Facebook, others to launch new sharing tools. Will you participate?

This whole social sharing thing is about to kick into high gear but the thing to remember is: the user has control.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

Here's the thing to remember about all of these new "sharing" initiatives stemming from Facebook, Twitter and other social sites - you don't have to share anything if you don't want to.

I know it sounds simple enough but, for those who inevitably will be squawking about privacy down the road, please remember that you hold the keys to your own privacy. Facebook only knows what it knows about you because you have willingly shared information with the Facebook community at some point.

The New York Times today is stealing a bit of the thunder from what's expected to be Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's keynote speech at F8, the Facebook Developer's Conference, later this week. The newspaper reports that Facebook wants to "turn scores of sites across the Internet into satellites where users will be able to interact with their Facebook friends."

Today, a coalition led by Meebo and includes participation by sites such as Google and MySpace introduced Extended Authentication (XAuth) as an open technology platform that allows users to connect with their social networking friends from other sites.

These efforts aren't new. They've been around for some time now, just on a smaller and more segmented scale. By beefing them up - and tapping into the data to enhance marketing and advertising efforts - the sites are becoming more savvy about how to use your personal information.

I can't exactly put my finger on why this is so creepy to me - but that was my initial reaction. But then I reminded myself that this is self-inflicted creepiness - I choose to log into Facebook and share details of my life. I choose to send out those Twitter blasts. I also choose to NOT share my whereabouts through FourSquare.

I can't blame Facebook or the others for wanting to tap into this vast - and valuable - data set and seek out a way to monetize it. In fact, I'd be disappointed in these companies if they didn't find a way to tap into it.

Just today, Facebook launched Community Pages and enhanced user profiles to better customize your interests and who you share that information with. Yes, you're telling  your friends more and more about you. But you're telling Facebook, too.

Now, it's up to you - the user - to decide how much or how little to share. And, hopefully, as these services start to grow, you won't be crying about your privacy being violated. That's something you did to yourself.

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