Design 3A: Design for the Digital Realm

Social Web


How would you describe a social network? This project will reconsider the social interactions we currently make through online platforms. Let’s build trust, intimacy, and novelty into our digital experiences. There are multiple ways to consider this. We will start with a critical overview of social media. Who created these platforms and what “problems” do they solve? What behaviors do they promote? How does the platform present itself? We’ve all heard the acronym IRL, but Gen Z and Millennials understand the increasing blurriness of IRL vs. URL. Alternative forms of networks, interfaces, and platforms will be introduced, such as p2p, sneakernets, blogchains, analog hypertext, etc. We will focus on locality, messaging, and slow reading.

In the essay Learning Trails, Leo Shaw writes, “Given the sheer volume of content that fills digital spaces, we might think about attention using metaphors of environmental stewardship: building trails, remediating damaged landscapes, prescribing burns, packing out our trash.” By thinking through analog and digital forms of hypertext, we can design new methods of reading and interacting online.


Create a social network that uses the phone as the primary entry point. This does not have to be a mobile application, and should consider how networks are created outside of devices. You can use a prototyping tool (like Invision) or build a responsive website.