1950 University Ave, Suite 200
Berkeley, California 94704

(Free and open to the public - and followed at 4pm with a Social Jam that includes refreshments - and beer. It would be helpful if you mark attending/watching above).

The Perils of Popularity
Rashmi Sinha (SlideShare)

Can web-based social systems with their wide reach, user-generated and user-filtered content harness the wisdom of crowds? Duncan Watts recent experiments reveal how popularity based web social systems can throw up fickle, random trends that are essentially unreplicable, and only tangentially related to quality. However, popularity as a way to filter information continues to rise in popularity - replacing hierarchical menus, overtaking tags, and even used in lieu of relevance. Rashmi will link decades of psychology research on group decision making and social influence to what is happening on the web today. What are successful models of popularity based filtering on the web? What are ways to avoid the Watts dilemma - including Google's model of sociality, tag-based social systems, and object-based social networks. She will present some principles for the design of web social systems and how there were used in the design of SlideShare and discuss how SlideShare as an evolving social system handles popularity.

Rashmi Sinha is a designer, researcher and entrepreneur. She leads the team that created SlideShare (often described as "YouTube for Powerpoint"), and MindCanvas (think online surveys meet online games).

Rashmi received a PhD in cognitive psychology from Brown University in 1998. After moving to UC Berkeley for a PostDoc, she fell in love with the web, and realized that many issues that technologists think about are problems of human psychology. She switched departments and worked on search interfaces & recommender systems at the Information School, UC Berkeley. Deciding that she enjoyed practical problems more, she founded Uzanto, a user experience consulting company. Her company's first venture into products - MindCanvas (Nov 2005) - reshapes traditional research techniques like card-sorting, and divide-the-dollar into game-like experiences for remote research. In Oct 2006, Uzanto released its second product - Slideshare, a website for sharing presentations.

SlideShare is growing fast, letting everyone from teachers, students, conference speakers and venture capitalists share and find presentations on topics as diverse as Chinese history, children's stories and Ruby on Rails.

Rashmi writes a blog at rashmisinha.com. She is involved in the HCI community, was a founding member of the Information Architecture Society, and co-chairs the monthly BayCHI talk series.

Official Website: http://yahooresearchberkeley.com

Added by mor on April 28, 2007



I suspect that this talk may interest folks who're attending this Brain Jam.


This is a great talk. I heard her give part of it at web2 expo.


Its significantly updated since web 2.0 expo. Am going to address the issue of popularity much more directly...

see you all tomorrow!


Interview with Slideshare founder Jon Boutelle.Jon Boutelle was born in Boston and grew up on a farm in Massachusetts. A degree holder in Psychology from the Brown University, RI, he along with Rashmi Sinha and Amit Ranjan have been on the helm of SlideShare along with the rest of the team based in Delhi and the US.
Read more about it at http://www.loscreador.com/2007/06/16/interview-with-slideshare-founder-jon-boutelle/