What Facebook Is About To Turn Us All Into

I’m an oversharer. While I share the things I love, chances are with 23K tweets under my belt, there have likely been about 22K too many. They don’t offer a count, but I think it is safe to say that the same is true for Facebook. But here’s the thing: everything I’ve shared, I’ve done so by my own choosing. I’ve done so because I think my tweets have value to someone. Possibly you. Today that changes; today Facebook is about to turn us all into oversharers, and many will become one without even understanding what it is that they are doing.

With the push of one button, Spotify started sharing LITERALLY every song I listen to. While this doesn’t mean much by itself, it’s a sign of things to come, a sign of where Facebook is trying to take us. It will take time, but it seems like their goal is to capture everything we read, watch, visit, listen to or do. And they want to do it all on their newly designed version of the profile that they are calling the Timeline.

Things like the Like Button and the Tweet Button changed the way we share. They made it easy to spread great content and provided a hub for the things you love. Now, as MG Siegler put it, “It’s not about needing a share button. It’s about not needing a share button.” In other words, the web is no longer trying to curate what we think is worth curating, it’s trying to capture everything.

There is a good chance that these changes (if embraced) will lead to a more honest web. It will tell a more complete story and will bring your digital presence one step closer to your actual one… but at what cost and what benefit? Part of the joy of sharing is intent. And intent is damn important. No matter what you think of my stream, or anyone’s for that matter, it’s a collection of conscious decisions.

Consumption does not equal credibility. Just because I listen to a song, doesn’t mean I think you should. Just because I read something doesn’t mean that I think it will have value to you (hell, half the time I wish I hadn’t spent the time). And because I might be sharing everything, it will likely be harder to tell when I really want you to see something. Time will probably prove me wrong, but from afar, it seems as if rather than being a place to spotlight, Facebook plans to become a place to collect.

Some may be excited about the ease, but I don’t get it. Taking the time to push a share button, “inconvenient” as it may be, means something. And let’s be honest, I already share enough on the web… How about you? Freaked out by the latest changes or freaking excited about the future of the web?

Not sure about your privacy and sharing setting? Don’t worry, my buddy Tinu has you covered in this video series that shows you “How to Control Apps Posting Behavior And Protect Your Privacy from Apps on Facebook

30 Responses to What Facebook Is About To Turn Us All Into

  1. Man, such a timely post for some of the things I’ve been thinking about lately. I just listened to someone explain recently how there aren’t any more innovations to be made in terms of how people share content. Definitely not true…

    This new kind of sharing, often devoid of intent, is certainly interesting. The sharing of music is a great example. Like you said, just because I’m listening to something doesn’t mean I recommend it. But I also wonder if this type of sharing will still have some sort of intent and actually affect the actions we take in terms of what we listen to, read, do, etc.

    For example, if people know that friends have the potential to see all the music they’re listening to, will they be less likely to listen to new/different types of music that their friends might not approve of? I would hope not, but I can certainly see that possibility occurring.

    This type of sharing is definitely going to impact our experience of the world. It will probably be a positive thing, too. But I feel like we need to be thinking more about the long term affects of this stuff instead of just linking up all our services/actions and sharing because it seems like the thing to do.

    • On the other hand, it does have the potential to expose you to new things. Before I realized just how much Spotify was sharing a few friends had jumped onto my playlist and discovered a few new bands/songs.

      I agree there are more innovations ahead, I just hope they are for the better. I’d like a world that’s better curated, not entirely captured. I certainly wanted to see how it behaved and Spotify seemed like a harmless app to try it on there, but the word that keeps rattling around my brain is creepy. It just seems creepy and excessive to share everything…

  2. Nice post, Michael.  The constant public sharing of trivia, whether it be 4square checkins, every single tweet to FB and LI, songs etc is just becoming extraneous noise that’s drowning out the signals.  I’m finding that:

    1. I’m very closing to shutting down Spotify, 4square and Facebook
    2. I’m unfollowing more people who share noise rather than links with useful content I’m interested in
    • It’s true that a lot of us are a bit careless with sharing these things, but at least we chose to share them… It’s only going to get a lot worse and a lot noisier as these things become automated. I’ve never been much of an unfollower, but find myself leaning on things like Twitter lists more and more to avoid the noise. I don’t quite get where they are going with all of this and why they think it has value, but it will certainly be interesting to see it play out.

  3. Great post Michael. My sentiments exactly.

    I’m really, really having a hard time embracing, “the web is no longer trying to curate what we think is worth curating, it’s trying to capture everything,” as you put it.

    It’s fuckin scary

  4. Freaking excited!!!  …look at it this way – we are surrounded by advertising – at least on Facebook and Gmail the ads are much more relevant!  I see that as so much better than the Spammy Crap I used to get!  I am discovering new companies and more…

    But then you know how public I am  ;-D

    • I’m fine with more relevant advertising. I don’t even care that gmail probably “reads” my emails. I just don’t like lack of intent. I want to be able to highlight, not to collect. I know how public you are, but I also enjoy you for your taste. You share what you enjoy, not what you happen across. This would change that.

  5. I agree too Michael…  

    I’m not embracing the changes Facebook is implementing with all this sharing.  I’m not happy about this timeline they have coming and some have already implemented.  I think they have taken it to the extreme.  

    I don’t necessarily want every single human on the planet to know what I’m doing which is why I started deleting a lot of my so called friends.  I share what I think is interesting but I could care less about every single thing all my friends are doing.  I think it’s silly and a big waste of time.

    I’ve only got 10,091 tweets under my belt Michael so I haven’t quite caught up with you.  I’m thinking that’s a good thing!  :-)~Adrienne

    • It’s a very, very good thing Adrienne. When you get close to my or @frankdickinson:disqus ‘s tweet count, it’s time to seek help. 

      I’m taking a cautious approach, but like you I have a feeling I will be turning as much of this off as possible in favor of how I share now.

    • I don’t know… that doesn’t bother me nearly as much. It’s not that it isn’t creepy, but it’s almost to be expected. It’d be like getting pissed at your diary because it holds all the secrets you put in it. Annoying as that article is, we chose to poke those pokes…

  6. “Consumption does not equal credibility.” WORD! It’s not just sharing anything and everything, collecting all that data – that’s scary in and of itself – but putting it even more on auto-pilot?! Ugh. There is ‘effort’ in clicking a like, hitting RT – and often a little pause to wonder ‘should I share?’ As you say, it means something when we take the time to think and share something; I’ll watch these changes and as always, think before I ‘over’ share. FWIW.

    • It’s a shame. So much of what I enjoy about the web is thinking of us all as curators and not pack rats… hopefully people turn this off more than they turn it on.

    • Yeah, I’ve been to lazy to figure out how to turn it off, but it’s just pointless. It’s going to be depressing to see this kind of blanket automation of sharing.

  7. I guess I’m on the fence. I already panic when the Huffington Post or the New York Times asks me to sync my information with Facebook. What if I happened to stop by the place because I fell for the headline and the article is terrible? Do I want people to think I endorsed that? No. If I were to share the article, I’d want to give it some context, which is a point you make in one of your comments. I don’t mind the Spotify sharing as much, and I believe users can turn on some sort of silent listening mode if they don’t want people to know what they’re listening to. I like the sharing because I’m always looking for new and interesting tunes. Having access to my friends’ music doesn’t always make finding new music easier, but it gives me a place to start. The other apps? I’ll have to evaluate them on a one-by-one basis. I don’t like to share that much information on my Facebook profile.

    • I see what you’re saying, I guess my overall point was, “is pushing a share button that inconvenient?”. Even with the whole music thing, I love that they playlists get shared within Spotify, I love that you can share any song or playlist on Facebook as well. In the same way that I wouldn’t want to share every article, I wouldn’t want to share every song. Now I just have to go get over my laziness and figure out how to turn it off already :)

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