Additional Amazing Amazon Activities

While the crux of my Practicum assignment lies with the reviews of specific items, Amazon’s use of Knowledge-based participation doesn’t just end there. It also uses lists, message boards, and social networking sites to help users “get the word out” on things to recommend. While pretty self-explanatory, here is a slightly deeper description of each of these things and how well I’ve seen them work:

The first is Listmania lists, in which you make a list. It can consist of up to 40 items and be about anything you want. It can even be about nothing. While typing up your list, you can also add little comments to each entry. The comments are limited to 400 words a pop, which can be quite limiting. Here is what the window to add and write about an item looks like:

As you can perhaps see, I did my list on comic series I suggest you read. You should totally read my list and follow it’s recommendations!

From a readers stand point, listmania can be a fun way to pass the time as well as adds the possibility of finding something new that might interest you. You can’t comment on or rate lists, which seems odd to me. It can be difficult to find a list you’re looking for and the lists aren’t all written by experts. That’s the part of collective intelligence you have to be wary about on the internet.

Message Boards are just that: message boards about specific products or product related topics. I haven’t started any threads myself, but I have signed up to be notified when a new post is added to the blu-ray deal forum. Amazon emails you a message that looks like this:

Again, this adds to collective intelligence as a way of spreading and sharing knowledge-based information. Many posts have been pointless to me, but some have clued me into bargains I’d have missed otherwise.

Finally, there is the Social Networking aspect, which I confess I haven’t taken a part in. Basically what it is is the ability to post on twitter, Facebook, etc. that you purchased an item. I guess this could be seen as suggesting to your friends to do the same, but it looks a bit weird to me. I’m sure there are people who do it and looking at someone who’s opinion you trust buy something you’re interested in may help in your decision to also by said product.

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