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Why Add Social Features

Via the Bokardo blog:

I think that social features are bigger than many people view them. They are a long-term strategy that takes lots of resources. You can't simply bolt on a feature here or there (well, unless it's article sharing or something super simple like that) and expect to realize the benefits of making a richer social experience for your users.

The article he wrote on Brain Sparks talks about some of the benefits that include more data and trust.

Perhaps the least talked about benefit of social features is that they are wonderful precursors to a data-driven design strategy. Every time someone saves, shares, or comments on something, you have more data to go on regarding what they find valuable.

I think there’s a lot of room for experimentation with social features but you need to have some ideas and research behind it. I’ve seen quite a few just add a feature because they could. I think Beth Jefferson and the BiblioCommons crew have put in quite a bit of research and I’m interested in seeing how it pans out. There’s a lot of things they could have done but when talking with her about the work she’s doing you can tell that everything you see has a purpose and data behind the decision.

I do look forward to more data, presuming it’s usable and shareable.