Frictionless Sharing, Social without Context

1 Oct
Sharing by bengrey

Phtoto credit to bengrey

Or, Open Graph is sharing without the caring

In Mark Zuckerberg’s world, everything is a social experience.  Listening to a song?  Would it be better if a friend was listening to it, too?  Reading an article?  Would it be great if your friends could read the same one?  (Also, wouldn’t it be great is Mark could make some money on that happening?)

Well, Mark’s world is quickly becoming out world.  And in Mark’s world, the default is social.  (Do you ever feel bad for his college roommate?  Did he announce things like “Mark is cutting his toenails,” or “Mark is eating pizza”?)

Like Do Not Enter for the 21st Century

Footprints In The Mud by Stuart Herbert

Phtot credit to Stuart Herbert

We’re going in a direction in which everything is social unless we specifically prevent it from becoming so.  Instead of clicking the share button, we’re going to have to click the do not share button.  (And the do no share button is coming – Spotify has recently announced the addition of “private listening mode”.)

Through the new open graph apps, our roamings across the web leaving social footprints that are posted to our Facebook profiles.  And, I don’t know about you, but I roam weird places.  Sometimes I lose myself down rabbit holes for hours, browsing strange topics, happily clicking away.  (Usually Sociological Images is responsible for these sojourns.)  And, if my digital footprints from those adventures appeared on my Facebook, people might start to think that I had issues.  (Sociological Images once sent me on a week-long bender about people with body dysmorphia.)

Sharing by Toban Black

Photo credit to Toban Black

The problem with a social default is that there’s no context.  Things appear on your timeline as “Maggie listed to this,” or “Maggie read this,” not as “Maggie read this and thoroughly disagreed with it, closing it in disgust after the end of the second paragraph,” or “Maggie read this, shorten the link on, tweeted it, and then saved it in her favorites.”  Without context, saying that I read something is fairly meaningless.

I’m a voracious reader.  I read everything.  My reading something isn’t an endorsement of it.  Actually, in my world, it means more when I choose not to read something than when I choose to read it.  So even though I’m Little Miss Social Media, I’m saying no to the open graph apps, at least for now.  (Because really, even HuffPo has open graph interaction, and how can I be held responsible for reading crazy things on there?)

Questions of the day: Do you read things that would make you appear crazy when taken out of context?  Will you take advantage of private listening (and the sure to be announced private reading) mode?

MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole.  Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at

3 Responses to “Frictionless Sharing, Social without Context”

  1. JSD October 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Yes to the first question. And I will take advantage of anything that will keep everyone out of my business, including dropping out of Facebook. Your posts are such eye openers…thank you!

    • Maggie O'Toole October 2, 2011 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks! I think there are some ways to opt out. A friend and I have been discussing the ability to opt into the apps, but then set the default sharing on them to “just me”. He’s doing that, so he can see what everyone else is reading and still get the benefits of the app without being forced to have his reading preferences displayed on his feed. I argue that it’s a little Tragedy of the Commons.

      But really, I think opting out only prevents your reading/browsing preferences from being shared with your friends. Their all being tracked by Facebook and HuffPo et al anyway.


  1. Frictionless sharing and the end of Social Media Curation « MaggieCakes - October 2, 2011

    […] my last post, I discussed how frictionless sharing without context was meaningless.  How an app posting that […]

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