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Facebook vs. Quora / Feeds vs. Notifications

Just realized that on Facebook, I skip my feed & only look at notifications, whereas on Quora, I skip my notifications & only look at feed.
1:29 PM Jul 26 2012

Stashed in: Product Inspiration, Web Designs, Facebook, Design!, Social Media, Quora!, Design, Things organized neatly.

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This is insightful.

Maybe notifications are more interesting when they come from friends, whereas feed stories are better when based purely on your interests.

One of the (many) things that killed my interest in Quora was the utter craptasticness of their notifications. Once you start associating new notifications with inane comments made by stupid randos, they lose their magic completely.

On the other hand, Facebook feeds are almost entirely uninteresting.

It's all about signal and noise.

Facebook feed and Quora notifications are mostly noise.

Facebook feed is noise because Facebook wants you to spend time on there, looking for the good stuff.

Quora notifications are mostly noise because Quora is OCD about telling you EVERYTHING every rando does on anything you've ever followed.

Facebook notifications are almost pure signal once you weed out the Pincus.

That's also a good point that Facebook notifications mostly consist of friends.

Hm... so today, Facebook is a given. They have their walls, feeds and notifications. There may be tips and tricks to getting the most out of that as a publisher, but what if you step back a bit, and consider the problem differently...

If you were a new entrant coming into the market looking to leverage the existing social network infrastructure, what's the best strategy to excite, interest and delight customers?

I think it would be to simplify things.

Forgetting terms we've learned like notifications and feeds, I think it includes something that let's the user see

> What their friends are doing

> Who gave them proper respect (aka "props" or "like" for that little dopamine drip)

> What's going on beyond me (as in - the most popular.)

The priorities are pretty obviously, right:

-- relationship to me: me personally --> my friends --> any larger groups --> the big "public"

-- newness of items: timestamp newest is most important

-- type of item: inside the system, outside the system, event updates vs. something net new.

Though inventing something new runs the risk of confusing people, I think we're already at the confusion point. Maybe transparency is the answer.

The answer is likely simplification, as you pointed out.

Facebook is utterly exhausting, and there's so much noise.

Less would be better. A lot better.

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