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Programming Social Applications by Jonathan LeBlanc

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Direct Sharing Versus Passive Sharing

There are two main categories for the methods a developer can employ to promote his applications: direct sharing and passive sharing. These two options dictate under what circumstances an activity will be published on a user’s behalf and whether that user is aware of the update being posted.

There are a few schools of thought where sharing is concerned. As we’ve discussed, many developers promote application notifications to the user’s activity stream, thus displaying the notification to all of the user’s friends, and believe that more notifications equals more visibility. Let’s assume that a user has five or more applications installed, all promoting out as many activities as they can and all being broadcast to that user’s friends. But what if the container provides a means by which a user can hide all application notifications in case they become too invasive and overrun his activity streams? The fact is, almost every container supporting applications does provide a way for users to hide such notifications, so application developers need to be careful about which, and how many, notifications they send. This is where direct and passive sharing come into play. Each option has some drawbacks and benefits, which we’ll examine next.

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