Understanding and Supporting Directed Content Sharing on the Web

Unknown author (2009-10-07)

To find interesting, personally relevant web content, we often rely on friends and colleagues to pass links along as they encounter them. In this paper, we study and augment link-sharing via e-mail, the most popular means of sharing web content today. Armed with survey data indicating that active sharers of novel web content are often those that actively seek it out, we present FeedMe, a plug-in for Google Reader that makes directed sharing of content a more salient part of the user experience. Our survey research indicates that sharing is moderated by concern about relevancy to the recipient, a desire to send only novel content to the recipient, and the effort required to share. FeedMe allays these concerns by recommending friends who may be interested in seeing the content, providing information on what the recipient has seen and how many emails they have received recently, and giving recipients the opportunity to provide lightweight feedback when they appreciate shared content. FeedMe introduces a novel design space for mixed-initiative social recommenders: friends who know the user voluntarily vet the material on the userâ s behalf. We present a two week field experiment (N=60) demonstrating that FeedMeâ s recommendations and social awareness features made it easier and more enjoyable to share content that recipients appreciated and would not have found otherwise.