Invitation is in the action
FaceBook presents interesting fodder around a variety of topics including personal privacy, affiliation and community building. In some cases, those topics create interesting tension with each other. For example, in creating your profile you might add all of your intimate details (i.e. phone numbers, aliases, photographs). You then may join any variety of networks or groups where traditionally you managed your profile in how you socially engaged them. For example, in a work affiliated environment you might disclose something different from a support group or political action network. Furthermore, you might have tended to keep those affiliations to yourself. That photograph of your wild college experience probably is not something you were looking to share with your employer or your priest. Now, there are levels of access controls on elements of your profile, but participating means letting it all (most of it) hang out. To get the benefits you need to surrender your guard and jump in the ball pit.
Instead of leading the interaction with signing up, enable participation to lead to the sign-up. This is powerful for three reasons:
- First, interactions initiated from people we know, we trust, at least to some extent.
- Second, the interaction is often context rich (e.g. I thought of you when I came across this book.) hiding the sub-context (e.g. signing up) in a genuine message and implicit endorsement.
- Third, joining in enables action and reciprocation, something people tend to do if only in polite acknowledgment.
Tie the goals of a primary task to the motivations of a secondary task, engaging the collective in what is of self-interest, while satisfying the true activity.