|Re:Thinking Social is an explorative interaction design project aiming to nuance the discussion around social media and its future potential through ways of being social. We look into how we can improve the polarisation online through encouraging meaningful digital encounters and facilitating for being different kinds of users.
Through looking into polarisation, we ended up nuancing a lot of the discussions regarding social media. The project reflects around social media, while simultaneously suggesting possibilities for improving polarisation through exploring what being social online could mean.
Polarisation online is a hot topic today as it has become an issue and threat to peoples humanity and democracy. We started looking into this topic and how design could contribute to it. We decided to focus on the ‘social’ of social media, and less on the ‘media’ part, so we went deeper into what “being social” could mean. Through our research and findings we had a theory that engaging more people in their digital community would lead to a stronger sense of belonging, and a will to create a trusting digital environment. And through this, possibly decrease polarisation. We explored how different ways of being social and facilitating for different kinds of users could help people to better understand, trust and connect with their digital neighbour.
Our final proposals aim to explore possibilities that show our findings through digital prototypes. We explore three concepts with three directions each. The first concept, The Human Side, explores how showing more personality of a user can create more trust in a digital community. The second concept, Changing Engagement, explores how we can elevate other ways of engaging online. And finally, the third concept, Tools for Gardeners, explores implementing tools online for being a “gardener” - a caretaker for your digital community.