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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: [Sigia-l] OT: Library Thing

Re: [Sigia-l] OT: Library Thing

From: Karl Fast (
Date: Tue Sep 27 2005 - 20:26:54 EDT

> I considered Delicious Library as a non-professional app, and it's
> clearly marketed as such. While I love a lot of its design, it left
> me with an answer to a non-existing problem, or more precisely, a
> misplaced problem.

In your eyes it may be a misplaced problem, but it is not misplaced
to the people who use Delicious Library or similar products.

So why is that? What explains this behavior? As Ziya put it at the
start of this thread,

   Do people actually catalog their physical media possessions? Why
   would anyone spend so much time on this?

Here the issue is framed in terms of time and energy. In other
words, it seeks an explanation for user behavior based on an
economic perspective of the activity. The economic cost seems high,
and the reward seems low, so the behavior doesn't make sense. Are
people stupid or do they just like wasting their time or is
something else going on?

I'd think that any explanation should also consider cognitive and
affective (i.e., emotional) factors. It feels good to know that
things are identified and organized. For some people, perhaps many
people, the positive feeling that results makes it worth the
economic cost.

I'm sure it's more complicated than this, but my point is that
discussing these tools primarily in terms of economics overlooks
many other important factors, many of them psychological.

As an aside, the same argument can be made about being on this list.
Reading and posting to this list can take a lot of time and energy.
Why do it? Why bother? It hardly seems worth it! I don't know about
anyone else, but I could never justify my involvement in this list
purely, or even primarily, in economic terms.

Karl Fast
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