Monday, August 10, 2009

Google reader “like” and the shared discovery process

I use my Google Reader shared items as my general repository for all things I find interesting, including using the “note in reader” feature to attach comments to web pages I visit (see also – memory management). This works particularly well in my iPhone Byline reader client.

I also use the “star” feature to tag items for later reading or processing. Some of those I get to, some I don’t.

I haven’t known what to make of “Like” however (emphases mine) ….

Official Google Reader Blog: Following, liking and people searching

… Have you ever wanted to tell an author or publisher that you appreciate an article they wrote? Or maybe you want to let your friend know that you enjoyed the blog post he shared with you. With a quick click of the mouse (or a swipe of the "L" key -- for the keyboard shortcut pros), you can "like" any item in Reader. All "likes" are public, so anyone reading an item you've "liked" in Reader can see that you're a fan. Checking out shared items for people who have "liked" the same items as you is a great way to discover other people with interests similar to your own….

Aha. Now I get it.

“Like” is necessarily public, whereas sharing has privacy restrictions (though I share with all). Part of being public is that “Like” is associated with user-tags; if you click on the “# Like” link you get a list of names (I did get a 404 not found when I clicked on that link for an item that had been shared, but it resolved anyway). The names link to show items the person “liked”; you can then choose, I suppose, to follow their “shared” item list.

It doesn’t work in Byline though – they haven’t added support for that marker. Still, I’ll check it out as a discovery mechanism when using the reader web app. The intersection between Shared and Like is a bit weird, but that’s kind of the rule with today’s social software. There are lots of conventions and intersections we haven’t figured out yet. As a general rule, I assume everything I do is completely public.

I like who Reader works, and I’m hoping for more interesting developments in the world of shared-mind discovery. Twitter on the other hand … (more about that in a post I’m plugging away at)

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