Our site is running Google Analytics and is integrated with CrazyEgg, our mentor’s analytics product. We know where users are coming from, where they are clicking, and generally what they are doing. We also know who is inviting who to the site.

Unfortunately, our viral loop is not working. We posted links and invited our friends to the discussion. Each time, only a couple people would join the discussion to post a comment. The conversations seemed one way. People would post a comment and leave. Furthermore, only a few people decided to invite friends into a conversation. Basically, friends joined the conversation but friends of friends didn’t. We have a few theories for why this didn’t happen:

  • Empty-room effect: Users didn’t feel compelled to come back because the conversations didn’t seem active.
  • Facebook notifications are not noticeable: Facebook notifications show up as a small red badge at the top of your Facebook page. Most users didn’t notice this and many didn’t even know notifications existed in Facebook.
  • Invite friends doesn’t target enough users: The invite friends feature allowed users to single out friends that they wanted to share an article to.

To solve the hard-to-notice Facebook notifications issue, I added a post to wall feature that lets users post their voci.us comment to their wall. To combat the empty room effect, we will try to create conversations that appear active.

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