Timeline). Frictionless sharing could be the end of manual curation and the beginning of an automatically curated social Web. Or it might just become a combination of both, with some users preferring to continue curating manually, while others mix it up. Still others will go all-auto all the time. Up until now, the user had more control over their version of the social Web. In the social networks battle, frictionless sharing could work. But it needs some adjustments first.This year, Facebook unleashed frictionless sharing. As with most things Facebook, it stirred up controversy among everyone from the casual Facebook user to tech industry insiders. Here's how it works: Anytime you're reading news from a social news app or listening to music from a social music app, Facebook automatically shares it to your Facebook profile (soon to be
Up until Facebook introduced frictionless sharing, users by default had more control over their own version of the social Web. Sharing content to Facebook meant clicking the "Like" button, cutting and pasting a link into the status update box, "checking in" on Facebook or Foursquare and clicking the re-tweet button n Twitter. Frictionless sharing is here to stay. It's up to the user to turn it on or shut it off.
Frictionless Sharing: Music
shot way up, but that's not to say all are in favor of its frictionless sharing techniques.Spotify rolled out deep integration with Facebook shortly after f8, requiring a Facebook account in order to sign up. Usage
In exchange for free music from Spotify, Facebook streams music tracks onto one's profile for their network to see. Spotify calls this the "soundtrack of your social life" - and it's all right there on the Facebook profile. Spotify is also centered around social discovery, hoping to increase music recommendations among friends. As with any free service on the Internet, users pay with their data though ultimately Spotify hopes to turn its free users into paying customers. Like Spotify, music streaming services competitors MOG and Rdio also dropped their fees.
Not everyone wants to tell their social graph about what they're listening to. In fact, our own music writer John Paul Titlow turned off his Spotify integration.
Spotify does add an interesting new social layer to the online music listening experience. And it opens you up to your friends' entire library of music. Through frictionless sharing, you might discover that you have the same taste in music as someone else you know - or you might find new tunes based on the social graph rather than through a music recommendation service like Pandora. In fact, this happened to me. I discovered that a friend was also listening to Katy Perry (because really, who in the world isn't listening to Katy Perry?) and we, like, totally and instantly bonded over that! For a moment on Facebook, anyway.
While these types of happenstance discoveries could bring about new interests and connection, the majority of Spotify streaming just feels like noise that's popping up in the news ticker. Facebook has not proven itself to be a one-stop shop for music like Pandora. But that's not what it wants to be, really.
The good news is that you can adjust the privacy settings for frictionless sharing apps like Spotify. If you really wanted to, you could just change to "Custom" so that only you would see what you post from the app.
On the actual data collecting side, does Facebook really need this much information about anyone's music listening habits? If Timeline is a curated version of your life, then the answer is yes. But not everyone is as interested in lifestreaming as Facebook seems to believe.
Next page: Frictionless sharing for news, and how this trend will play out in the coming year.
Frictionless Sharing: News
The three big Facebook social news apps come from the Guardian, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Install the app onto your Facebook account, and everything you read will automatically show up on your Facebook profile (Timeline). All articles that you read through the app will be done inside Facebook itself.
Does your Facebook network care about what you read? If so, social news apps might be useful for starting discussion. If your network is more focused on friends and family, then social news will just end up feeling like noise.
Of course, there are pros and cons to every new product that Facebook launches. But really, I think this once again comes down to better segmentation of Facebook friends. In this instance, Facebook could learn a thing or two from Google+'s Circles.
Conclusion: Frictionless Sharing Needs Some Serious Tweaking
Facebook has a history of launching new products, altering privacy settings and doing whatever it pleases without the user's consent. The FTC settlement should change that, but of course Facebook will continue to innovate.
Facebook needs to figure out how to help users share to niche segments of their friends. For example, the new Facebook Subscribe button for websites, which went live last week, makes it easy for fans to subscribe to public posts. Previously, the subscribe option was only available within Facebook. What's bothersome about it, however, is that every public post still has to go through the user's Facebook profile (or Timeline), meaning that Facebook friends who may not care will still see it. And by the way, whatever happened to the "watch" aspect of Facebook's read/watch/listen?
The same problem occurs with frictionless sharing. On the initial launch, Facebook sharing definitely felt wrong. Facebook seems like it's redefining sharing, but is it really? It's just launching something new, then tweaking it.
Facebook should ask its users how they'd prefer to use frictionless sharing and with whom they want to share endless streams of information. I doubt the answer is "everyone."