What is a social object?

and how do we create them?



A social object is a term coined by Jyri Engestrom. It’s an object creating a human connection between two people. It’s that simple, but just to make sure Hugh MacLeod gives a few examples of social objects.

“You and your friend, Joe like to go bowling every Tuesday. The bowling is the social object.”

He ends by saying that a social object is the tangible reason for why we socialise and that social networks form around these social objects.

So how do we make ordinary objects social? Here’s Macleod’s list:

1. Make Meaning: The market for people wanting something to believe in is infinite; make your products “worth it.”

2. Create/Find a Purpose: People often confuse purpose with meaning, but the purpose relates back to the reason you get up in the morning and do what you do.

3. Create Play: Humans innately like to play; it’s the way we first start negotiating the world, so give people a reason to want to interact with your product.

4. Create New Language: If you want to evolve your product, you have to evolve marketing. You have to talk to people in a way they have never been talked to before.

5. Create share-ability: Don’t make it easy for people to share your product; Make it easy for them to share THEMSELVES.

6. Push Boundaries of Design: Design matters! It has the ability to differentiate your product.

7. Facilitate Community: Turn your product into a place where people gather rather than thing people that people buy.

8. Create New Context: Allow people to see your brand in a new light.

9. Enable “Meatspace”: Bring people together to facilitate discussions around your product.

Read more about Macleod’s thoughts on social objects here.

Want to know more?

At Sharing.Lab we’re dedicated explorers of how to bring attention to the social aspect of the sharing economy. Now that it’s become a mega trend, we’re highly interested in how it can bring people closer together in real life.

If you want to know more, don’t hesitate to say hello!

This post was originally posted at sharinglab.dk




Based in Copenhagen, Sharing.Lab is a non profit organisation exploring and experimenting with ways to strengthen social resilience.