Save for later service Pocket debuted a new feature today, which allows users to quickly send content saved to their Pocket accounts to contacts from within the app. The feature uses that most old-school of social sharing means, email, but updates it with more modern social features, adds in-app and push notifications, and saves frequently used connections for easy future access.
The Send to Friend feature focuses on sharing as communication between two people, rather than the kind of broadcast model of one-to-many generally preferred by the most popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Pocket founder and CEO Nate Weiner explained that the company was finding email was the most popular method of sharing on the platform, so it made sense to flesh out that feature.
“If you think about consuming, the act of doing it is private – you’re not sitting next to somebody reading, but once you’re finished with it you want to share,” he said. “With Pocket, we feel like we’ve done a really good job of that private consumption experience, and with this release, we’re thinking about how do we solve that social side of things. What we’re seeing is, when you look at Pocket and how people share today, the number one way people share is via email.”
Shares via email exceed the total number of times content is shared via Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels combined, Weiner explained. That’s because with the type of content people value enough to save for later consumption, there seems to be a feeling that it’s best shared with specific people you think would be interested in that subject. Pocket’s goal was to make it much easier to share to that small group you tend to share with more frequently.
Pocket’s new share menu bubbles up a person’s most frequently used share sources, and that can now include friends and family they email most. And when you do share, you can include more than just a link – if those you share with are on Pocket, they’ll receive an optional push notification about the content, as well as any comments or highlighted sections you choose to include in a new Pocket app inbox, so there’s more context around why they thought you’d be interested.
I asked Weiner if he thought that Pocket’s one-to-one sharing might have anything in common with/to gain from the rise in popularity of messaging apps like WhatsApp, which recently revealed that it’s bigger than Twitter by active user base.
“This one-to-one thing, which nobody sees because it’s all happening privately, is so much bigger than the activity that’s happening on the public network, and I think it largely gets ignored,” he said. “But it ends up being a much higher volume, a much better signal and a much more high quality share, so I think the one-to-one stuff is really important, and I think people are going to start noticing that very soon.”
Pocket is now seeing around 35 million saves per month, which is way above its 2012 pace, when it totaled 240 million saves for the entire year for an average of around 20 million per month. This new sharing feature should result in even bigger numbers as it helps users surface more interesting content to one another.