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Programming Social Applications by Jonathan LeBlanc

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Understanding the Viral Channels

When you’re building out applications that have their social features tied to a specific social network, understanding that platform’s viral channels will help you increase your user base and the number of engaged users.

A social networking container’s viral channels are those services that are available to a developer to help you promote the application, message or invite users, and generally put yourself front and center to people using the service.

Facebook uses many such channels for reaching out to people on the network, and application developers can take advantage of them to build up their services and grow their applications. These include:

  • Pushing new activities (updates) to a user’s news feed to show an action that a user has taken and attempt to enlist new users

  • Promoting through the notification system to encourage a user to interact with the application or service and with other users, thereby increasing his overall engagement and time on site

Understanding and taking advantage of a platform’s available channels for growing your application and increasing user engagement is an important component to developing a successful, high-quality application.

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