Thursday, January 5, 2012

Social Networks and the SecondScreen

Let's talk about Social and Second Screen apps that are out there.  I tried a few more apps out yesterday and finally came to my wits end on the way the majority of apps are integrating into social networks.  They manage Twitter (usually) just fine.  You give them your credential and permission to post as you, then when you Check-in or comment, it goes into their app world network and out into the Twitter-sphere without any problem.

But Twitter is more of a "fire and forget" social network.  You are posting something for others to read at a point in time.  Facebook is meant to be more resistant to the passage of time (hence their new Timeline feature).  So, how has experience been?  AWFUL.

It starts the same.  I give them my Facebook credentials and give a dizzying array of permissions for them to access my list of friends, post as me, do things even when I am not using the app, etc.  But then it falls apart.  Nearly every single app out there proudly announces my registration is complete and takes me to my "friends" page, showing that I now have ZERO friends.  Some of them infuriate you a bitter further by suggesting some other random people you have never heard of to connect to in lieu of your real friends because they are also using this app.  Let me get this straight: I give you my Facebook credentials, you ask to know who my friends are, and then you ignore that information!?!  Or said more simply: my friends have to be asked to be my friend AGAIN and to use the same app to communicate with me.  Why don't we do that with email--henceforth you can no longer receive emails from anyone unless they use the same email service.  Or with mobile phones.  Ridiculous.

Further, only one app I have reviewed so far actually takes the time (and server cycles) to go thru my Facebook profile to review what content I have already liked (thru other apps obviously) and then incorporate that information into my profile.  There's a novel idea: actually using the data you have requested permission to access.

I don't know why they want to, but it seems that in addition to trying to create a great Second Screen experience, one that is Simple, Social, Seamless, Stimulating and lends to Discovery, they also want to create a new social network universe within their app.  I would have thought the concept of SocialTV is to connect more of us together, not try to create a social walled garden of sorts where I can only communicate with my friends who have befriended me twice.

For the few apps who already get this--thank you.

For the rest of you, think about AOL, their approach to walled gardens and where they are today.

See you at CES...

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