Saturday, October 1, 2011

If Everything is Shared Automatically, Nothing has Significance

SHAREImage by SHAREconference via Flickr
I often struggle with how much to share on this blog, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on other social media platforms that I participate on. There are so many factors that come into play, such as the audience on each platform (some are more business focused; others more personal), the "who cares" factor, TMI (too much information), and other influences. In the end, "over-sharing" has become one of the problems with social media. It's no longer social or helpful if it's overwhelming.

I've felt this way for a while now, but couldn't really articulate it well until I read a great piece by Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute. In his post regarding "frictionless sharing", he brings it all home with this:

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.
“Sharing without intention is not social, it’s overwhelming, it’s noise,” social media consultant Jeff Gibbard observes on his blog. “Not everything I read, I endorse. Not everything I watch, I like. Not everything I listen to, I want to share. Without intention it’s simply surveillance.”
Their target here are services that automatically broadcast what you read or the music you listen to. I believe my settings in the music service Spotify are set to broadcast every song I listen to into my Facebook stream. So far, none of my friends have complained about that - but I suspect it's overkill.

Sonderman brings up a great point that news publications have to be careful how they deploy these broadcast tools. They could end up alienating their readers if their readers' friends feel overwhelmed.

Let me know in the comments what you think and how you balance sharing versus over-sharing.
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Charlie said...

Active sharing is a signal. Passive sharing is a signal as well; how we interpret these things is the problem. Are all signals the same?

Well, no, of course not. We seek discriminating voices, those that serve as filters, and we attempt to serve as filters for others, in an attempt to advance the good, and to repress noise.

Jim Hirshfield said...

@Charlie So true. The filters make all the difference in the world.