Tag Archives: facebook

Google Reader +1 Change: This is all your fault Facebook

This post is all semantics and concerns Google Reader. Knowing fully well that most people have never heard of Google Reader (this guy uses it), allow me to rant.

Once upon a time, Facebook rolled out the Like button. It was widely adopted across the web.

Facebook Like Button

Facebook defines the like button as:

The Like button lets a user share your content with friends on Facebook. When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to your website.

In the definition, there is no explicit indication that the Facebook user approves/enjoys/etc. the content shared. But as anyone who speaks English will tell you, Liking something indicates that you find the content shared agreeable.

Not surprisingly, this has led to countless occasions where Facebook users have ‘Liked’ content that they do not (in plain English) like. See this bit about AT&T users on Facebook.

Updated Google Reader Screenshot

Today, Google rolled out their Google Reader update.

Before today’s update, you could Star, Like, Share, Share with note, Email, Keep Unread, and Tag Google Reader content. Those are each separate, independent actions:

Google Reader - Before Update Actions

Google defines sharing content as:

When you find interesting items on Reader, you can choose to share them on Google+ publicly, or with a certain circles or friends. You can also add a comment in the sharebox to your shared items. Your comment will show up along with the item you’ve recommended in the streams of those you’ve shared with.

Today, you can Star, +1, Email, Keep Unread, or Tag Google Reader content:

Google Reader - Updated Actions

I’m OK with this except for one workflow detail. Before you can share any Google Reader item, you need to first +1 it.

Google explains that +1 means:

+1 gets conversations going. Click the +1 button to give something your public stamp of approval. Then, if you want to share right away, add a comment and send it to the right circles on Google+.

Their Reader blog says:

The ability to +1 a feed item (replacing “Like”), with an option to then share it with your circles on Google+ (replacing “Share” and “Share with Note”).

The Google Reader update makes you give your “stamp of approval” on content before you can share it with friends. With content on the internet, there is plausibly content that you want to share (because you find it interesting) but do not approve of. For me, the Google Reader content that I Like (in the broadest sense of enjoying and approving of content) is a small subset of content that I Share. But interesting content (shared) & approved content (liked) don’t need to intersect.

Google has a superior system in place. By that, I mean that +1 & sharing to Circles are two distinct actions in Google+ VS the conflated Like action in Facebook. Google, please separate the steps of explicitly approving content (+1) and sharing content among friends (sharing to Circles). Just place “Share to Circle(s)” between “+1” and “Email” under each Google Reader content piece.


Update 11/10/11: Share has been added.

Real Life Facebook Button

A dedicated button for Facebook on your phone? With super awkward placement?

While this Fb x Real Life mashup is unnecessary, I wanted to look at other examples of company logos on real life buttons. Most companies that produce hardware are content with having their logo printed onto a surface instead of a pushable button.

Note: images are used only to illustrate hardware buttons. Each logo is property of their respective owner.

Blackberry has been doing this for some time. Note the natural location among the keys.

A natural category for buttons is remotes. Specifically TV remote controls.

TiVo has been doing this for a while with their quirky logo.

Netflix is rolling out their logo as more and more devices ship with an embedded Netflix app. Apparently, Yahoo got onto this remote as a bonus.

Another category with branded buttons is video game consoles. Their controllers have gained logo buttons with the current generation of hardware.

The original Xbox had a giant logo, but it wasn’t one you could press. The Xbox 360 has a pushable logo for Xbox’s dashboard.

Playstation 3 getting its logo on.

An easily overlooked category would be the keyboard. Countless keyboards have the Windows logo.

Here is an example of the ubiquitous Windows keyboards that exist. The Windows key is useful for certain shortcuts (Win + D for desktop), but a pain when you’re in the middle of a full screen game.

Some Mac keyboards have an Apple logo.

While the Facebook logo above is placed awkwardly for dramatic effect, most company logos are placed logically in a manner that consumers use every day.

An Exercise in Sharing

This post is more thinking out loud (what I like to do on this blog). Free association with services and sharing.

Snoop Dogg on Instagram

Many sites serve to provide information (such as Wikipedia). Other sites share info (such as Fmylife). What I want to focus on are services that share info in a defined social group. Meaning that you can cultivate lists of friends and share with them. These social sites may enable you to share publicly. In fact, they may be incentivized to make everything public (à la Facebook).

Here are some services I came up with in no particular order:

Service Sharing
Instagram Photos
Twitter Text/Links
Ping (from Apple) Music
Foursquare Location
Group Me Txt
Buzz (from Google) RSS, etc.
Yelp Reviews
Foodspotting Food Photos
Facebook User Updates
Blippy Purchases
Scribd Documents

Clearly there are services I’ve missed.

For any unfilled areas, there exists a startup opportunity. Instagram is a newcomer that has gained significant traction, so anything can be done given proper execution.

Is there a search engine that shares all your searches on purpose? What about an Instagram for short video?

Collecting Useless

This post is about the human nature to collect/hoard imaginary points that have very little possibility of benefit. For example, there are Xbox achievements, PSN trophies (a copy of said achievements), Foursquare badges, points (from any web 2.0 website), etc. It’s fair to say that no person needs these things.

The are many possible reasons a person chooses to earn a virtual score: 1.) self-esteem, 2.) social signalling, 3.) point redemption, 4.) site loyalty, and so on.

  1. Self-esteem
    After investing so much time in an environment (Xbox, Foursquare, etc), a person wants to feel like they have accomplished something. If a person has a high user score or rank to show for it, a person can validate their time spent in an environment with a high standing. See level 80 WoW characters.
  2. Social signalling
    Similar to #1 above, a person wants to have a high rank to show off to others. For example in PSN, a person can compare their trophies against their friends. This is a direct 1-to-1 rights to brag feature, where a person can see how many trophies they earned over their friend, and vice-versa. This is known as e-peen on the internet.
  3. Point-redemption
    In certain environments, a person can take points that they earn and redeem them for actual goods. This makes earned points more useful. For example in Club Nintendo, a person earns coins that they can use to redeem for Nintendo merchandise. In other environments, a person is able to redeem points for special features like premium avatars or a better title.
  4. Site loyalty
    With any point program,  a person has a further incentive to keep using the site. They’ve already built up some points, so why would they want to throw that advantage away? By rewarding users for continuing to visit, this drives traffic and revenue (directly or indirectly). Think of Foursquare giving a person points each time they check in at a location. As a Foursquare member who has superuser status, why would that person want to give that all up?

So there are many reasons a person would have to earn points.

Part of human nature is being rational. Being rational entails preparing for the future. So in an effort to be in a better future position, a person may opt to earn points on as many web services as possible. Who knows what is going to be the next Wikipedia or Twitter? If a person was involved early on, they could have been a Wikipedia moderator or gotten many Twitter followers. Yes, most people don’t think like this, but among technology early adopters, this mentality is more prevalent. Finding and using the next cool web service (ala Facebook) before everyone else did is a sure-fire way to increase their e-peen.

In a situation where a person has two choices: 1.) get points or 2.) get no points, a rational person will choose #1 every time. It’s human nature to collect things, store them, and wring some benefit out of it when possible. Even if there is a 0% chance of benefit to having points, it’s likely that a person would want to get points for the sake of it. In video games, earning points and leveling up is addictive for the sake of it.

It makes sense to earn points with credit cards that have conclusive future rewards. It may make sense to earn points in a video game where the only possible future benefit is virtually nil. People simply like getting things in our materialistic society where most people have the basics (food, shelter, clothing, etc.). When a person and their circle of friends don’t have to worry about food, what can help distinguish them from everyone else? Number of Facebook friends? Joining Twitter before Oprah did? Listening to such and such indie rock band before they hit mainstream and sell out?

I write this because I am addicted to PSN trophies, Foursquare badges, and get so focused on this BS aspect. When you play games and are no longer having fun just to earn an achievement, it is BS and you have no one else to blame but yourself.