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Monday
Sep262011

No Thanks, I Prefer Sharing WITH Friction

By Dennis D. McDonald

In Whoops, I didn’t mean for you to read this Brian Solis explains Facebook’s new “frictionless sharing” model. This gives people the ability, when they install a new Facebook app that makes such sharing possible, to decide whether or not they want their app-related behaviors to be automatically added to their Facebook timeline. This then enables Facebook followers to receive automatic notifications of these behaviors and provides advertisers with invaluable data on personal behavior and preferences.

The “poster child” for this new Facebook feature, which appears to be something like Facebook’s old “Beacons” experiment, is Spotify, a music sharing service that enables members to share their listening activities but which now requires Facebook membership to access.

Let’s forget for a moment discussions about privacy, persistent Facebook cookies, and the increasingly “walled” nature of the Internet. One issue that is important to me personally is that I prefer when people communicate with me that they do so having made an actual decision to tell me something.

Generally I don’t like automated announcements. It’s like my use of RSS. I remember years ago dutifully subscribing to selected blogs via  a feed reader that aggregated titles from a multitude of sources published by people I shared some interests with. Over time, though, I found the feed-based reading experience overwhelming and tedious given that my interests and the interests of the people I tend to follow are so diverse. So I stopped following RSS feeds and started relying more on search and social media for current awareness.

It seems to me that this automation of social media via “frictionless sharing” could be a step in the wrong direction. Obviously I understand the value to advertisers of knowing what people are sharing with me and what I actually click on or read. But being of value to advertisers is not, ultimately, why I find online collaboration and engagement so appealing.

Again, this decision has less to do with privacy than with my own personal preferences about how I communicate with people. If I’m interested in hearing from you, I’d much prefer hearing from you, not an automated reporting system that doesn’t really understand the nuances of our shared interests.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald

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