What to make of Facebook's oversharing?

Are the concerns about oversharing issues with news apps valid for the masses on the supersized social network? Maybe not.

Facebook’s penchant for sharing everything you read via its Open Graph news apps caused quite a weekend stir. However, I wonder how far this flap goes beyond tech insiders and news junkies.

CNET’s Molly Wood set off a bit of a fire storm by noting that Facebook is ruining sharing. In a nutshell, she doesn’t want to click on any links on Facebook because they are broadcast to her friends. Chances are you’ve seen stuff a friend has read because they installed a news reader app from the Washington Post, Yahoo or a bevy of others.

On Techmeme, the Facebook seamless sharing parade got up a full head of steam. Robert Scoble notes the Facebook freaky line. There are posts about curation and how Facebook’s “seamless sharing” is just wrong. Also see: Facebook Open Graph news apps have two major problems

But a funny thing happened on the way to the oversharing backlash—I’m seeing little of it among my non-tech friends. I haven’t installed any of these news apps because I don’t feel like sharing everything I click on—it’s stupid. And frankly I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if most average folks refrain from these news apps. Some have fallen for music apps that broadcast everything they listen to, but that’s what the unsubscribe option is for.

This screen of the Washington Post app tells the tale. Three friends—all in the news business in some fashion—have the app. “Normal” people aren’t going for it.

Washington Post Social Reader

Could it be that techies fell for all of Facebook’s Open Graph revolution at the F8 developer powwow and are now realizing it’s a rathole? Could it also be that the average Facebook user saw the slippery slope right away?

Facebook obviously wants you to share every waking moment of your life and put those transactions on autopilot. One way to avoid this oversharing problem is to skip the Facebook apps. Another sure fire way to put the oversharing flap to rest is to skip Facebook—or at least put it in its place—and perhaps do something else with your time.

About the author

    Larry Dignan is editor in chief of ZDNet and editorial director of CNET's TechRepublic. He has covered the technology and financial-services industries since 1995.


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