While I have only been on Facebook this time around a couple of weeks, I now find I have participated voluntarily 17 add-on applications. At first I was reluctant to add any application, because all of the applications warn you they are going to access your information. This felt invasive. However, eventually one of my friends sent me an app that broke the ice, Save the Shelter Pups. Heart strings were pulled, interest overcame reluctance, the dam was broken, I was in (sigh!). Some of these more successfully encourage ongoing participation than others, as the one I am reviewing here does. Growing Gifts is an extension of the existing analogue tradition of sending flowers in friendship to make them feel better or celebrate something.
Evaluation: Facebook Growing Gift App (Object Tool)
Initial exposure/Gift: Most of my application exposure has come through friends sending an object or invitation to join, a form of viral sharing application. In this case, I am in receipt of a plant from a Boomer cousin. I noted that once I was in the application, more application icons appear at top to additionally choose (hatching eggs, water globe gifts, teddy bears).
Interest Stimulation: This application mirrors a socially accepted method of showing friendship.
- Existing participants are “lonely friends” that haven’t received their daily plant today. So, you are encouraged to brighten their day. (safest initial choice)
- Cheering up: applications does search of those on friends list noting sad status messages.
- Upcoming birthdays are listed, (not sure how far out they reference, as I have a niece friend with a birthday 8 days out from today)
- Everyone else (least safe choice)
In each selection (mirroring the FTD floral site) there are low cost and high cost items, which cost numbers of seeds. There are also FREE items you can send.
Rewards/Chance: Each time you send a free item to a friend, roll the dice with a chance to get the daily ‘secret’ number. You earn a number of seeds, which increases your buying power in the site. If you sent to more than one friend, your dice roll is multiplied and more seed are earned.
Motivation to return
- Limits: You can only send 30 times in one day
- Buying Power: More daily sends equal more seed dollars earned
- Temptation: Some of the coolest selections cost larger numbers of ‘seed dollars’ (look at zany)
- Content Change: Fresh selections every day
- Ease of Use high
Concerns: Keeping track of who you sent what to so you don’t annoy. Limits in seed earning and daily limits aid in this.
Do these apps (and Facebook) offer layers of options for degrees of user sophistication?
Surprise: How many of my listed friends have already used these ‘frivolous’ apps.
Curious: There is a discussion group under each plant and a lot of activity in the weird ones….hmmm
Question: Are these ‘chick’ applications? Do guys use gift applications?
Reputation potential: Showing abundance of gifts visually on main page
might show your sociability ranking with friends (or how many friends
you have with nothing better to do!). Unlike some of the other apps, no badge appears on my front page. Of course, with limited store frontage, this could become a clutter issue.