Monday Grok: Frictionless sharing and Facebook, again

So you don’t like where privacy is heading — yeah, we already know

Frictionless sharing is getting another big run at the moment. You remember frictionless sharing — it’s Facebook’s gift to privacy or perhaps its repudiation of it depending on your perspective. It emerged as a concept when the social media giant announced Timeline several months ago, before promptly locking Timeline away in a vault because beta users hated it. Maybe Facebook could set up an unfiltered RSS feed of all the horrible feedback it gets about its cavalier approach to your personal sense of experience. What’s good for the goose... and all that jazz.

Timeline has ceased to be the issue, except as a vehicle for the debate. Instead, it is the nature of privacy and sharing and what it means for us that’s dominating the discussion. Over at <i>Techcrunch</i>, Josh Constine suggests that Facebook is ushering in a “monumental shift in how we curate what we share.”

The author notes that users currently expect to actively decide what to share but in future will need to choose how to unshare. Sure, it’s a nice idea, Josh, until you apply it to the 80 bucks worth of crisp new 20s folded in my wallet, and the vociferous consumption habits of my family. “But you never said we couldn’t have it, Dad.” Maybe there is something to the concept of frictionless sharing after all.

Marshall Kirkpatrick, over at ReadWriteWeb , takes a different line. Kirkpatrick says there’s a ‘big backlash building to seamless sharing’ as he calls it and that the whole thing is, “reminiscent of the best-known time Facebook tried to do something like this with a program called Beacon. The company has done things like this time and time again.” Among the criticisms of this approach, the author notes over-sharing, violations of privacy and self-censorship and suggests the overall impact is “a dilution of value in the Facebook experience.”

The point of the article is the suggestion that Facebook is just the first of many companies who will tread this path. “Why do they have to be so creepy about it though?” asks Kirkpatrick. Both writers do a bang up job of making their point and we would only diminish their ideas by trying to rehash them. So go take a look for yourself if you’re the kind of person who likes (or unlikes) privacy outrage flavoured Facebook.

Speaking of bang up jobs...

It’s violent, disruptive, and pointless, and it's the bane of parents with teenage kids everywhere. It is also one of the most successful product launches of any kind in the world. Ever. Call of Duty Modern Warfare Three hit the shelves last week moving $775 million worth of stock in just five days. Apple and Samsung are noobs. Don’t call us again until your next shiny new smartphone includes a ballistic knife and anti-zombie digital tripwire.

Actually, there are no zombies in Modern Warfare Three apparently, but there may be lightsabers according to the Keepers of Gamer Lore in Grok’s household. Then again, they source all their information from the internet, so you should take that with a grain of salt. News.com.au quotes Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, explaining COD MW3’s appeal. “The game's entertainment value compared well with other more accessible media options.” he said. Oh yeah that, and the fact that you can take a dude’s head off at a thousand yards from the comfort of your couch while sipping your beer through a straw.

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments. Follow him on Twitter @ag_birmingham or blow him away on the xbox, gamer tag Ext3rmin8erBunny.

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