The people behind this idea include +Adam Fridman and +Jeff Sogolov. When I read about their new website, which is called Babbly, I was very excited by the neat and easy user interface I found. So I called up Adam on the telephone and we had a chat and he was very willing to give me several insights into their thinking. Jeff subsequently got stuck in to some criticism on the LinkedIn post and addressed the points directly. They also both asked for and took on board our opinions. This open and collaborative approach between platform provider and users is very refreshing and bodes well. Indeed, it speaks to their own motivations. Like many of us they find the restrictive post visibility practices of social media providers somewhat distasteful and Babbly seeks to overcome these once and for all.
My concern at the moment however, is that Babbly is all about quantity sharing. My belief is it would be much more valuable to everyone if it was about quality. Indeed, by slightly tweaking the formula, I see that this could be a demographic blog quality filter. The data which the Babbly Team collect would then have intrinsic value, while the users of Babbly could use it for something more than just sharing. It could allow them to learn how to be better bloggers, test quickly what works and what doesn't.
Here's my idea then. Instead of just getting the choice to share a post, users get a choice to vote on it.
Currently when a post on Babbly is shared, it is removed from the sharer's feeds. The sharer then gets the points for sharing, while the post itself gets docked points. Once the post has been shared until it has no points left, it is then no longer visible in any feeds. The post's owner can always choose to top up the post with more share points, so others who have not yet shared it can see it their feeds. This is all fine but it inherently encourages everyone to share everything so they can amass and spend as many share points as possible. I believe this will ultimately be self-defeating as Babbly will become a by-word for mass spamming.
So my view is that Babbly should encourage not sharing, but activity. "Activity" includes the choice of sharing or to say "No Thanks". A "No Thanks" would simply remove a post without sharing.
The important concept here is that any activity is rewarded in a similar way shares are now. The person clicking either "share" or "No Thanks" on a post gets activity points. There is no large bias towards auto-sharing. Users can assign these activity points to their own posts. Posts are deducted activity points whenever someone votes, until they have zero points left. Essentially activity is just the direct extension of shares as Babbly is currently set up now but includes actively choosing not sharing as a rewardable click too.
But here's the interesting part. As well as activity points, each post can now be assigned a cumulative vote (a bit like on Quora). A share counts for 1 to 3 votes (one each for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn shares). A "No Thanks" is a vote down: the post is deducted one vote. Total votes can go negative of course.
Now when posts are visible in an users feed they would be presented in order of their cumulative overall total votes, the highest at the top, the lowest (negatives!) at the bottom. Thus the more shared a post, the more it rises, the more "No Thanks", down it goes. Like I said, Babbly would then become a quality filter. Authors would submit their posts for voting, thus this gives an invaluable mechanism for learning what works and what does not work. It allows bloggers to improve and up their game through feedback.
Join me on Babbly and come and see what it's all about www.babbly.com/garysharpe.