Discover books update, day 2

I love how the community is using the new emoji topics that I wrote about yesterday. We started with books because many people were already sharing what they were reading or wanted to read in 2018. This is working out so well that I definitely want to improve and expand upon it.

Some people have asked for more topics, and several already work: music, basketball, football, and tv. I’m thinking that some of these will pop up in the Discover section when they are actively being used, or when there’s a special event. For example, during the Super Bowl you’d see 🏈 to click on.

On there were some good discussions around this feature. Chris Aldrich said he was already using different book-related emoji, and Ben Norris wondered about supporting those too:

I love this! I thought I was ironic that you started it almost right after I went through and posted the books I read this last couple years on my microblog. I used 📖 instead of 📚 though.

I decided to add the open book and bookmark to the books topic, so they all map to the same place, but stopped short of adding all the other single-book emoji because I thought they might be confused with notebooks. After a few more days it may be more obvious how we should treat this.

Belle Cooper also had a good question about whether this is really much better than hashtags:

This is a cool idea, but I'm not sure I get how it can't be gamed compared to hashtags. Or is that not the point of using emojis instead?

My answer is that they can be gamed, but the limited number of emoji means we can have a better sense of what people are writing about. It’s just simpler. Also, the backend implementation is not a search; it’s a live collection of posts that is updated whenever sees something new, and there’s a mechanism to easily exclude any inappropriate posts that show up without needing to block users or delete posts.

The community has grown a lot in the last couple of weeks. Every new feature has the potential to change how people interact with the platform, and I think this experiment with books has been almost completely for the better. I don’t think every post needs emoji — most microblogs will continue to be mostly text and some photos — but sprinkling in an emoji every once in a while will start to add value to the Discover section, and it also keeps fun.

Manton Reece @manton