Social Media

Collactive – An In-Depth Look

Collactive, which dubs itself as a software service company that enables groups of people to share their opinion with each other and take action collectively, was all over news yesterday, with many people simply calling it a venture-funded way to ‘game’ socially driven news and content sites. Here’s an in-depth look at the what exactly Collactive aims to achieve, whether you should use it, and how exactly to use it.
Collactive claims that it is democratizing Web 2.0 sites by giving the users tools to access and influence content. The first thing that comes to mind is of course, didn’t Digg do that already? The difference is that Collactive itself doesn’t aggregate any content (you can’t submit content to the site), rather it helps you influence content submitted to other social media sites such as Digg, Netscape, Reddit, and so on. Sounds like gaming the system? That’s what I think too.
The Collactive APB System
The main tool the site uses is an ‘All Points Bulletin’. The bulletin is used to send a link to your submission on one of the sites supported by Collactive to all your friends and to ask them to act on your message. Thinking strictly in terms of socially driven sites, the action would basically entail getting everyone you know to vote for a submission you have made to one of the previously mentioned sites, to promote your submission to the homepage. And in fact, Collactive doesn’t even shy away from the claim.

They’ll be using the tools Web 2.0 sites use to choose which stories make it to the front page of their site. Whether it be the ‘most emailed’, ‘favorite’, ‘most popular’ or ‘most read’ story or video, each site does it differently. Your Collactive APB will harness the collective action of your friends and supporters, taking a story or video that might have only been seen by a few hundred people and making it visible to thousands, even millions of people on the Internet.
Your story will no longer be a random entry buried in a public forum, but an important item featured on the front page of a popular website.

How-To
Before you begin, you will need to install the Collactive Web Assistant.
Collactive just might be the first site I have come along in quite a while that does a good job of explaining how to use their APB system. The entire process takes 3 steps to create and one more step to execute.
1. Type in the link to the story on which you want people to act on. This link has to be the link to the submission on the social media site and not a direct link to the content. And choose which site the link is on.
msaleem collactive2 Collactive   An In Depth Look
2. Decide what action you want other users to take on the content you are sharing with them. These options vary depending on which service you are sharing content from. For example, I chose Reddit, and the options were to either vote positively or negatively.
msaleem collactive3 Collactive   An In Depth Look
3. Write the headline and content summary as you want other users to see. This information can essentially be taken from the site submission.
msaleem collactive4 Collactive   An In Depth Look
4. At this point your APB is complete and you can begin spreading the word. As you can see, there are several ways of doing this:
msaleem collactive6 Collactive   An In Depth Look
Here’s a preview of how the other users will see your message when you share it with them:
msaleem collactive5 Collactive   An In Depth Look
The Collactive Web Assistant you installed earlier generates the frames and users can perform the actions by clicking the ‘Act Now’ button. The one problem with the system is that when you click ‘Act Now’, you aren’t given an option to decide how you want to act on the content. On the contrary, the action that was pre-defined by the person who shared the content with you, is automatically performed.
Having gone through the entire process myself, and having read all that the company itself has to say about what it is doing, I completely agree that the service is just another attempt at gaming the socially driven system, albeit with no explicit mention of monetary incentive or potential monetary gain.

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4 thoughts on “Collactive – An In-Depth Look

  1. Muhammad,
    A very well-written piece! I’ve read a bit about these guys in the past few days, and finally someone who goes through all the process and shows what it does.
    I have to disagree with your final conclusion though. If I send an email to my friends asking them to vote for my latest funny video, I don’t think I have to help them vote it down as well. By all means they can do that manually! :-)
    It would be nice, however, as someone receiving an APB, to at least know what the predefined action is, so that I can choose not to use it.

  2. “The Collactive Web Assistant you installed earlier generates the frames …”. Actually, the Collactive Web Assistant is not necessary for the author’s APB creation or the readers’ viewing. It is offered to readers when they click the “Act Now” button and helps simplify account creation at the various social sites (if necessary).

  3. I’m a bit curious about your conclusion as well — can you elaborate on it a bit? I don’t really see why this is any more of an attempt to game social media than, say, putting a Digg widget in your RSS feed. It still amounts to pushing your article out to friends and giving them the option to vote on it.

  4. So I’m confused, this actually seems to be more complicated than setting up a mailing list and mailing out to people. And how are they planning on making money?