Frictionless Sharing

Jeff Sonderman, for Poynter, on the latest Facebook privacy brouhaha:

New Facebook-based apps like Washington Post Social Reader, and similar ones from The Guardian and The Daily encourage Facebook users to read their stories and pump all that reading activity out to their friends. […]

This so-called “frictionless sharing” has big problems.

One problem is that the “friction” — the act of choosing what to share, with whom, and how — is what makes sharing meaningful. […]

The fact that my friend read an article is not useful without knowing more. Did he like it? Did he think I would like it? Did it make him laugh, cry, gasp or sigh? Did he read it because his boss or his teacher told him to, or because he was genuinely interested?

Sonderman’s right: on the level of the individual, frictionless sharing is totally creepy. I don’t want all of my Facebook friends reading over my shoulder, and I don’t know anyone who would.

But what about an anonymized aggregate of that information? Imagine a section on the site where your friends’ consumed media are collected and weighted, stripped of the stifling personal information. Now that’d be interesting — and much more useful, too.

Frictionless sharing, so implemented, won’t replace active sharing. They’ll simply exist on two different planes.

Sep. 30, 2011 facebook privacy socialmedia