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Three reasons

1. To brag
2. To complain
3. To reach out

Angel Anderson, a technicolor dreamer and benevolent dictator (wonderfully described in her about.me page) explains the motivations for why we share and designing social tools for these purposes.

At the UX Speakeasy Conference she discusses six social considerations when designing.

1. Landscape

The landscape is crowded so design in such a way that users don’t have to leave their existing platform allowing them to cross post like Facebook’s integration with Twitter.

2. Relationship Framework

The way people share through dominance (ie Klout), commonality (ie OKCupid), or reciprocity (ie Quora) will depend on the framework that you design in.

3. Social Objects

What you share is based on the platform you use like Foursquare where you share your location.

4. Personal Boundaries

Design to allow people to maintain their boundaries and protect their personal information.

5. Privacy

Design to allow people more control over their privacy unlike Facebook’s privacy policy that is longer than the US Constitution.

6. Friction

The idea that frictionless sharing becomes meaningless. Sharing should be simple, but also meaningful. For instance, it’s not very meaningful when your Facebook “friends” wish you happy b-day. These are people you haven’t seen since you last felt like a zit was the end of the world.

Design for the User Experience

Angel stresses that sharing=caring. If we want to move forward as professionals, and as a society even, we must share more in order to improve and become better in this age of UX enlightenment she calls it. There are a plethora of social sharing platforms out there and we need to remember to design for the user and not for the platform. Design to improve the user experience. We need to remember to make the platform work for the user and not the other way around.

Check out Angel’s slides here.