Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Practicum#5- Yen

Looking back into DailyStrength, they also have some new features on their site. Similar to supportgroups.com, they added a Top Huggers chart to show the users who gave the most hugs to other members of the site. In compare to supportgroups.com, here they don’t have a hierarchy of belts to achieve to demonstrate their trustworthiness and experiences in supporting others. From my observation on both sites, I think that having the hierarchy system is actually better. In DailyStrength, I found that there is a user who gives hugs to random people every day which gives me a sense of him having motives in doing this. He appears in most of the updates in the site about his hugs to everyone. This user ranked top in the Top Huggers chart but he is not known for being supportive. He has been a member of the site for more than 2 years and has over 2700 friends in the site. Instead of giving constructive comments to users, he adds plenty of users to his friends list and gives hug to whoever added him. Thinking back to the question of giving support truthfully to others, I started to doubt about the function of the Top charts here. It may at some point encourage people to engage more in the site but it doesn’t seem to provide adequate and real support to people like in supportgroups.com. In order to achieve the status of being a top hugger, they usually need to give hundreds of hugs to others in a day. I wonder why these users are willing to spend so much time devoting in this site and doing the same act to different people. However, it is interesting to see that it is reciprocity that they in turn receive a lot of hugs back within a day which perhaps give an answer to my question. It is like the more the user contributes, the more support and liking the user earns.

When considering about the supporting aspects, it seems like DailyStrength users don’t have a nice platform to provide support to each other as what supportgroups.com does. Even though they still have a discussion board for their specific support groups, users seem to be less interactive and have less trust or dependence on others. The number of comments and response they get is apparently and greatly depended on the questions they post. Those who asked simple questions about the topic don’t seem to get much reply at all from other users. Some even get zero comments even though they are asking really relevant questions. It is interesting to look into the trust development in this site and the users’ preferences in making comments.

1 comment:

  1. I find it really strange that somebody’s just going through DailyStrength.org and giving hundreds of e-hugs out every day just to be crowned Top Hugger. It’s almost like trolling, but I guess in a good way considering he/she is lending some sort of support via the hugs he/she gives. I agree with you about the functionality of the Top Charts. While it seems like a good idea in theory to get people to use the site more and in different, unique ways, unless there’s more specific guidelines and requirements to make the Top Charts (ones that show that a user is truly being supportive), it could just become a selfish endeavor to get your name on the charts. Even then, though, I don’t understand what the point of that really is. Unless he/she really is just doing it to get hugs in return as a means of keeping his/her mental state afloat (something like, “If I don’t get a hug for every hug I give, I’m going to be depressed!”). It is a self-help website, so it’s certainly possible. Either way, I definitely think if they were to refine it a bit and make it so that you had to do more to get on the Top Charts, it could help the site and the users of the site out a lot.