Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, October 5, 2007

Online Collaboration: Share More, Share Better

How do we share, collaborate and cooperatively support each other effectively online? Are there ways and methods we can use to improve our online sharing and collaboration abilities?

Photo credit: Viewimages

Joshua Porter, brings in another inspired short essay, this time focusing on what you need to do to make your online sharing activities more effective.

What does it take, to design sharing processes that are truly effective?

Though sharing per se appears to be such a simple and straightforward process, what can you do to leverage its potential for good to the maximum?




Improve Your Online Sharing

Photo credit: Miodrag Gajic

by Joshua Porter

A large part of social design is sharing, but:

How do you encourage sharing?

What should you let people share?

Is there a way to improve the act of sharing?

How do you know if sharing is successful?

Sharing is a pretty straight-forward process. Someone finds something interesting/controversial/useful enough to tell someone else about it.

Breaking down this process into smaller steps can help you design better methods for sharing.

Sharing Process Steps

1) Something Worth Sharing


First, you need something worth sharing. It could be an object, like a video, slideshow, picture, or URL. Or it could be an idea or process, like a new way to cook spaghetti or a better way to design web sites.

Ideas, however, need to be distilled into an object as well... since we're on the Web most of the time the objects are URLs.

2) Pivot Points for Sharing


A good question to ask is: what are the pivot points on which this thing is shared?

Here's an example: most TV shows are shared not by the network they're on, but by the title of the show. This suggests that network doesn't matter as much as the show, and so giving people the tools to share the show is a higher priority.

However, if you notice when you're watching a TV show, there is a ton of network advertising... but nobody really shares at this level so it's just not that effective.

3) Make it Easier to Share


How do you make something easier to share?

Make it a PDF that people can email. Provide an explicit permalink to the URL.

If you've got a video you place the embed code right alongside it (and build the functionality to support the actual embedding). If you've got a book review, you might put an "email this" share feature beside it.

Prompt the user to share and give them tools to do so.

4) Personalize the Share


How can you make the act of sharing more effective?

One thing you can do is to personalize the share message.

Instead of saying "a friend wanted to share with you". Say "Your friend Josh wanted to share with you".

This is a more compelling message, especially in a age of SPAM when we are inundated with fake sharing all the time.

5) Follow-up the Sharing


Also, follow-up the share. Who did they send it to?

Did that person come and interact as a result of the sharing?

Pay attention to this metric because it measures whether or not people are sharing your stuff persuasively. If they are not, help them do so by prompting them with a default message.

Also, if it makes sense to record the message that was shared so you can know if there are issues you're not aware of.

6) Leverage the Popularity of Sharing


Create a "most shared" list.

This helps people find the best content when they are looking for it.

However, this probably isn't a good primary navigation strategy because then people rely on it too much.

Have it available, but make it secondary so that all of your content is still available and exposed.

Building tools for sharing is how you enable word-of-mouth online.

By breaking it down into a process with many steps, you can begin to optimize each step and therefore improve the overall effect.


Originally written by Joshua Porter for Bokardo and first published on September 24, 2007 as "Improve Your Online Sharing"

About the author
Joshua Porter is a well-known information designer and a witty design analyst. You can follow his wanderings via Twitter, find out his preferences with Delicious, and find more about who he is in touch with via Facebook. Or you can read some of his great articles directly at

Photo credits:
Ducks sharing umbrella - Photo credit: Imagecache
Pivot points - Photo credit: Zlatko Costic
Easy - glass of water - Photo credit: Vadim Zholobov
Measuring waist - Photo credit: Marc Dietrich
Analyzing data - Photo credit: Absolut
Popularity of sharing - Photo credit: Nonoscience

Joshua Porter -
Reference: Bokardo [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Friday, October 5 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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