Archives for posts with tag: sharing

This was part of my News Feed the other day:

Useless and boring — the worst combination.

No offense to anyone in my stream. It’s not you I’m uninterested in; it’s the data Facebook is choosing to show me.

Because that’s what these stories are: data. It’s all great information for Facebook to collect and store, but it’s not content that should qualify as ‘news.’ I can’t wait until social media data is organized in a way that is more useful to us all. The future is not feeds.

The actions we take and information we share online have the potential to be tremendously useful. Of course I want to know what restaurants my friends have been to, but I don’t need Facebook to show me every time a friend checks in somewhere across the country. When I start researching travel or when I arrive in another city, that’s when I want to see that checkin.

I’d love to be able to see all my friends’ activity related to movies in one place, so that when I’m deciding what to see this weekend, I can view which new releases my friends have liked, any posts or comments about those movies and any relevant checkins from Get Glue or other services.

I want to be able to visit a band’s Facebook page and not only see which of my friends like that band, but what they’ve said about the band, which songs they’ve shared and whether they’ve been to a concert.

All of this information is on Facebook’s servers, and it’s inevitably going to be organized this way. Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook users are sharing twice as much each year. With that sort of exponential growth, it’s obvious the News Feed will have to evolve.

The solution is not to generate and view lists of different people. Companies have to organize feeds around content. While Google+ is focused on Circles and Twitter’s biggest changes involve adding multimedia, Facebook seems to be actually pursuing ways to sort posts.

There’s the new ‘X of your friends posted about Y’ feature and the fact that Facebook has quietly begun categorizing some shared links. Notice the favicons:

Compared to the traditional symbol for links:

This bodes well for a future that moves away from the unfiltered feed and toward highly relevant search results and push notifications.

In the meantime, I’ll be using the Better Facebook plugin to sift out some of the noise.

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I can’t find a logical reason to switch to Google+. I’ve heard all the arguments for Circles, and I’m telling you, they’re not a Facebook killer. Despite having a better UI than Facebook lists, they are just as much mental work to create and use. They require thought where Facebook has shown simplicity wins out, and they fail to solve the problems their proponents think they do.

About a year ago I went through all my Facebook friends and deleted anyone I wouldn’t stop to talk to on the street. I put the remaining friends in lists according to how I knew them or where they lived. Though this was a process (and Facebook has made it easier since then), it is simple to maintain and makes me feel I have full control over how I share online.


The thing is, I almost never use these lists. It’s rare that I want to post something on Facebook that I wouldn’t want all of my friends to see. Though I’m confident I could post photos my family wouldn’t see or say something my coworkers couldn’t read, I haven’t found a need.

The ultimate privacy setting is, of course, your own discretion. All the lists and circles in the world won’t protect you if you’re adding people you can’t trust or sharing items you really don’t want certain people to know about.

The other side of the pro-Circles movement is less about privacy and more about filtering noise. Some say they like Google+ Circles because they can share selectively with their work friends, tech friends, basketball friends, foodie friends, etc. They don’t want to bother the techies with the food photos or the basketball friends with work talk.

Though this makes sense in real life, it doesn’t work online. We share online because we want to be recognized. Why would we limit our reach? I love when someone I haven’t talked to in a while likes my Facebook photo, or when someone I wouldn’t have thought would have been interested in something comments on a link I shared. Besides, it’s annoying to decide who to share each post with. Play around with Google+ and you’ll see.


There is certainly a problem of too many irrelevant posts in people’s News Feeds, but Circles don’t solve that. The feed from your foodie friends will still include much more than photos or talk about food.

I’d love to see Facebook or Google (or anyone) create a solution that lets me see particular types of posts or information when I want to see it. For instance, all my friends’ mentions of movies this weekend or all the songs my friends shared this month. That would be a gamechanger.

But so far, Google+ does not offer compelling reason to switch from Facebook. Some people talk about “starting fresh,” adding friends more selectively and organizing them from the start. Sure, but that seems like just as much work as cleaning out your Facebook friends.

Besides, you’ll feel a little silly when Facebook comes out with a solution that sorts your friends automatically. They already have an algorithm that suggests friends to add to certain lists. I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up one day to find Facebook has grouped all of our friends for us.

But then, how often will anyone use them anyway?

This is a great talk by Mark Zuckerberg that I’m surprised hasn’t gotten any attention from the media or blogs. He’s so comfortable speaking here and he really opens up about his approach to Facebook. Well worth a watch.

Starts at 2:20.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Zuck , posted with vodpod