Share And Share Alike

February 5, 2012 at 17:49 (Misc)

Like many people I have problems with recent changes to Facebook to allow the “frictionless” sharing of various things. Most people seem to be rightly concerned about the changes to 3rd party applications such as Spotify which now automatically shares whatever you are listening to. Like many things that Facebook do, they have a really good idea and just get the implementation wrong. It may be foolishly of me but I quite like the idea of data being collected about my life and stored in a central place. The problem is really who has access to that data. There’s a line that I don’t think has been crossed yet, I don’t mind Facebook knowing what music, films, games, books, articles I’m consuming if this is used to serve me more relevant adverts or recommendations. The problem is sharing this information by default with other people on Facebook.

I understand “Frictionless” sharing means I don’t have to click a share button on every article I read on The Guardian or film I watch via Netflix. I like that a repository of everything I do is being created, I’d probably like it to go further so that if I had a loyalty card at the cinema, every visit was recorded, my PVR and DVD player should be making a note of everything I watch. Maybe this just extends from having kept a film diary for years and me wanting to share what I’ve seen. I want to be able to choose what I share with others. Yes be frictionless and don’t prompt me every time but then let me choose what I want to share.

For now all I am doing is setting the sharing level to private. Everything I do is now saved in Facebook but only I (and Facebook) can see it. I think it’s great to have a Video section on my profile listing everything I’ve seen and I’ve only been using Netflix for less than a week. The thought of looking back over this in the future or being able to search it really impresses me. What I want now though is the option to go in and choose which of these things I want to share with others. I want things to be added automatically but then let me choose what to share. Amazingly this functionality doesn’t exist. I have sharing set to private and there is now no way for me to change it for individual stories. I think if that simple change was made a lot of people would be much happier, I know I would.

Of course, I can then start to get paranoid about what else Facebook is doing with the data but at the moment I’m more concerned how much data I have tied up in Google.

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