From Social Patterns
A person wants to know when something happened.
- Use to give users an indication of when an item, a thought or a conversation was added to the site.
- Use to distinguish a flow between two people.
- Use to indicate the freshness of an item, especially if highlighted.
- Indicate in the metadata of the item – photo, blog post, forum post or an item in a conversation environment like IM or twitter – a time and/or date stamp.
- Allow users to filter items by date.
- Allow users to search or browse by date. For blog posts, provide an archive by month / year in addition to categories or tags.
- Show items by newest item first as a default.
- Some sites like twitter show followers by date the user was followed. This is not necessarily the best organization for this type of data. While this is interesting information, there are no filters available to re-sort the follower list by alphabet, which would be useful when looking for a specific person to message or pull out.
- Make sure the information or post type makes sense to be sorted by date as a default.
Use a vitality or activity stream to show a vital and active community. This can be a good incentive for encouraging participation.