For as much as he’s invested in sharing, though, Zuckerberg seems clueless about the motivation behind the act. Why do you share a story, video, or photo? Because you want your friends to see it. And why do you want your friends to see it? Because you think they’ll get a kick out of it. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s somehow eluded Zuckerberg that sharing is fundamentally about choosing. You experience a huge number of things every day, but you choose to tell your friends about only a fraction of them, because most of what you do isn’t worth mentioning.
Now Zuckerberg wants to lower the bar. “One thing that we’ve heard over and over again is that people have things that they want to share, but they don’t want to annoy their friends by putting boring stuff in their news feeds,” he said during his keynote. To me, this doesn’t sound like a problem that needs solving. If Facebook users aren’t sharing stuff because they worry it will bore their friends, good! Thank you, people of Facebook, for your restraint in choosing not to bore me.
But Zuckerberg couldn’t let this undersharing stand. “Our solution was to create a new place that’s lighter-weight where you can see lighter-weight stuff—that’s how we came up with Ticker.” If you translate “lighter-weight” to boring, you’ll understand what Zuckerberg is saying: Facebook now has a place on its site reserved especially for boring updates.
Sharing is fundamentally about choosing what not to share.
I created separate pages on FB for my various blogs ages ago, specifically so that my friends on FB didn’t have to read all my bloggy stuff unless they specifically wanted to, because I didn’t want to bore my friends. I don’t share much more than the occasional innocuous aside or petty rant in my own status updates, and once in a very long while a photo, because I don’t want to bore my friends. Once the comedians I follow leave Facebook to network elsewhere then I’m out of there except for interacting with mostly family, because I don’t want to bore my friends.
At least they have made it so that the ticker/chat column on the right can be hidden entirely (little arrow on the bottom-right). That’s something, but how many people realise that they can do it? And it doesn’t stop the information actually being shared, either – only that the clueful and non-malicious will choose (that word again) not to view it.
In the meantime, as various folks’ game-scores, comments on the walls of their other friends whom I don’t know, or likes that I simply am not interested in roll through on the ticker when I’m logged in, I’m quietly going through and editing my Subscribe options for them all: getting rid of Games from everybody (have fun with them, but I just don’t care) and removing Comments and Likes and Other Activity from everyone except immediate family and very close friends (if I haven’t got maudlin drunk with you on at least one occasion (even if it was 20+ years ago)where we specifically met up to just talk and talk, then I’m still fond of you and I still care, but we’re just not very close). If you don’t want absolutely everything you do on Facebook to scroll down that ticker area viewable to complete strangers, then I suggest that you ask your friends to do the same.