Slow-mo social: Friction and frictionless sharing

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Interesting train of thought set in motion by an excellent blog post from Chris Thorpe.

He makes a case for “frictionless sharing” (stuff you read or see or listen to being shared automatically with your social network) as promoted by Facebook, being “noisy and for robots” while “declarative frictionfull sharing” (deciding to share things and putting a little effort into doing so) as being meaningful.

It is one of those arguments that you realise you agree with and have agreed with, without ever really thinking it through.

Frictonless sharing is just data. When it is coming into your stream – its annoying. Sometimes when people – and I have almost certainly done it – post too frequently on Twitter it feels like theres not too much friction going on between thoughts and screen – they are just talking without thinking…

Chris says:

It’s aspergic social software. I always think that good social software is where you can picture yourself having that conversation with someone – where they have edited their subconscious in some way before the stream of data emerges.

He talks about Instagram as an example of sharing that is purposeful, calls for a little effort, and I know exactly what he means. Since my business partner, Jason, nudged me into giving Instagram a propoer go, i have utterly fallen for it.

I thought it was just Twitter for pictures before – it can be and some people use it like that – and decided that the last thing I needed was another type of Twitter in my life. But it isn’t -it’s slower. It slows you down, it focuses you and takes into a more mindful, calmer place.

As I became more used to using it, I noticed these behaviours:

  • I played with Instagram instead of checking Twitter updates. I was using it to distract myself from noise.
  • Walking anywhere could become a mini-photowalk. And when you’re looking for great photo-opportunities, you’re noticing more, really seeing things, instead of rushing past.
  • My stream was something I reviewed and was proud of… I have a few times retrospectively deleted a photo from the stream, because it didn’t fit. It wasn’t as nice as the others.

All very different to how I used Twitter and Facebook. It was all about the noticing and sharing something thoughtful, composed, something you were proud of…

Chris talks about some other social software that works like Instagram – mainly new ones that are in private beta – and it feels like a little movement back toward meaningful social media might be taking place.