

most recent tweet

I’m going to write my book, Presence of Mind (working title), on a wiki with as much input from others as possible. I’m also starting a mailing list to discuss online presence and related topics (extending from closely related matters such as identity, reputation, attention, privacy and so on, out to the full array of social web design patterns).

If you’re interested in joining this conversation, let me know and I’ll invite you when the list is set up.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to identity) by xian at 11:26 PM on Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (8)

December 13, 2007

Community site responds to homicide epidemic in Oakland

I just heard today about Not Just A Number, a community journalism project coproduced by the Oakland Tribune and InsideBayArea.com.

It endeavors to tell the real human stories of Oakland homicide victims, rather than letting them become merely statistics.

The site speaks for itself, and I feel like I might be cheapening it by talking about how it works technically (there are maps that show murder sites that lead to multimedia testimonials about the victims, and so on, but how it works isn’t really the point).

It just seems like the right sort of response (among many) to one of the worst crises in my adopted home town. It’s not like it solves the problem, of course, but it feels like a way to keep the humanity in the picture. I wonder if a similar approach could be applied to other, possibly more positive, community needs?

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to place) by xian at 5:41 PM on Thursday, December 13, 2007
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 23, 2007

Enumerating social media patterns: a work in progress

thumbnail section of social media patterns graph

At BarCamp Block earlier this year I led a discussion of social media design patterns. The slides I posted were really more just about patterns and how we deal with them at Yahoo! But the group exercise was to brainstorm a huge list of social media and social networking activities that could be described and documented as patterns.

These are not the patterns themselves, but at least one pattern could probably be written around each of these gestures. We found it easiest in the brainstorm to just rattle off a list of gerunds (“adding, blocking, friending,” etc.).

The list we came up is also not exhaustive or definitive. It’s one group’s idea of the various patterns that a social system could support. The initial list was posted at the BarCamp Block wiki. Then Kent Bye, one of the participants, took a stab at re-sorting it a bit and created a visualization. He also then hand-copied it into an outline format and sent me his “version two” of the list.

Since then I’ve made a few more tweaks and have produced a version 3 outline. I’ve been working on visualizing it myself, so I turned the OPML into an OmniOutliner file and then imported that into OmniGraffle. The map is so tangled that Graffle had a hard time displaying it without crossing lines, so I spent some more time dragging the various nodes and clusters around until they were each separate. The end result is that it’s huge of course, and still by no means final or exhaustive or authoritative.

In fact, it’s decidedly not the taxonomy of social media patterns we’re working on internally at Yahoo! Think of it as an open source, collaborative work in progress. The thumbnail image above links to a full-sized PDF you should feel free to grab to get a better look at the current state of play of this idea, and if you’d like the OPML file or any other format, just drop me a note and I’ll send it to you.

When I get a moment, I’ll drop by the BarCamp Block wiki and upload the file there in several formats too, at least until someone provides a better place for hosting this project.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to user experience) by xian at 9:23 AM on Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 18, 2007

Set the terms of the debate


TechPresident, a project of Personal Democracy Forum (which I used to write for), in cooperation with the New York Times and MSNBC, has launched a site called 10 Questions where anyone can suggest a question for the presidential candidates and anyone can vote the suggested questions up or down.

It’s a kind of more open version of the YouTube debate concept or the recent mashup Yahoo! did.

In round one, you ask a video question, you vote on the best questions, the top ten questions get selected.

In round two, the top ten questions are presented to the candidates, candidates post their video answers, and (here’s the beauty part) you decide if they actually answered the questions.

(via Zephyr Teachout, who’s always up to something cool.)

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to politics) by xian at 7:48 AM on Thursday, October 18, 2007
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 30, 2007

RE: Join my network on LinkedIn

'LinkedIn: Invitations Received' screen snap

This is a quandary for me. I try to keep my LinkedIn network literally to people I know and have worked with or with whose work I am familiar. From what I can see, you seem like an excellent person to know, I’m flattered that you enjoy my posts on that list, and I appreciate your providing that context since so many invitations I get have robogreetings on them.

I couldn’t bring myself to click the “I don’t know Jack…” button, but since I take LinkedIn literally (I want to be able to recommend people from my own direct experience) I also don’t feel right accepting your invitation.

I hope you understand.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to identity) by xian at 4:10 PM on Sunday, September 30, 2007
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 28, 2007

Oakland for Obama?

Obama logoJust got a call from an organizer named Barbara with the local Barack Obama for President campaign, telling me they are opening a new Northern California campaign office in downtown Oakland, and inviting me to a grand opening party for the office on 4136 14th Street (near Broadway) this Sunday, September 30, from 1 to 5 pm.

I’m thinking of going. I haven’t gotten involved in a campaign yet, nor have I picked a candidate, but I do like what I’ve seen of Obama so far, even as I wish he would take a harder line on ending the war in Iraq.

They say the party will have music and they expect the media there so they’re hoping to get the word out, so consider this my first volunteer effort for the campaign, trying to get the word out about this party just a little bit more.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to politics) by xian at 5:44 PM on Friday, September 28, 2007
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 20, 2007

Sisters are doing it for themselves

At BarCamp Block I first heard about plans for She’s Geeky, a tech (un)conference for women by women. Immediately, I was intrigued. It sounds like a great idea, I love the title, and the organizers are some of the coolest folk I’ve met on the geek circuit.

One of the prime movers is Kaliya Identity Woman Hamlin, a strong advocate of the OpenSpace unconference model for events.

She’s Geeky takes place October 22 and 23 in Mountain View, CA (near Palo Alto). Here’s a description In their own words:

This event is designed to bring together women from a range of technology-focused disciplines who self identify as geeky. Our goal is to support skill exchange and learning between women working in diverse fields and to create a space for networking and to talk about issues faced by women in technology.

Kaliya goes into some more detail about here “motivations and hopes” on her IdentityWoman blog, and addresses any concerns folks might have about exclusivity (which is a good thing, because even in this male-dominated tech world, I sometimes get that twinge of entitlement when something is for me, about me, catering to me and my ilk, etc.), saying, “My motivation is not to create an event that is ‘exclusive’ but to help create a space for women who some times are very isolated in different niches of the tech world. One women I spoke with yesterday recently found herself being one of only 12 women at a tech conference of 600.”

I have no doubt that She’s Geeky will be a watershed event and I look forward to reading about it and studying its impact.

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to geekery) by xian at 7:44 AM on Thursday, September 20, 2007
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 19, 2007

Shining a spotlight on money in politics


I’ve written about MAPlight before but from time to time I feel the need to post an update about the amazing work it’s doing. (Disclosure: I am an advisor to this nonprofit, although my direct involvement is limited.)

Since the last time I mentioned MAPlight it’s gone from just documenting donations to California politicians to covering the Federal level as well, at a new site that launched back in May, called Our Congress (“Our Congress tracks every vote and campaign contribution for all U.S. Senators and Representatives”).

That alone is a huge addition to the service it provides. If you’re interested in what Congress is up to, also check out OpenCongress, another project that has received support from the Sunlight Foundation (as has MAPlight).

Then in May, MAPlight won the NetSquared innovation award for “social impact, sustainability, and technical innovation,” taking first prize in a contest based on open voting online, and earning a $25,000 prize grant.

More recently, MAPlight announced a set of customizable widgets “that allow anyone to track presidential fundraising on their own blogs, social media sites, and personal Web sites.”

Christian Crumlish
Posted (to politics) by xian at 9:22 AM on Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Permanent link to this entry | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The Power of Many

ISBN: 0-7821-4346-6
U.S. Price: $29.99
Pages: 304
Publication Date: September 2004
Publisher: Wiley (formerly Sybex)

Last 51 Entries

April 15

Designing Social Interfaces, Rough Cut edition now available from O'Reilly Media

March 31

Designing Social Interfaces Web 2.0 Expo workshop slides

March 23

Slides from Designing Social Interfaces at IA Summit 2009

January 3

gee and i've only met barlow once

October 15

About this new book I'm (co-)writing

September 12

Open Hackday 08 begins

April 22

Three talks for the price of, well, none

April 17

Social design patterns slides from BayCHI last week

January 29

Notchup invites a cock-up?

January 9

Help me write my book about presence

December 13

Community site responds to homicide epidemic in Oakland

October 23

Enumerating social media patterns: a work in progress

October 18

Set the terms of the debate

September 30

RE: Join my network on LinkedIn

September 28

Oakland for Obama?

September 20

Sisters are doing it for themselves

September 19

Shining a spotlight on money in politics

September 16

Looks like Mash is in beta

September 13

Reputation and Patterns at SXSW

September 12

Build your own search robot at Searchbots

August 17

BarCamp virgin here - be gentle

August 16

Sifry steps down as Technorati CEO

July 10

Groundswell author on blogging a book

July 2

Podcast of my SXSW panel now live

June 21

I need to hire Liza Sabater as my publicist

May 23

Technorati launches new design

May 4

Answering danah's twitter questions

April 23

Avoid Tagged.com like the plague

April 21

Amazon adds social networking

April 12

Email messages don't disappear that easily

April 10

I'm impressed by pobox.com's customer service

March 30

Men and women respond differently to Kathy Sierra
Blog responses to my SxSW panel

March 28

You are your own words

March 21

My slides from SxSW
Yet another friend metaphor (for twitter)

March 5

Open sourcing the patent process

December 6

Catching up with NAN

October 31

What's a 'community advocate'?

October 30

Grattan School evening lecture program (SF)

October 27

Raw notes from technology roundtable with former Presidential candidate Mark Warner in San Francisco on November 17, 2006
Glorum, a tagged forum about anything

September 21

Reuters grant underwrites NewAssignment.Net budget
Maps for the masses, now with custom stylin'

September 13

Blogs United supports local bloggers

September 11

Jay Rosen discusses NewAssignment.net

September 6

The web is inherently social

September 1

Outing Sen. Ted Stevens

August 30

Brief audio interview with me from last year
Stolen phone automatically uploads photos of thief's family to Flickr

August 15

Social software provides buffer for shy people