Archives for posts with tag: socialnomics

Facebook is testing a new way to rate Places that is reminiscent of another successful Zuckerberg project, Facemash. Some users who have checked into Places, or who have been tagged in checkins, are seeing a new sidebar asking “Which place do you like better?” When a user chooses a place, the section pits two more places against each other, and so on.

(Facemash did this with photos of Harvard students and asked people to choose the more attractive of the two.  If you’ve seen The Social Network, you know how instantly popular it was.)

When Facebook launched Places in August 2010, it was clear that the product could one day have options to rate and review places a la Yelp. Since the site has such a massive user base, there is a great opportunity for Facebook to own the social recommendation space by making a product that becomes even more widely adopted. As it is now, lots of people who read Yelp reviews have never written one themselves, nor have their friends. A lot of companies are making social sites and apps to share information and recommendations, but none have been able to solve the problem of participation inequality. I believe Facebook is more likely than anyone to figure this out.

This latest test shows just how clearly Facebook understands human behavior. If they had asked me to rate Free State Brewing Company, I might have done it only because I like that place a whole lot and want people to know about it. If they asked for a review, I might not have because I like that place a whole lot and would want to take some time to write a great review. Instead, Facebook made the question so simple and compelling that I continued to vote until I didn’t have any more checkins to vote upon.

This may not be the ultimate way Facebook implements recommendations, but it at least shows that they get it.


Today Rotten Tomatoes announced new Instant Personalization features that will show you what movies your Facebook friends like and what movies you might enjoy based on your other interests. It’s a good example of how our social networks can become more useful to us.

Another can be found on TripAdvisor. When you connect to the site using Facebook, you will see which of your friends have lived in, visited or can otherwise offer advice about a city. I love this idea, but I soon noticed that a few of my friends were not listed in places I knew they should have been.

Then it clicked.

A few months ago, when Facebook announced Instant Personalization, blogs and other media outlets ran with the story, “Even if you opt-out of Instant Personalization, your friends can share your information!” People were horrified and quickly went to uncheck every box under the “Info accessible through your friends” section.

But of course this sounded scary when no one had a tangible example of why they might want to share their info with applications or websites used by their friends.

Now perhaps it’s time to give it a second thought. Do you like giving your friends recommendations about restaurants or movies or travel spots? If so, go to your privacy settings and check more options under ‘Info accessible through your friends.”

If this idea is still horrifying to you, go there and uncheck everything.

I recently downloaded a free iPhone app called StickyBits that lets you scan any barcode and attach comments, photos, video, audio or links for others to see when they scan the same barcode.

StickyBits and services like it have amazing potential to change how we decide what to buy. Imagine scanning any barcode and reading quick reviews or seeing photos or videos of the item in use.

But here’s the problem: these apps and sites only as helpful as the people using them.

I recently read Socialnomics, which talked a lot about how the future of buying will involve much more influence from our social networks. How easy decisions will be when we can see what our friends chose and how they felt about it.

But what if my friends aren’t there yet? Just a month ago I had to explain to a good friend what Foursquare was. And even though everyone has heard of Amazon and Yelp, very few of my friends have ever written a review about a product or place.

Now, I haven’t either, but that’s about to change. I want to start a movement to encourage people to give back to the Internet that gives so much to them. I’ll start with myself. I plan to leave more reviews across the web, even if it is as simple as leaving a tip on Foursquare or attaching StickyBits to barcodes.

How can I convince my friends and others to do the same? What is the motivation behind leaving reviews? How do we encourage this on a broader scale? If not for my personal benefit, but for that of our clients as well?