Thursday, January 26, 2012

Likes, Genre, Action – Facebook Introduces Clicks to Action


Brian Solis takes us through the latest 'action' at Facebook that will impact how people interact with apps, content, brands, and each other. Read more below.

"Following the official roll out of its new Timeline, Facebook is introducing Actions, a series of new applications that change how people interact with apps, content, brands, and each other. The new apps will extend Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of frictionless experiences based on Facebook’s Open Graph platform, where apps introduce new ways to share your actions with your friends either implicitly or explicitly. With the new Open Graph platform, developers will introduce new Actions and Action buttons that extend the functionality of sharing beyond Likes to now include a dictionary of suggestive words such as “Want,” “Own,” “Read,” etc.

As Facebook states, “Apps bring your Timeline to life.” Two of the first frictionless Timeline apps I experimented with were Spotify and the Washington Post Reader. These apps, with my approval upon installation, automatically sent updates that share with friends what I was listening to or reading. For example, “Brian Solis is listening to ‘Love will tear us apart’ on Spotify” or “Brian Solis is reading ‘Talking with Aung San Suu Kyi’ on Washington Post Reader.” These updates are designed to pique curiosity and motivate people to either click through to the source and ultimately, install the app for themselves.

With the new Open Graph platform, Facebook is going live with over 60 Timeline App partners including, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, RunKeeper, among others. These apps will extend the interests, activities, and accomplishments of people beyond the moment, to create a more engaged ecosystem around you and your interests.

The Achilles Heel of any social network is the state of engagement among users. In-network sharing and interaction combined with external integration between outside sites, Facebook, and the people who share and engage, are critical to the sustenance and growth any network, especially one that is approaching one billion users. The Like button is far too limiting to fuel ongoing discovery and interaction in a maturing social economy. Expectations grow as complacency perpetually looms.


Frictionless experiences are merely the beginning. Facebook is empowering developers to think beyond the Like button. Yes, you read that correctly. Actions are now going to open up a new genre of buttons that share your accomplishments and desires with your network. Initially, developers will introduce action buttons on their Websites to alert friends to a greater variety of interests and achievements.

In the example below, you can see how Recipe Box is experimenting with two words, “Cooked” and “Want.” Clicking either one connects the Website with Facebook, distributing the action, intention and the destination to the Timeline, News Feed and Ticker. Before, a visitor would simply “Like” the recipe, which might invite a reaction back on Facebook. Certainly, it would require a much more manual approach for someone sharing it to say, “I want to try this.” Now it’s as easy a clicking a button."



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