Ted Rheingold – Dogster

Ted Rheingold started Dogster as a joke and now he is laughing all the way to the bank. At the Future of Web Applications conference in San Francisco Rheingold talked about The State, Future and Business of Passion-Centric Communities. According to Rheingold, a passion-centric community is dedicated to a single particular interest with a single mind, single focus. Passion-centric sites are not something new; sites of this nature have existed via newsgroups, forums going back to the web 1.0. And now passion-centric sites are ajaxified and web two point out. For example Dogster is the MySpace, social network, for dogs, where dogs have journals and their top 8 doggie friends. And just like MySpace, Dogster has in my opinion a very web 1.0 look to it but with some web 2.0 features such as tags and blogs.

Rheingold made a few design suggestions for passion-centric sites like Dogster. He recommended plenty of opt-in/opt-out settings, use of color other that white, obvious sections and labels, plenty of pictures. He admitted that Dogster may look like a design mess, but he stated that people just jump into the content that they are interested in. Rheingold suggested you let your users feel like the site is theirs, because in the end it is their data, their groups, and their social contacts that drive you potential site. Rheingold said that “commenting is community,” sites like MySpace are like “digital doritos.” Rheingold reminded the audience, “You are part of a community.”

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