Ever since Facebook announced their Open Graph initiative, the idea of "frictionless" sharing has gotten a lot of buzz. Articles are being written about how this could change social networking and society. On paper, it sounds like a great idea. Take down the barriers to social sharing. Automatically share everything you read in the Washington Post app or everything you listened to in the Spotify app. Your friends see the great article you read and the cool music you listened to. Sharing is great, so more sharing is better. Awesome right? Nope. I think that more sharing will actually hurt Facebook in the long run, and that frictionless is almost never good.
Here's where I get unintuitive. I think friction is good. It slows us down. The pace of design and business and technology forces us to move faster, to be more efficient to get more done. So when we get friction we think it's an obstacle to our goal. But I've learned that if we embraced the friction then what we get is traction. Traction helps us move forward in a meaningful way; it helps us steer versus just speeding madly forward.
This is what traction looks like for Facebook. They should work on ways for their users to share less, but also making what they share worth more. By allowing users to edit and curate what they share, it is more relevant. The song I shared is great because it's an 80's hit that my high school friends would love. That article I shared is great because it is about design and meaningful to my design friends. And my other friends don't see either one.
Embracing friction is hard work, it takes time, it's complicated. But I think it makes us better designers, and clients. And yes it makes us better Facebook users.
What do you think? Do you see the value in sharing everything or are you introducing friction into your social interactions like I am? I have been investing more of my time in Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn because it feels more useful and rewarding to post and read there. Please share your comments below.