Food for thought: How to design online networking platforms with an added value for participating scientists
As you may have noticed, ways.org is not the only social network for scientists (even though it's one of the first and one of the few with non-profit status). In fact, one commenter once stated "they are breeding like rabbits". However, none of the cross-disciplinary ones, including ways.org, seems to have taken off so far in the sense that scientists actually use it. Platforms with field-specific focus fare better, as examplified by pyrn.ways.org.
What does this mean in terms of desirable and non-desirable design features for collaborative platforms? This is the subject of two recent blog posts by Christina Pikas (here and here). Of course, the posts raise more questions than they answer but the one advantage of the rabbit-like sprouting of these networks is that we are now in a position to take a closer look at design features, business models and marketing strategies that do and do not work. For discussion, see this friendfeed thread, also embedded below.