I find it a little ridiculously geeky that I’d get excited about a tshirt that has the RSS logo on it, but I did, so there ya go. But I was also excited in looking around at how some of these sites are using interactive web 2.0-like features to build customer loyalty.
For example at Threadless (t-shirt company), the customers design the shirts, and then people who purchase the clothes can post pictures of themselves wearing them. So when you look at a particular design, you can see others who bought and are wearing it. Threadies (which I learned about from a fellow twitterer, teach42, Steve Dembo)is a very cool, unofficial community site built around the art that has been designed for Threadless, including design contests, and an archive of shirt designs from Threadless.
Cafe Press, which has been around for awhile, also allows customers to design the clothing and items (coffee cups, bibs, etc.) by uploading the art, and then purchasing or selling them. Also, interestingly, quite a few of the presidential candidates are popping up with merchandise on Cafe Press, as well as more commercial “shops” like the one for the MythBusters show.
(I know about these stores because it’s where my college age son “shops,” by the way.)
So this leads me to ask–why aren’t our library catalogs or school websites doing more of this–allowing our “customers” to add to our content, post their photos, add their book reviews, or “design their own” stuff? Why aren’t we inviting them to join our online communities? Threadless, which is a commercial entity, even has a logo at the top of their page that invites you to “participate“.
Why aren’t our pages communities in the first place? Do students WANT to even join our online school spaces? If so, how could we create spaces for them, and what would they look like(given the boundaries that we are schools)? Some food for thought.
And now, while you’re pondering that, in the spirit of the season, here are a few “fun” items I ran across while shopping. Happy December!