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Building Social Web Applications by Gavin Bell

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Chapter 5. Working with and Consuming Media

The world is already full of ways to produce content and form relationships. From the means of communication to the tasks people perform, contexts are created that people are familiar with. Each new website sets out to change, replace, or add to these means. If we fail to recognize these existing ways of doing things, we will set ourselves up for failure.

In this chapter, we’ll explore how to positively engage with the status quo. We’ll start by looking at media generation and consumption, and then at some examples of how people have developed sites to tap into the underlying human motivations that are present in all of these interactions.

Media Types Affect Consumption Styles

People consume content very differently depending on the media and the context. If you look at books, music, magazines, and films, you’ll see that there are many different formats and types of publication. For example, music can be a public activity (played as background entertainment at a party or in a crowded setting at a concert), or a personal experience (heard through headphones in an office setting). Movies are historically a social experience, watched with other people and discussed later; but today, while most people don’t go to the cinema by themselves, some might watch a film at home on their own. Reading materials tend to offer a more personal experience; people may sometimes share and/or lend newspapers and magazines to others, but reading books tends to ...

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