Effortless sharing on Facebook is killing taste

Posted on 27 September 2011

If Mark Zuckerberg has his way, everything you do online will be shared by default. And that sucks.

Three years ago, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg noted a mind-boggling statistic about the Internet.

Every year, people share twice as much online than they did the year before.

If you Liked 200 news articles this year, you’ll Like 400 next year, and have only Liked 100 last year.

People have come to call this Zuckerberg’s Law, and it’s obvious that Facebook sees “sharing” as the cornerstone of its future endeavors.

This is so as the more people share through Facebook, the more reasons people will have to keep coming back to Facebook, and the more central Facebook becomes in their lives.

So far, this seems to be working: recently, on a single day, Zuckerberg said 500 million people logged in to Facebook.

Now, it might just be the case that whatever you read, you watch, you listen, you buy, everyone you know will hear all about it on Facebook.

What this means is that you don’t have to bother with the “friction” of choosing to tell your friends that you like something.

Zuckerberg, at a developer conference last Thursday, called automatic or effortless sharing “frictionless sharing”, which is what lies behind a grander vision of the Web.

This is where Facebook apps will share with your friends whatever it is you are doing or experiencing.

For example, on a music sharing app (Spotify) on Facebook now, merely experiencing something is enough to trigger sharing.

A Ticker box appears on the right side of your page which tells your friends what you’re listening to and plays it for them if they click on it.

However, frictionless sharing is missing the point about sharing: Sharing is fundamentally about choosing.

You experience a huge number of things every day, but you choose to tell your friends about only a small number of them, because most of what you do isn’t worth mentioning.

“One thing that we’ve heard over and over again is that people have things that they want to share, but they don’t want to annoy their friends by putting boring stuff in their news feeds,” Zuckerberg said during his keynote.

This doesn’t sound like a problem that needs solving. Because if Facebook users aren’t sharing stuff because they worry it will bore their friends, then this sort of filtering works.

But Zuckerberg, nevertheless, has the solution.

“Our solution was to create a new place that’s lighter-weight where you can see lighter-weight stuff—that’s how we came up with Ticker”, he said.

If you translate “lighter-weight” to boring, you’ll understand what Zuckerberg is saying: Facebook now has a place on its site reserved especially for boring updates.

But Zuckerberg is right that the Web is better when everyone shares more.

Just that you should also consider not sharing if you have no strong feelings about it, especially if you suspect that your friends will consider it just another bit of noise in their already noisy world.

So do everyone a favor and don’t say anything about it all.

This is a 60-second reduction of the original article here.

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- who has written 2685 posts on New Nation.

Wang Pei can be considered a new citizen of Singapore. She has been here all her life, just that her environment's changed beyond recognition.

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  • Skipper149

    Only a matter of time before Facebook dies a natural death.