Peg Davis posted this week about Widgets and social sites full of virtual swag for the social network masses on Marketing Experiments. Asking what the value of the widgets is, when popular ones are water and food fights?
This is an avenue I have been taking some time to brainstorm. I have yet to come up with something that fits the brand I work with though.
Most of the widgets I have found on facebook do nothing for social or community. And seem little way to get value from. (though I still love adding ones I like.)
Most offer the opportunity to share an image or add a flower or fish to someones page, or versions of poking (little-gamers poke with more humor) like ninja/jedi/pirate. The quizes seem to have some value and you gain information and it is interesting to learn things about friends.
They only seem to increase time on site for FaceBook, and get abandoned quickly. I have dropped the fish and flowers and other sections from my facebook account, as they require other people to actually be interested in giving me a new fish every few days.
I think there needs to be more that leverage the community and shared space. Most just enorage more messaging to talk about them. The best I have come up with is a game of "pass the parcel" (TM me when i get time) You pass the parcel to one of your friends, they have to open the next layer and there coudl be nothing, something funny, a message, an ad, a voucher and a prize or celebrity to the winner. But the key thing is it exists only on the person who has it, so people want to track it and ask that person to pass it on. Much more social, well to me its a start.
Also note here long tail and Tim O'Reily both taking about the small number of widgets with the traffic