Social Objects applied to PajamaNation

I’ve been thinking about Jyri Engestrm’s geek dinner where he outlined the Five Principles of Social Objects. In particular, if this approach is significantly beneficial for designing sucessful social websites then what sort of implications, suggestions and ideas can be generated by applying this to PajamaNation, the global microjobs exchange?

  1. You should be able to define the social object your service is built around.That would be the microjob. So using the theory, pajamanation is not all about connecting people to people, it’s about connecting people to microjobs. And there are at least two ways to be connected. One person places a microjob onto the marketplace and others apply or bid for it. When a contract is awarded to a suitable bidder then this connects two people together in a working relationship, but this exists via or around the microjob which is central. The pajamaworker and her profile or his portfolio are important too, but they are not the objects around which the action takes place.

    Each microjob therefore, needs to have its own page, permalink, unique resource location (URL).

    That is the case at present. The url could be more friendly, it could be displayed on the page and there could be more options available to do things with microjobs, but the basic stuctural design is in place, for example:


    Fast typist needed to type 200 page book into a word document

  2. Define your verbs that your users perform on the objects. For instance, eBay has buy and sell buttons. It’s clear what the site is for.
    • AWARD a microjob
    • UPDATE a pajamaworker profile
    • CORRECT a microjob listing
    • SEARCH or FIND microjobs – not sure how to resolve this one.
    • VIEW profiles and portfolios

    This is harder for us. “Buy” and “Sell” can get confusing when applied to services. A worker is selling his labour, and the job “provider” is buying a service but when you start “bidding” for microjobs it can sound like the other way round. In reality, the bid is an offer to receive a payment hence the description “reverse auction”. It can even get confusing to talk about providers since both ends of the transaction could be regarded as providing something – skills or microjobs.

    Additionally we have two major verbs on the website “find” and “search” and it’s not immediately obvious what the difference is. So this needs looking at.

    One recommendation would be to have a prominent “Place a microjob ad” button on the main page. Is “place” clear enough?

    so the main two verbs should probably be PLACE and BID with these others featuring less prominently

  3. How can people share the objects?Good point. I guess we need an “email this microjob to a friend” button as well as options to add comments and tags right there on the microjob page.
  4. Turn invitations into gifts.As above. If you’re browsing for work and you come across something which isn’t quite suitable for you, but puts you in mind of an appropriate friend thne what better gift than to point them towards an opportunity? So change the wording to reflect that – “Give this microjob opportunity to a friend”
  5. Charge the publishers, not the spectators.Here’s a rub. The original business model for PajamaNation is to charge a moderate annual subscription for access to the local market, a bit more to go global. That’s already different to ebay and many straight job sites which charge commission or make entry level free with a premium service for those who require additional privileges. The idea of charging publishers would imply that the microjobs can be viewed and bidded upon by anybody for free, thus building up a large and valuable readership which is then so sought after by the microjobs providers that they would pay to be allowed to publish jobs, or perhaps to place more than one per month. Something like that. We are currently focussed on the problem of not getting a high enough proportion of microjobs for the registered workers, so charging for placement would appear to be the opposite of what’s required. It’s not completely implausible though, and a flexible approach may help to get geared up for the big picture once things start really moving. I also remember hearing that posting jobs to sites which accept free job ads is a waste of time because they get filled up with rubbish that nobody wants to sift through.

Ok, that process certainly helped to surface a lot of ideas and suggestions for development of the pajamanation site. I hope this starts a dialogue leading to fruitful exchange, faster growth and development towards a world changing service. I published my thoughts here on my blog where participation by all will be welcomed, especially my most valued spectators 🙂 Thanks again to Jyri for inspiration and bringing theory to the social media world.

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