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Frictionless Sharing, a “Big-Brother” Euphemism?

September 30, 2011

New market entrepreneurs might want to pay careful attention to an undercurrent that seems to be brewing over Facebook’s new Ticker and how information gets there.   This blogpost, “With ‘frictionless sharing,’ Facebook and news orgs push boundaries of online privacy” is like many that have popped up over the past few days:

Encouraging sharing is great. Making sharing easier is even better. But this is much more than that. What Facebook has done is change the definition of “sharing.” It’s the difference between telling a friend about something that happened to you today and opening your entire diary.  Read more.

While the piece cautions news publishers to think long and hard about enabling this new Facebook widget, this advise applies equally to any content driven enterprise, goods or services.  Consider this:

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

In other words, “It’s the thought that counts.”

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?

A couple months ago I wrote about research that revealed the five reasons people share news online: to help others, to define ourselves by what we choose to share, to show someone we’re thinking of them, to get credit for being helpful, and to spread the word about a cause.

The fact that people choose to keep most things private places significance on what they choose to share. If everything is shared automatically, nothing has significance.

Read more.

I get the feeling that this is only the beginning of what will become a drumbeat of resistance on both sides of the ledger (content owners and content consumers) over frictionless sharing.

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