Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What, why, and how we share

Facebook is a funny place. It seems that sharing something on Facebook now means essentially the same thing as "liking" something. This change likely occurred when Facebook announced their plans to broaden their platform. I thought then, and still feel now, the term "like" is rather overloaded. Not only does it mean "Fan" as it was called in its former iteration, but now it means "like" and possibly "share?" Wow, that's confusing. Terminology aside, this got me wondering, what does it mean to "share" something? Why would someone "share" something rather than "liking" something? Thankfully, I'm not the only one who's been thinking about this. Apparently there's a lot of content out there on why people share, and how people share and what people share.

Let's start with the "what" people share. This one comes paraphrased from Clay Shirky's SXSWi 2010 talk. People Share:
  • Goods
  • Services
  • Information
He goes on to make some great comparisons on how they compare to one another.

In terms of "why" people share, I ran across a few presentations, loosely summarized, by the following list:
  • enjoyment in helping others
  • presentation of one's identity
  • reputation
  • potential for new connections
  • receiving feedback

As for "how" people share, I ran across an interesting presentation on that talked about three types of sharing:
  • spontaneous
  • planned
  • gaming (or experiential, in my opinion)
Out of all the pieces on "sharing" that I found recently, the "how" people share was most notable. I think what intrigued me the most was that it really sums up the differences in something like sharing. Sure, the motivations and the what may all be different...but how are they really manifested? it's in the "how" people share. Sharing a bit of information in person is a lot different than doing so via text. Just think about the visceral reactions we get when we hear about relationships ending over text messages -- there's something not quite right about that. Having a way to segment how sharing occurs helps make sense of why we share what we do.

So what? Why do I bother posting this? Aside from my desire to share this with folks (to get a response, to hopefully help people, etc), it's also a way for me to organize my thoughts around it. Thanks for your attention.

Somewhat related:

Friday, July 02, 2010

Flow in everyday things?

David Hayward brings up some great points about the potential for system fatigue in systems that employ game mechanics. Indeed, if we lived in the game apocalypse world envisioned by Jesse Schell, it all might be a bit boring in the long run.

That said, I don't think it's really a question of do we use game mechanics in whatever system we design. Rather, how is it that we facilitate flow in all experiences?

an old post of mine on flow
Cultivated Play

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Gov2.0 needs solid product managment

During the recent Gov 2.0 Camp in Los Angeles the notion of jargon came about. I can't help but think about parallels with product management in general.

Let's say you have a product (or service) can do X, Y, Z. It's very tempting to crow about the fact that the product can do X, Y and Z. The reality of the matter is, no one cares about the product (it's not about you, it's about them). All a prospective person who encounters that product cares about is how can it help me kick ass. If it doesn't, they move on to other things.

To facilitate this process, the product manager really needs to know their audience. What are their needs, desires, stressors and the like? More specifically, what are they doing now at and how can you build from it? Think of it as basic marketing, or even basic community organizing. No matter the specific discipline, hopefully the net result is the same -- a deeper understanding of your audience.

It seems to me, government (1.0 and 2.0) is in the same boat. How does government help the average person be better at what they do? Whether it's getting on a bus, or getting a pothole fixed, everyone has a role to play in getting people into flow state of empowerment . While the initial discussion that triggered this post was about jargon, I really see this as effective product management.