FOWA: Making Your App Social (Rashmi Sinha) [en]

[fr] Notes prises à l'occasion de la conférence Future of Web Apps (FOWA) à Londres.

Here are my live notes of this Future of Web Apps (FOWA) session. They are probably incomplete and may contain mistakes, though I do my best to be accurate. Chances are I’ll be adding links to extra material and photos later on, so don’t hesitate to come back and check. Suw also took notes on this talk.

Rashmi does Slideshare, which is 1 year old today!

The idea behind slideshare: presentations are hard to share. Pictures of Flickr, videos on YouTube, but what about the slides?

Again, nothing against the person presenting, but a case study of SlideShare shouldn’t be titled “Making Your App Social”

People share varied stuff on SlideShare. After the initial “2.0” uploads, realised that PowerPoint is the simplest way for people to share a bunch of photos or stuff.

FOWA 2007 92

10 lessons…

  • forget the iPod (good design, but it’s not social)
  • give up control, it’s messy
  • plant seeds, let people connect
  • should have a strong individual focus; don’t count on altruism
  • try to solve one problem really really well

steph-note: can hear Leah Culver (talking in the other room) in here really clearly, it’s quite annoying

What kind of social? Social space or widget? Facebook app? own a piece of the social network steph-booth: ew, another use of “social graph”

FOWA 2007 93

Privacy is social: sharing is often in closed circles steph-note: yes!! yes!! There is a whole continuum between “public” and “private”. Important to be able to shift back and forth between public and private. By setting the default to public, really enabled the sharing of bookmarks.

FOWA 2007 94

Brian: how do you carry privacy settings outside? (feeds, etc)
Rashmi: give control to the person. The social connection is the carrier of the “privacy metadata” (ie, tell your friends to not share further).

steph-notes: some of my thoughts on privacy are in Ethics and Privacy in the Digital Age. I agree that for the moment, privacy is mainly managed through our relationships with others, rather than technically.

Privacy is a tough issue.

Levels of participation: everybody is not a creator.

Popularity. Metrics:

  • favorite & tag
  • comment
  • view
  • embed
  • download
  • e-mail

“The Wisdom of Crowds” by James Surowiecki– add to reading list.

Get into a conversation with users. You can’t get away from them, particularly if you’re in the social application space. Customer service as user research. Answer e-mails personally, monitor blogs… etc. steph-note: cf. Satisfaction

Launched SlideShare by just embedding a slideshow or her talk in her blog. October 4, TechCrunched.

Designed SlideShare for people like themselves, but quickly saw that people were using is to upload art, etc.

Rashmi believes more in “putting it out there”, and letting the people who need it find it, rather than a closed beta which is a lot of work. Hard to find the right people for the closed beta too. Launch first, refine later. steph-note: I kind of agree, but in the case of coComment, for example, launching too early actually did them disservice.

Important: make sure that what you “put out there” works. Little by little. Indeed, if it’s broken, people might try it and not come back. The “put it out there” philosophy works for non-critical stuff.

Be agile. Fail fast to get to the right answer. Track metrics, adjust, change.

Allow for play.

steph-note: I’ve written about quite a few of these privacy issues on CTTS, and had a nice discussion over lunch with Rashmi. Start with Ethics and Privacy in the Digital Age.