What if people stop sharing? Here's Facebook's OpenGraph

What if people stop sharing? Here's Facebook's OpenGraph

Summary: Core to the announcements at Facebook's developer conference is a new "frictionless" user news stream that publishes activities to social networks.

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I've often wondered if the Facebook "Like" or Google "+1" buttons are the most basic of all social gestures -- the most minimal of user generated content that can be published by social media streams.

I've wondered if these buttons represent the most basic of unit of our social media worlds — do they represent the least amount of effort that people can make to register a social event and create "news" in their streams?

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After all, "news" is key to Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Without new activities by their users, new web pages, new jobs, there's nothing new for those companies to publish. There's not much reason to go to Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc if there's not much new happening.

News in social networks is primarily driven by what each user chooses to share.

As the initial flush of enthusiasm wanes among social network users, they share fewer photos over time, fewer status updates — at least that seems to be the case within my groups. This begins to be a serious issue for social networks such as Facebook because there are fewer news events to share among groups of friends, which means fewer opportunities to sell products and services.

People are sharing less also because of users that over-share. We've all had that experience of a friend that joins a network and then dominates your news stream. It's probably one of the top reasons that people are de-friended, or unfollowed.

I know I try to publish less rather than more because I don't want to be the loud-mouth in the social news stream of others.

But it's not just journalists such as myself that are concerned that our output is flooding the news streams of readers, friends, and family. These days everyone creates a mini-dust storm of "events" and many are concerned about being too loud in their streams and they are becoming more careful about sharing as much as they once did.

If you add the mounting privacy concerns among users and worries about employers and future problems their activity streams might create, the slowdown in sharing becomes an ever larger issue.

Right now the trend is likely masked by the influx of new users, but I have no doubt that Facebook's insider analysis of sharing trends had identified a very big problem -- and today it launched the solution at its F8 developer conference, the OpenGraph.

Matt Rosoff at Business Insider quotes Mark Zuckerberg saying:

People have things they want to share, but they don't want to annoy their friends by putting boring stuff in their news feeds. Ticker, light weight stream of everything that's going by you. Won't feel annoyed by friend if lightweight activity shows up there.

He's describing Facebook's OpenGraph, a "frictionless" news stream that's created automatically whenever users listen to music, read a news story, or engage in new Facebook apps.

There will essentially be two streams for each user, the stuff they overtly want to share, and the trail of their activities in real-time -- essentially a type of life-casting automatically generated, an always on news stream requiring no direct effort on their part..

Deftly, Facebook has managed to go beyond the "Like" button -- the most basic of all social gestures -- and extend users' news stream into a tracker of (nearly) all their activities.

In this way, Facebook has also managed to recruit the silent majority, the huge group of users that are too shy or private to share their activities.

And with every activity recorded and published, Facebook has an opportunity to sell targeted ads and services. More activity events means more money for Facebook and its commercial partners.

Marketers will rejoice at the wealth of user data but will users feel comfortable with that level of "frictionless" posting?

My prediction is that the social media of the future will become more iceberg than pyramid -- much of it will go underground, below the visible line, where people can regain the intimacy of friendships and interact and share without the glare of the world looking over their shoulder.

- - -
Please see F8 coverage:

Tell Your Story with Timeline

Facebook's Makeover: A New Vision of Sharing

Facebook is Ready for Your New Closeup. Are You?


Topic: Social Enterprise

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3 comments
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  • RE: What if people stop sharing? Here's Facebook's OpenGraph

    Do We remember when COCA COLA new President Roberto Goizueta changed the FORMULA back in the '80...?
    Well... I belive This FACEBOOK AHEAD CLOCK MASTER MINDED need to learn from COCA COLA...
    WE WANT THE OLD FACEBOOK FORMULA BACK...!!!
    I got my FACE OFF last night...
    Some times its easy for for a OVER GENIUS to become a IDIOT with a excese of extreme INTELLIGENT IDEAS.
    That is waht is happening to MARK ZUCKER-BIG now.
    WE don't want to THINK and ACT the way He does.
    I still belive in INTELECTUAL DEMOCRACY...
    RESPECT ME... !!! RESPECT THE MAYORITY...!!! RESPECT US.!
    louis99santos@hotmail.com
    louis99santos
    • Intellectual democracy? Majority?

      @louis99santos

      You have to realize- with things like Facebook, YOU are the product, not the consumer. You don't own it, you don't buy it- you use it, and Facebook makes money off of you.

      If you want to invoke a change in Facebook, posting negative feedback will help, but they will never listen to a demand for respect, or recognize any sort of democratic / majority movement, however 'intellectual' you happen to be.

      If you want to motivate them, become the consumer and choose not to use Facebook. Until then, you're just another revenue generating stream.
      dzdrazil
  • Facebook lost it's original purpose as did Myspace

    When these social sites came out it was to find old friends, classmates, acquaintances, and family. Sure you share stuff you like but originally it was what you decided to share and with whom. Unfortunately the idiocies started getting out of hand.

    How ever what all these sites have turned into to is create your own profile and everyone now knows from not only what you like don't like, but where you were with whom etc., Letting everyone know your not home, in the backgrounds data that potentially can be used for I.D. Theft is everywhere.

    Sites all using this Log in with your social networking information B.S. now this means Your Email, Financial Sites, etc., all want to use these to have access to everything about you.

    You now have all these things going into statistic databases building profiling of your life, family, friends, what you eat, where you last went, what movies you watch, what music you watch, when your at work, when your reading stuff etc.,

    Timeline, and this stupid everything has to be given to everyone you know mentality. There's too much over exposure and less personal lives now and one way or another whether you volunteer it to make them money or not your friend or relative etc., might of decided for their enjoyment sure I give you the rights to have that same information from anyone on my list so I can play a game, enter a contest, etc., you can't stop the lure of entrapment.

    What good does it do to say NO APPS and personal information to be shared to apps. The your friend says well I need to play BLAH-VILLE cause im so bored and sure you can have all my friends list contact information etc., That defeats your privacy settings. If you say yes and your friends said NO doesn't matter there is no clear way to stop this.

    In the fascination of all that Marketing and money for buying the information forces a greed out of people like Facebook CEO. Then the well your on here and everyone is here to share that doesn't mean I originally wanted you to redefine on what I share and with whom.

    Time line is the first marking of how each social network will do different ways to collect data whether you want to or not. It's also the mark well now here is how you will do it the way we want you to attitude. Before some jerk goes off and says well then don't use a social site, your about to be given a wake up call.

    Other people out there are sharing information about you regardless. That's right and its global so then its the well I may as well be on there thinking cause My Neighbor, Friend, Relative of friends friend etc., has shared stuff to make it all link and get your information and profile you.

    Originally MySpace was fun it had some good basics to it then they blew it trying to Facebook it. No more why it was good to begin with layout and drastic changes. Then everyone flocked to the Facebook thing, then its follow us on Twitter WTH are you thinking I want to get on every site to follow you thinking. What happened was marketing strategy you get people to jump in on every site and link you one way or another.

    Why cant they social sites be simple and you chose your layout and the way you want it to work? Why cant privacy settings stay simple? It's out of hand and it's gotten to much attraction to where Employers wants to know your lives as well to control you this can escalate all the way up and its all started with exploiting simple means of connecting to others.

    Again you don't have to say yes but others will still put enough of you out there to fulfill their desires of apps and games to expose your data to marketing so its a trap.
    wpreece