Beware of oversharing
MY FACEBOOK friends are an educated and discerning bunch for the most part, but boy do they do read a lot of rubbish online.
I know this because a lot of them have installed social reader apps on Facebook, which automatically share with their friends the stories that they are reading on online news sites that have the app enabled.
Surprisingly, my friends read about the Kardashians, why they’re having bad sex, and the foods most likely to produce a heart attack.
Embarrassing, right? Would you want every one of your friends to know what you are reading online? Me neither.
Social readers instantaneously publish the headline of what you are reading on another website, without prompting for your approval.
It’s what Facebook calls ‘‘ frictionless sharing’’, as users instantly share their information with applications from the Washington Post, Guardian, Wall Street
Journal, The Huffington Post and more. A lot of Facebook users install the apps because they see interesting headlines on stories that friends are reading and want to click through. It’s then just one click on the app install page to read the article.
One benefit to allowing a social reader is that some sites, like The Huffington Post, have a ‘‘ Social News’’ feature that encourages readers to log in through their Facebook accounts and comment on articles under their real identities.
It’s a lot easier and more instant than having to tap in your name and email every time you want to comment on a news story, so it works for you, and it works for them, because when you do comment as your Facebook identity, the story is instantly shared on your timeline.
Care about privacy? If you’re about to install the app and don’t want anyone but you to know what you are reading, simply choose the ‘‘ only me’’ option when you install, and nothing that you do with the app will be shared with others.
Another way is to avoid the social reader app altogether. Go straight to Google or the news website in question and search for the story, independently of Facebook.
Some people have stopped calling them ‘‘ social readers’’ and started calling them ‘‘ spam hoses’’, because they scatter- fire advertisers’ interests through your newsfeed for all your friends to see.
Oversharing may seem like an inane concern, but it runs a little deeper than that.
Using social reader apps entails sharing your online activity more broadly than you may expect.
Do you know what the third- party app is doing with the information they glean from having access to your profile?
It is an invasive thought for the individual, but a gold- mine for targeted advertisers and other interested commercial parties.
The beauty of sharing good online finds with friends is that you can curate your selection; choosing only the best links to post for others to appreciate.
IN THE HEADLINES: ( from left) Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, and Kendall Jenner.