From Social Patterns
Users seem to enjoy opportunities to make friendly gestures to one another, especially when they can appear tangible, persistent decoration in personal or shared spaces
Use this pattern is friendship and romance-oriented social environments where visual displays of affection are welcome.
Provide an inherent gift-giving feature or enable third-party application developers to do so through APIs for messaging between contacts and the ability to display objects on a profile.
If building an intrinsic gift-giving interface, add a Give Gift command to the list of actions a member can perform when viewing the profile or user card of another member, and/or provide a unique starting point for gift giving on the profile.
Display the gift choices.
Optionally, give the sender a range of choices about how public the display of the gift and optional accompanying message should be. Who should see them? (friends, everybody?) and where? (on the profile, in the activity stream, elsewhere?) and who can read the note?
Optionally, charge your users to send a gift. (Weigh the revenue benefit against the degree of ease of frictionlessness you are counting on to establish this behavior.)
Notify the sender when the giving has been successfully accomplished.
Give the recipient the option of accepting (and thus displaying on their profile) or rejecting the gift. Should a gift be rejected, do not explicitly notify the sender. If the gift is accepted, display it on the user's profile and/or in their activity stream, according to the rules of your gift system and the choices the sender and receiver made.
Optionally enable gift-giving between strangers, but consider the risk of spam and stalking.
Virtual gifts provide at minimum the equivalent of a Phatic Poke, a small positive gesture between two people. If displayed on a Profile they may also represent a reminder of the friendship. Micropayments for virtual gifts could represent one of several revenue streams for a social application with a sufficiently engaged community. Services for delivering real gifts would extend the goodwill of a positive interaction beyond the confines of the virtual space and would have straightforward monetization opportunities.
As Seen On
Sources / Similar Patterns in Other Libraries
- Give gifts on Facebook! (Facebook official blog announcement)
- A Gift on Facebook
- Real Chocolate Gifts Sent Through Facebook. Sweet!
- Virtual Goods: Why & How They Work (slide presentation by Amy Jo Kim)