Communicating value in Social Apps (was Wired gets Leisa Riechtl's "Ambient Intimacy")

18 Jul 2007 - 11:42am
484 reads
Dave Malouf

The recent thread on Twitter is interesting.
First I love the concept of Ambient Intimacy.
I think that Twitter is a great example of attempting to do this.
I do think it fails on several accounts I mention in the thread.

But that said, Chris Fahey said this in the thread:
"It's a unique quality of Twitter and other Social Apps that it takes a
lot of time to understand what it is, what the community is like or how
the tool facilitates and shapes your personal relationships. This is
unfortunate for those of us who want to be able to authoritatively pass
judgement on something after only an hour or two of using it, as we
might do with a Word Processor app or an E-Commerce web site. But we
just can't credibly do that kind of commando-review with Social Apps."

And I agree with him that Social Apps do differentiate themselves as
"socializing" is a type of activity that is hard to communicate the
value of without the investment of time.

I do think though there are communication needs around value that are
unfulfilled by many social networking sites. I know as someone who is
generally an early adopter of many technologies (iPhone in hand), I
have struggled with most social networking sites. I'm a member of
Facebook back when it was a college thing, using my
address (Go Bears!) to sign up, but never got it going. Now I'm
getting emails almost daily of people who I'm not friends with and I
still really haven't logged in. I've used twitter for a couple of
months but had to turn it off to regain some sanity. Basically, the
intimacy was not all that ambient. ;)

The only successful social networking site I have really been able to
incorporate into my life is LinkedIn. Don't know why, but it always
has been a trusted friend. I don't use it often. I don't have to
invest a lot into it to get a lot out of it when I need it, but to the
point of the new subject line, i find that it has always communicated
to me the value that it represents and has never really failed on that
value proposition. Now, I haven't paid for it (yet), but I use it
quite successfully all the time and have helped others use it as well.

I think that Twitter and Facebook feel like entertainment to me (which
is not a bad thing), but I know with Facebook it should be much more.
the question is how does Facebook and other Social Apps communicate
that value to me? How are you going to get me to invest in it.

Chris said you can't judge a car until you drive it. Oh contraire mon
amee. but I can and I do ALL the time. I drive down the LIE for 60mi.
2x's a day and all I do is judge the cars that pass me and that I pass
on a regular basis. Each one communicates something about it to me and
I take that value statement into my head and incorporate it into my
understanding of that vehicle regularly. The same is from a clip of a
movie, and a TV show.

What I guess I'm saying is that the value prop or value statement is
not made manifest in many social apps, which to me is the biggest
barrier to even wanting to invest that socializing time that Chris
speaks about.

-- dave

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