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Step 4: How Technology Can Help Spread Jokes (Treatment)

We use Web Business Engineering to find ways of using technology to help spread jokes. Our usual goal in designing a treatment based on both a qualitative value model and a qualitative diagnosis is to create a new online process with all the benefits and none of the drawbacks. With this in mind, in place of the person telling the joke, we substitute a joke Web site (W), which we'll assume has a database of great jokes that a user (U) can read (see Figure 3):

Figure 3

The Web as a joke-teller

But this solution doesn't support the two conditions needed for effective joke spreading: an accurate retelling of the joke and an appropriate social situation for telling the joke. To prevent an inaccurate retelling of the joke, we have W tell the joke to a person's friends(F1..FN, or simply F) over email (see Figure 4).

Figure 4

The Web as a joke-reteller

Note that this isn't quite correct. If the Web site is going to retell the joke to a user's friends (F) via email, the site needs to somehow get the user's friends' email addresses (Fi). This can be accomplished through a simple Web form, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5

The Web as a joke-reteller for a user

What's nice is that if the Web form is on the same page as the joke, then W is essentially creating a situation for retelling the joke. Note that we don't prevent the user from spreading the joke the word-of-mouth way (faded-out text and lines); we've simply created a new, redundant process for spreading the information.

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