Content Seeding: Few Great Lessons from Twitter and FriendFeed

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Got the product out? What do you show to first time visitors? How do you ensure that they don’t go back empty handed?

Content seeding is one of the most difficult task when you are building a product whose success relies purely on the network effect.

Here are a few lessons from two great (and competitive products) : Twitter and Friendfeed.

Typical TG of Twitter/Friendfeed are geeks (or wannaabes) and few common characteristics are:

  • Typical Twitter/Friendfeed user  knows the rock stars (Mke Arrington, Scoble, Jeremy etc).
  • Everybody in his network also knows these rock stars.

What about twitter and Friendfeed? The moment you signup/confirm id, both these products show you few familiar faces you would probably know.

Content Seeding - Friendfeed vs. Twitter

Why show these rock stars to new users?

  • Because new users are generally lost – they don’t from where to start.
  • Rock stars actually act as a point of source – starting point of navigation.
  • Rock stars, in a way validate the credibility of the service (Scoble is regular here..so it must be good)

Think of it this way – Twitter/FF needs to ego massage these rock stars (if they turn into evangelists, one can save whole lot of marketing money)– who in turn, help them promote the product . If they put these guys in front of every new visitor, chances are that rock stars will get whole lot of ego love (look at follower/following ratio of TC/Scoble).

It’s like entering a party where you first get to see celebrities and then you move around and find your friends. Even though you won’t interact with celebrities, having them at the door ensure that you come inside, spend time and find your own reason to dance.

Such a seeding content strategy solves the purpose of each and every entity in the system:

  • New user feels familiar and is confident of the system – he knows ‘few’ guys are there, so his friends must be.
  • Rock stars – they get ego boost. For them, it’s another way to reach out to the community. In return, they help spread the word.
  • Service (i.e. Twitter/Friendfeed) gets to grow it’s network.

What’s your opinion?

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