Integrating your own product and services with others is one of the most interesting and value-adding effects, which we may want to credit the free and open internet culture for. More or less all major products out there have APIs which allows for interesting cross-pollination.
One of the most simple and most frequently used integrations is enabling options to share content created in one product into other products. This is especially true to “social media content” such as posting this article from Tumblr into Twitter, or pushing images from Instagram into Facebook. There are great benefits from this and the previous examples plus many others makes sense.
However, some of the content is very specific to it’s channel and sometimes one should stop and think about the context of how the information is presented if you push it into other channels.
FourSquare is an excellent example of a great product where I have a small selection of FourSquare friends, who all actively and explicitly have asked to be notified about my checkins. They have acknowledge to see my regular checkins in my regular everyday life, such as my office, home, grocery store, or maybe even health club. But should I really bother my Facebook friends or Twitter followers with this? Or even when becoming mayor of the local coffee store or receiving a badge for eating a lot of sushi? In the non-FourSquare context this information is irrelevant and uninteresting. Everybody knows I should be at work on Tuesday, so why post it the checkin outside of FourSquare? And gamification badges and mayorships makes no sense to non-FourSquare users. These virtual achievements have no bragging rights in other channels, and rather becomes spam content in a Facebook-type environment.
TripIt is another beautiful service, where a small group of people within this specific channel have asked to see my current and upcoming travel plans. Details on flight number and exact itinerary is very granular and uninteresting for most. But pushing that content outside of TripIt into is confusing, and could easily appears like bragging. I automatically and carefully publish my TripIt trips into LinkedIn, as I travel extensively in my job and that gives me a great exposure to meet people in regions I only visit occasionally.
There are a ton of other examples, and Facebook and Twitter are very much the central feeds of amazing content created across various products and services. That’s part of the charm and so it should remain. But one should use caution and never forget about context. Respect the networks you have created within each channel, and ask yourself why you need you share outside of that.
(and of course this post was published on Twitter… ;))