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Programming Social Applications by Jonathan LeBlanc

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Balanced Sharing

One way to reap the benefits but avoid the drawbacks of the direct and passive sharing approaches is to attempt to integrate both into a balanced sharing mechanism. If employed correctly, this technique guarantees you a certain number of activities posted per user action while maintaining the trust relationship you’ve established with the user.

The balanced sharing technique is built on a few main concepts. The first is the use of passive sharing and determining the appropriate actions to tie it to. If passive shares are tied to heavily trafficked user actions, you will end up flooding the user’s activity stream with an abundance of messages that she knows nothing about. Passive sharing should be used only for major actions, such as the user completing a lengthy task, earning a badge, or making major upgrades to her profile or application content. This will ensure that a certain number of activities are promoted without monopolizing the user’s stream.

The direct sharing technique, on the other hand, should be tied to every other instance for which you would like the application to post out messages. This could be invite flows, requests for help or content from friends, sharing content from the application, and more. You can make your calls to action more enticing to users by providing benefits—such as virtual currency or promotional upgrades—for posting the updates.

Using moderation and maintaining the trust relationship you have with your users can help you build ...

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