Sharing needs de-duplication and context
There are a number of media out there at the moment that invite you to give some form of acceptance of a piece of content. Google Reader allows you to star, like, share or email a post, or indeed send it to Facebook or Twitter. And Twitter allows you to retweet stuff. Add to this people’s ability to feed certain things (such as their Google Reader shared items) to other media (e.g. Twitter) and it adds up to quite a bit of confusion, and often lots of duplication.
I have a friend, for example, who is a “friend” on Google, who I follow on Twitter and who subscribes to some of the same websites as I do on Google Reader. In some instances, I’ll be directed to a single post three times: on his Twitter feed, in my “People you follow” area of Google Reader, and through my own subscription to that site on Google Reader. Other friends push their Twitter feed to Facebook and even have a weekly Twitter wrap-up, again resulting in the same content being “appreciated” three times. Not good.
It would be useful if there was some way of suppressing content that I’ve already seen through another medium, but I suspect given the tactical ways in which this functionality has evolved, and the competition between the various medium owners, this is unlikely.
Also, Google Reader kindly tells me how many other people like the post, almost trying to give it some level of acceptance with which to cloud my own judgment. I happen to like this, but the number in isolation is somewhat meaningless. Twenty people liking one of my posts would be an unequivocal success (hell, one would be nice!); while twenty people liking an xkcd post would indicate low levels of appeal. It would be much better to give this a more contextual score based on the number of subscribers. Or better still, based on the number of subscribers that have thus far accessed it. So if I have ten subscribers and get three “likes”, then this would be given the same score as 11,893 of xkcd’s 35,678 subscribers liking one of its posts. And the post’s popularity score might be further weighted by the pull of my various followers. So Seth Godin liking one of my posts would carry more weight than my liking one of his.
Just a thought.