This article was originally published on Smedio.
While it’s true that a social network is all about collaboration and sharing, it still needs to comply with the golden rule that states excess of anything is bad. Till date, Facebook has served as a modern age example of how to get sharing right in a social network – just the right amount of information, presented in an easy to user manner and simple controls to turn things on/ off.
Recently, Facebook launched ‘frictionless’ sharing – a feature that simply allows you to read a story that one of your friends is reading. However, there’s a catch – if you’re not judicious, you may unintentionally end up letting others see what you are doing. Some users complain that it’s cluttering the site and diminishing the overall user experience of Facebook. Other simply say it’s creepy and should be rolled back ASAP.
While I’m all for sharing, I strongly believe that Facebook needs to do a better job of managing such changes. And here’s why.
First things first, I have no doubts about Facebook’s noble intentions behind offering a seamless and frictionless sharing experience for users. All in all, this is likely to enhance the overall Facebook ecosystem as it allows music and content creators to develop Facebook-specific apps that allow users to share what they’re listening to or reading.
Interestingly, CEO Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg believes this type of sharing is the future of Facebook as people are no longer interested in sharing just how you feel or what you had for dinner, this feature lets them share their interests more deeply with apps that bring in your activity from across the Web.
While it sounds wonderful on paper, the whole frictionless sharing plan has several pitfalls. If you click on an apps-based link via your news feed, you can’t actually read the article until you add that publication’s app and start sharing your reading habits. So, expect to install lots of apps if you want to actively share stuff with your friends. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go well with most Facebook users – given a choice, they aren’t very keen to install apps just for the sake of knowing what their friends are up to. The worse part – you may not even know that due to this seamless sharing thing – you’re possibly communicating your activities in ways you never originally intended.
Unfortunate as it is, the frictionless sharing feature has reignited the whole debate about Facebook privacy. Though Facebook newsfeed allows users to hide all updates from a single app, there’s no way to hide all updates from the aggregated news list. Further, it’s muddy water for others to know what people are doing on sites outside Facebook, especially if they are a rather private person.
A lot of critics have come down harshly on Facebook stating that it’s wrong, it’s ruining sharing and that the new feature is annoying to say the least. In its current form, I think it leads to an overdose of information. However, I strongly believe that if Facebook can get its act together and simplify the whole frictionless sharing experience, it may well prove to be a game changer in the social media space.
What do you think of Facebook’s newly launched frictionless sharing feature? Do you think it leads to an overdose of sharing? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.