Social Application Development 101

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Jia Shen, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of RockYou, and R. Tyler Ballance, lead developer of Slide’s Top Friends application, spoke at Graphing Social Patterns West about social application development.

Both Jia and Tyler flew through their presentations so I had a hard time keeping up. I have enclosed Jia’s slides below.

Jia focused on a three phase approach to application development that map to the lifecycle of the application. It starts with marketing and validation. You need to decide the target audience, the messaging you will use and the channels to reach them.

Understanding what audience you are targeting helps to define which social networks will work best based upon their demographics. Once you have defined the audience you need to determine what application verticals and what channels will be important. On Facebook, these channels include news feeds, notifications, email profile, news, email profile, invites, profile action nonuser pages, and profile pages.

On Facebook, these channels include news feeds, notifications, email profile, news, email profile, invites, profile action nonuser pages, and profile pages.

The next phase is the growth phase. Here you need to break the viral barrier and drive up the viral multiplier. You are seeking to get it up above 1 user causing at least 1 other user to install. From there, you need to tune growth. You can track every thing and look for the trends.

Next part of the process is engagement. You need to tune the application to improve engagement and drive monetization. In this phase, email, profile and non-user pages become more important channels. It’s important to balance virality versus engagement to maximize growth and retention.

OpenSocial giving ability to add functionality. Still open questions about will it help with distribution and monetization still an open issue.

The audience is different than Facebook’s audience with a different use case. MySpace has been more about self-expression. We need to find out what will be successful with OpenSocial.

Open social channels include news feed, profile main page, bulletins, messaging, invites, non user pages.

Tyler pointed out that we need to understand the platform – the functionality, the data models and relationships provided are different. This should drive differences in what gets developed.

Part of this discussion also hinted at the differences between MySpace and Facebook as it relates to activity feeds in Facebook that may cause more viral spread of applications.

SLIDES

[tags]gspwest08, Graphing Social, social application development[/tags]

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