Design for Community

Derek Powazek

One of the very few books of its kind written at the edge of the original dotcom bubble about online community, by my count of which there is only three. Powazek lies in the exact middle, with AJK soaring high above him and Preece far below. At the time of its writing, Powazek knows less than he lets on; he is very clear about the social mission he partakes, but can only speak in generalities as a “designer.” He tries to link things together by interviewing multiple pioneers of the early and middle web, offering less practical information and something more akin to a historical perspective. ... even calling upon Howard Rheingold, who surprised me with his early book on the matter even back in 01993!

If I were to view things only by the texts themselves, AJK's methods are clearly much better than Powazek's, both at the time and even now. On the other hand, AJK has since forsaken her writing on the topic of community building, while Powazek has continued to update his interest. Given that state of things, Powazek might become the more authoritative writer of the two over time, even if his newer knowledge is no longer in book form.

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