Love It or Hate It? Could Social Media Oversharing End in 2013?

A Washington University professor says yes. What do you think?

I'll be honest: I like Facebook. And Twitter. I love the chance to keep up with friends and neighbors and coworkers, to hear about the updates to their personal lives, to be exposed to funny quips, videos, articles and quotations, as well as the serious headlines.

And I don't mind saying that I still get a charge out of it when I post my own goofy pictures and thoughts and other people think enough of them to add their responses.

Further, I don't have much patience for people who take a self-righteous point of view about it. I'm capable of enjoying my community in the "real" world as well as the "virtual" one.

But could that change in 2013?

Neil Richards, a privacy law expert and professor of law at Washington University, says yes. In an essay for Wired Magazine's UK edition, Richards calls the current trend as "frictionless sharing" — sharing that happens so automatically online, we hardly know it's happening.

And that's what he's specifically talking about: Tools that allow for a more seamless sharing experience.

"Frictionless sharing is on the rise as social media encourage users to share information automatically for a fuller online experience," he wrote. "Facebook 'social reader' apps from the likes of the Guardian, the Washington Post, Spotify and SocialCam have allowed us to follow, automatically, what our friends are doing online."

He goes on later to write: "We are starting to realise that frictionless sharing is not just a bad idea – it’s a terrible one, whose demise will accelerate in 2013."

He may have a point about some of these "automatic" tools. But I question whether the trend to share on social media is going to do anything but continue to grow.

Do you agree? Are you a strong proponent of using social media tools to share and experience what's going on in your community? Do you see a time when people share less online?

Mike K December 02, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Can't happen soon enough. Facebook is interested in*selling* all of that information and relationships and your value of them to any buyer. And not everyone that has access to your information combined with the information of your friends has either good or legal uses for that information. And once someone has a copy of information, it is out of your control. You can never un-share something and the Internet has no ability to 'forget'. And it saddens me that more companies are providing only one means to interact with them - only by sharing your information - 'liking' them. I like my cousin. I like the service my utility company provides. That does not mean that those two relationships are equal or that what I want to share with one has anything to do with the other. And that is the problem with Social media. Deciding what information I want to allow to be shared with whom is a personal and very contextual decision and the people we share with forget - there is a 'cost' to remembering. You can't automate that and it costs nothing to 'remember' information.
Mike K December 02, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Which is why we have stories of teachers being fired after several years of service when someone comes across an old picture from college of the teacher drinking alcohol at a party long before the was a teacher and she lost her job because there is no context or forgetting on the Internet or on Social Media. And people are not perfect. Social Media is very far from people in its perfection as well and the harms it causes are far worse than any short term good.
Mike K December 02, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Look at sharing your location. Sure you want your friends to know where you are, but only the ones you are meeting, and only for around the time you are meeting them. Not your entire history of where you've been or will go after the meeting. Nor is it likely they will remember a few days later the location information you gave them. But Social Media (i.e. Facebook) doesn't forget, and their customers - companies and governments that pay them - don't care about your interests or your contexts - only their own. To Facebook and Social Media companies - we are producing their product - raw unrestricted information about us. So if Taco Bell wants our location information and we've 'liked' them from some giveaway sweepstakes from some related company (KFC) two years ago, they can get it and send us unwanted advertising. The point is Facebook's customers don't care about our context and we have no control over that context - of our information.
Mike K December 02, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Or you get tagged in a photo at a ballgame or on a vacation by a 'friend' and thieves now know you are not at home. Or you are with a colleague, but others see an inappropriate relationship. Everyone becomes the paparazzi and Social Media becomes the world's most popular real-time tabloid. The fictional story of 'Truman Show' has become a documentary. And the world is not a better place for it.
flyoverland December 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM
As the last human on earth who is not on Facebook, I really don't care.
Mike K December 02, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Hopefully Mr. Richards is in a position to guide lawmakers to curb the excesses and put privacy limits on what social media can do with our information that are there by default to our benefit and control. Such as 'forgetting' information.
Mike K December 02, 2012 at 04:14 PM
It's not just Facebook, flyoverland. The collection of your posts here tell a story, and do not have any context about why you wrote them. So we are free to put your comments in any context we choose for whatever motive we have. And you have no control over that. It isn't just Facebook. It is Twitter, the Patch, Meetup, any online forum. I am on FB, but only because some company I do business with decided that was going to be the only way for me to interact with them online. They decided all of their customers had to go through FB to interact with them paperless/online. I am doing my best to replace them, but what happens after the tipping point?
jugchoke December 02, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Never had, and never will have any interaction with FB, or any similar crap outfit!
Sue December 02, 2012 at 08:12 PM
we lost the ability to communicate face to face. I do not use face book and would rather talk with my friends and family on the phone or in person. Our children do not know what this medium can do to them and their lives.
Sue December 02, 2012 at 08:15 PM
We lost the ability to communicate face to face. I do not use facebook and wish that it did not exist. I would rather talk with my friends and family on the phone or in person. Our children do not know what this medium can do to them and their lives. Lets get back to privacy and not broadcast our lives for anyone to see. .
K December 03, 2012 at 12:28 PM
flyoverland, I thought I was the last person not on FB. I agree, this cannot happen soon enough. FB reached it's pinnacle right before it went public on the stock market and then people found out how much the are not willing to pay for it. I tried it years ago and immediately thought it was way too nosey for my liking, and it's getting worse. I think I made 2 posts. An interesting idea has turned into an awful company with a product that is just as bad. They want to tell everyone how they respect their privacy, but why then do you have to opt out to get all the privacy settings instead of opting in to allow them? People, FB has no respect for your privacy, or for you. Mark Zuckerburg respects money, he is far from the noble "I just want to connect the world" image that he wants everyone to think. And here's one last little interesting statistic, FB was cited in as a reason in more than 33% of divorces in 2011.
flyoverland December 03, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Ken, while I am not on FB, I did buy their stock in the IPO and flipped it fifteen minutes after the open and actually made money on it. I may be the only person in the world to do that, too!
!mikekirner December 03, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Facebook may be too intrusive to some folks, no question. But as an online "brand builder" and marketing tool it cannot be denied that it works for Nike, Mercedes,Karl Westfeld & others.
John Ellis December 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
The interesting thing about most of the above commenters is that they say they don't use Facebook or other social media. That's the key, you don't have to use it, but if you do and you like it... why not. Just don't be stupid. Don't post what you're not willing to say or show publicly. It's not a totally private forum, but you can control almost all of what others see.
Mike K December 04, 2012 at 08:21 AM
The problem is companies using your friends to 'rat you out'. It isn't what you post, it hoping everyone you know feels the same way, and that isn't true. I have no friends on FB, I go in and check my privacy settings are all turned off to me only and have provided no demographics. I do my best to put the F in FB. It is just over-hyped drivel and gosdip-mongers.
John Ellis December 04, 2012 at 07:53 PM
You say the problem is that companies are using your friends on FB to “rat you out.” My question is how to they find out your friends? They can only see your FB account from a public view point, unless you friend them and I don’t believe anyone can legally require you to friend them. You raise the concern that your friends will "rat you out." I'd follow the axiom of 'not posting what you're not willing to say or show publicly.' Free speech does still exist, but not slander, confusing your rights can be a problem with or without FB. If some company contacted me about one of my friends from FB, I refer them back to that friend. Yes, FB is filled with over-hyped drivel and gossip but isn't that the nature of most personal interactions. For most people, that's the whole point of FB. Obviously you don’t belong on FB and should terminate your account. It simply isn’t something designed with you in mind, but why preach against it, is a mystery. It’s a lot like the occasional acquaintance or friend who proudly informs everyone that they don’t watch TV. I always think to myself, okay good to know someone is making this noble sacrifice. Then I wonder why they have a TV, sometimes more than one which they don’t watch.
Mike K December 05, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Your friends 'rat you out' without even knowing it - the 'more free chances' in some giveaway if they give FB your email or they upload their entire contacts from their phone or email. FB doesn't just collect info from people friending you. They also buy customer data from companies 'partnering' with FB in marketing schemes. I agree about not eating anything you don't want public. What I object to is FB finding unrelated public information and deciding that it belongs in the context they decide to put it in. - hey, do you know so-and-so? Friend them! And FB won't 'forget' you - you are always a 'maybe you'll come back or try us out' customer to them. That's the problem. No ability to forget or interest in your desire for.them to forget anything. And their web bugs are all over the internet. Check out ghostery plugin for firefox or adblock or confluence to see how pervasive the tracking is.
John Ellis December 06, 2012 at 06:54 AM
If your friends are using your email for entering contests, you have a friend problem not an FB problem. Even if they do upload your friend's contact list from their smart phones, all they are getting is phone #, email & address. So primarily what you're objecting to is the unwanted phone calls and spam… that and the fact that you seem to be just a bit of a curmudgeon. FB can be a good thing if you select the right options, don’t friend people you don’t know and keep in mind that anything you post anywhere on the internet has the possibility becoming public. You obviously need a good firewall, virus and malware protection, however many people surf without them. So it looks like we mostly agree, except you don't enjoy FB.


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