Roadmap for building ‘social features’ into the product

At the core of any product, you are going to have people interact with some piece of content. However, before we jump into how to design a viral loop for free marketing and growth, let’s examine the right way to think about how to make your product more social, and how to build the social elements into the basic value proposition.

The following is an outline of the topics I am going to cover about how to add social features into a product. Some of them might be very basic, but it’s important to cover them so that it’s clear what we are all talking about.

  1. Social Models
    • friendship (symmetric)
    • follow (asymmetric)
    • advantages/disadvantages of each
  2. Social network types
    • broad social network
    • vertical/interest social networks
  3. What it means to create a ‘vertical social network’
  4. Traditional way to think about it
    • nodes and edges
    • e.g. Facebook (edges are friendship)
    • e.g. Twitter/instagram (edges are interest)
  5. New way to think about it
    • Layering
    • edges are “MY RELATIONSHIP” to that content (picture, food, link, story, blog post, etc.)
  6. Revisit: What it means to create a ‘vertical social network’
  7. Social lens for content
    • Different Views possible based on relationships and friends’ friends
  8. Recommendation systems (discovery of new content)
    • Algorithmically jumping from one piece of content to another
    • Letting users control what they see (through the social lens)
    • Examples

Let me know your thoughts, or if I have missed anything.

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