June 20, 2012

Are you sold on frictionless sharing?

Target audience: Marketers, social media influencers, businesses, brands.

Chris AbrahamIhave been exploring frictionless sharing for years in the form of auto-tweets, retweets, automatic cross-posting, and attention data. What is it, you ask? Well, according to Wikipedia, frictionless sharing refers to “the transparent sharing of resources using social media services.” What this means is that all you need to do is look at a particular piece of content such as a news item, story, video, or content, and that piece of content is linked to on your Facebook Timeline, in Google Plus and in other social media.

We all have been frictionless sharing with advertisers, social media companies, big data minters, and search engines for a decade in the form of implicit attention data, part of an attention economy. While people are freaking out about how privacy-invading frictionless sharing is, we have all been frictionless sharing everything and anything — sometimes even including our credit card information, Social Security numbers and secret questions’ answers — with everywhere and everything, including Friendster, MySpaceeHarmony, match.com, FacebookTwitter, AOL, Yahoo!, Microsoft and the No. 1 data-vacuum, Google.

On Facebook, the most common frictionless sharing experiences come from their social sharing apps, with the Washington Post’s app being the most famous and infamous – though TechCrunch and ESPN and quite a few other media platforms have invested. Trouble is, none of these social sharing apps perform very well in new Facebook because their new stream of news Timeline algorithm prioritizes friends and family above the social shared content.

Choose a setting early on and you’re good to go

The framework that Facebook, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Twitter is based upon — requiring liking, digging, redditing, thumbs-upping, or retweeting — demands way too much commitment from the casual visitor on a daily basis. Even something as passive and easy as Facebook’s Like button can be too intrusive and too intentional, thus ignoring the true interests and honest habits of all but the most committed and engaged. Oh, what a pity.

Much more effective is sharing content and recommendations with each other based on our implicit decisions rather than our explicit ones. This has been going on for years in the form of those apps that allow you to shamelessly share what you’re listening to on iTunes, real time, as you listen to your status update, be it Skype, Twitter, or Facebook. That’s frictionless sharing by definition: All you need to do is choose a setting early on that says you’d like to share what you’re listening to and then whenever you listen, all your friends know what you’re shaking it to.

Mind you, sharing frictionlessly can result in embarrassment, I mean, you’re a 42-year-old man and you spend half your day cruising lolcats on I Can Has Cheezburger? That’s embarrassing, sure, but so is the fact that you spend the entire day listening to Glee interpretations of popular music all day – now that’s embarrassing! But not really, right, because in so many cases, what you’re really doing is more often meat and potatoes than jellybeans and cotton candy, especially during your work day.

And, since all of these tools have become so wary of embarrassing you – all that privacy crap is about embarrassment and about not letting the world know you’re obsessed with domestic house kittens and show choir even though you attended Harvard Law* – there are very simple ways of turning sharing off or making it selective.

More recently, I have fallen madly in love with GaggleAMP, a tool that allows my blog to automatically share itself through the LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profile accounts with 211 folks who have opted in to become members of my Gaggle, sharing without friction–automagically and pre-authorized. It’s pretty stellar.

New ways to cross-post using GaggleAMP

With GaggleAMP — a social marketing platform that lets companies Amplify their social media reach by leveraging individual employees, customers and partners — anything that’s tweeted from my blog is shared through GaggleAMP. However, when it comes to my personal @chrisabraham Twitter profile, I really want to be more intentional because my Twitter stream is mostly links to icanhascheezburger.com and fox.com/glee, so I have it set up so that the only way my posts will enter GaggleAMPlification is if I append an #ga to my tweet. Same thing with Selective Tweets on Facebook that allows you to frictionlessly share to Facebook from Twitter just by appending an #fb or how LinkedIn allows you to crosspost frictionlessly to LinkedIn from Twitter with a quick #in hashtag. It saves a lot of angry jazz-hands, I tell you.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you. However, to me, the convenient always trumps everything else. For me, signing off on what I de facto want to share every time, such as a morning read of the Washington Post, and then expecting what I read to be shared, does it for me. Automatically retweeting, sharing, cross-posting, and autoposting the content I have pre-approved from platforms, media outlets, and friends – content I would have shared and retweeted anyway (were I to have all the time in the world to peruse and explore and read, but I don’t).

I am completely sold on frictionless sharing myself. I am so happy that I have GaggleAMP to work for me when I am asleep or at lunch or perusing lolcats while listening to the Glee cast’s rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Are you sold on frictionless sharing? What’s your take?

* I never attended Harvard Law – I chose Harvard for effect. My degrees were in American Literature and Creative Writing from The George Washington University, somehow not bearing the same level of gravitas.Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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