Technology is our friend: FINALLY - a really good example of the social graph
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July 30, 2010

FINALLY - a really good example of the social graph

There was a big fuzz about the social graph when it was announced, but except for a massive presence of the universal “like button”, nothing really happened. Well, now we have an example of how Facebook will provide the glue that holds friends together anywhere in the web, not only on Amazon integrated the social graph in its US site. Privacy … is one thing. But I believe many users will (again) ignore it for the amazing possibilities it offers.
For those who remain sceptical, Amazon states from the very beginning:

As Amazon understands that everything about privacy simply is a "handshake deal", here you go with the advantages:

Personally, I trust Amazon. Practically, I trust Amazon with a lot more sensitive data than Facebook. Several credit cards, bank accounts, friends' addresses and more is stored there. So I am not concerned about what Amazon could do with my Facebook data but rather sceptical what Facebook could do with my Amazon data. My permission goes one way only though. Fine with me.

Because what I get is simply great. And it is only the beginning. Check this:

Not only do I get a friend birthday list, I also get gift suggestions according to their Facebook behaviour - and my other friends who are connected to them. I also get help with a general problem of mine: I love music and I love movies, but over the years I lost my motivation to spend my time trying to find cool new stuff. I take it as a good sign that I already posess most of the stuff shown to me now...

... but over some time I expect to be able to use my friends' Facebook behaviour as a great source for new movies and music.

My friends are a source for recommendations to find good products. There is nothing evil in that; in fact, I desperately need a "digital sherpa" to guide me through those millions and millions of media offers Amazon provides. Until now, this happened based on my purchases and product searches. And it did not work very well. Why? I do not only buy stuff for myself, I do not only search what I am personally interested in and I do not only buy stuff on Amazon. So very often, by buying music (especially as mp3) somewhere else, researching something on Amazon for a job I have and by buying a present for my niece on Amazon, my recommendations get very confusing. Now, my Facebook activities are taken into account. Pages I like: Artists, music, movies, articles, websites, songs. I like the like button for making that possible: 
My very-very-first screen of recommendations based on my own behaviour (and not on my friends') on Facebook is at least as valuable as my Amazon recommendations after 10 or more years that I am using this site.

For now, one thing I am really missing is a "like" button on products - I can only share products on Amazon as a link, but I cannot simply click "like" - and also see how many others liked that album, that movie, that book. And how many of my friends are among them.

Amazon still only offers this tiny little "share, email, facebook, tweet" line on their activity pile with regards to a product. If I could like the product, it would appear in my friends' news feeds and of course would directly enhance my friends' experience when they connect their Facebook profile with Amazon.

This is a good start. We are not there yet, but it clearly is an indication of where the social graph might take us outside My social connections on and their web behaviour are a lot more relevant to me than simply "the great mass of other users". It is way more likely that their recommendations, but also their reviews of products will be of more value to me than reviews of others. I would like product reviews from friends to be listed as prominently as those that were considered the most helpful ones. I would like to make my Amazon purchases public to my friends (as a default, with the opportunity to hide certain products) so they get an idea of my music and movies (before buying something for my birthday that I already have) and of course, by that, deliver data that would contribute to better recommendations for my friends. There's more to come and I can't wait to read about first results in a comparison of turnover and loyalty of "normal Amazon customers" versus "Facebook connected Amazon customers". My expectations are high on this one.