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The Rise of the Social Gesture

An obvious pattern that is emerging on the social web is the rise of the public social gesture.

For a bit of explanation, the social gesture is really “social sharing” in the context of a brand, business or person. It began with the comment, and then moved to the status update and the shared link. Public social gestures now encompass an increasingly wide range of thingys from the check-in (Foursquare), to the purchase (Blippy), to the Like (Facebook).

While the lowest common denominator of gesture has traditionally involved a hyperlink somewhere in the mix, Facebook has made a bold move to challenge this as I outlined the other day.

Paul Buchheit of Facebook had some really interesting insights into the rise of these gestures at today’s Web 2.0 Expo. I paraphrase below a few sentences worth pondering

Paul Buchheit: “[Facebook’s] real power is in the people. [Facebook is] an amazing product because it has all the users”

Sarah Milstein: How about privacy on Facebook?

PB: I changed my privacy settings to be more public. I like the idea to share things easily — except my phone number and email. This again goes back to FriendFeed. It’s about serendipity. but it’s hard to predict what those things will be. Things tend towards being better the more we share.

SM: So after Gmail and FriendFeed – what’s coming next on the web do you think?

PB: …quick and lightweight. That’s the future of a lot of what’s upcoming in the communication mediums. Making it easier to do lightweight conversations.

… It’s not too shallow. It creates the context for conversations later on.

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