While the internet was up in arms rebelling against SOPA, Facebook was holding a press conference to announce the launch of Timeline Apps. Mirroring Apple’s successful blueprint for the app store, Facebook is reaching out to top content providers to integrate their sites into the Facebook ecosystem. By giving them access to the Open Graph, Facebook hopes that developers will create compelling apps that encourage users to share their web experiences straight to Facebook Timeline.
Imagine taking a photo of your favorite Thai dish with the Foodspotting app, at which point it will instantly share the photo with your Facebook friends. Once a users gives the app permission it will automatically update Facebook about products you like, concerts you attend, a favorite song, movies etc.
On the surface, the ease of sharing looks great, but scratch a little deeper and the negative side effects become clear.
Why timeline Apps are great.
They make social sharing dead simple. Just give the app permission to track your activity and your Facebook friends will get a play by play account of your exotic travels, favorite songs, movies, foods etc. For anyone into life casting and are open to sharing their every move, Timeline apps are a great fit.
This levels the playing field for smaller startups, websites and blogs, they now have access to the open graph and can leverage Facebook to grow their user base.
Why Timeline Apps are no good.
The set it and forget it nature of authorizing apps could lead to people losing track of all the sites they gave access to their timeline. You’re giving up more of your ability to filter what content you share on Facebook. After all, do you want to share every movie you watch or song you listen to. Even the most active social media users know to selectively post content that leaves them with some privacy.
My Open Graph experience.
As an early adapter to the Timeline roll out, I gave permission to sites like Yahoo to share what stories I read. Within days of turning on the feature, my reading habits changed. Instead of clicking through a bunch of headlines to get at the story, I begin to question whether or not I wanted anyone on Facebook to see what I was reading. If it’s a story about Warren Buffett then I look informed, conversely if it’s about Snooki, I look like a ditz.
Think about it, do you want to share every video you watch, song you listen to? Doesn’t it become insincere after a while? I see this leading to major over sharing.
Timeline Apps will launch with 60 services, here is a sample of what’s available to users today.
How do you feel about Timeline Apps? Will you allow them to post on your behalf?
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