Let's all just stop for a minute and realize something: Everyone doesn't want to share everything.
Maybe you're saying right now, "Hey, lady, I already knew that." But stop for a minute, and ask yourself how many social media products and companies are built on the premise that everyone does want to share everything. If you've ever read any of my posts about Foursquare, you know this is an issue I circle back to, a lot.
The reason I am covering the topic again this week is Rockmelt, the so-called Facebook browser that lets you merrily traipse across the Internet with your Facebook friends, among others, via a panel on the browser's left side that makes Facebook, and other social platforms, a part of the browsing experience. Sure, I signed up for a beta invitation and will dutifully download the software and play with it once I'm allowed, but that's only for business. On a personal level, I just don't want to go there.
Part of my attitude, I suppose, has to do with the thoughts that have been rattling around my head recently -- many of which have to do with finding ways to curtail my addictions to Twitter and Facebook, rather than finding ways to amplify them. I like to think I'm a pretty productive sort -- but I bet I'm not the only one in the Social Media Insider universe who wonders how much more I could get done if Tweetdeck didn't keep beeping, or if I stopped Facebook from emailing me every time someone comments on one of my status updates, or if people quit emailing me links to YouTube videos. It's a daily struggle just to fight off the digital distractions.
So, a browser that makes it even easier for me to see what my Facebook friends are up to? On that one, I'll proceed with extreme caution.
But it's not just that. As I have mused concerning Foursquare, people don't necessarily want to share as much as is technologically possible. Even as Facebook continues its march toward world domination, it doesn't mean that there aren't limits to sharing. Facebook's huge membership base exploits the universality of people wanting to share things, but individual preferences for how much to share are something entirely different. Don't assume that just because people eat food, then all people like to eat all kinds of food.
In other words, the industry should constantly be mindful of how much sharing people may find is too much, before getting all hot and bothered about new ways to share that may exist just because they are technologically possible. Tomorrow, will I wake up and find the online community lauding some new iPhone app that can sense a user's mood -- and broadcast it? Is someone developing a pre-set browser that tells the world what its user is wearing each morning? God, I hope not, but there are people out there who would say, "Cool!" and download it, while many of us sat by scratching our heads.
Don't get me wrong, the Social Media Insider loves innovation. But I do get concerned when people fall in love with technological innovation, without asking the core question of who would use it.
That said, there is a market for Rockmelt. As its founders pointed out in this video from Robert Scoble, it also improves on other dominant surfing behaviors, like search. And, yes, if you believe their statement that 500 million people have changed browsers in the last three years, then within that number there are sure to be uber-sharers, who will love Rockmelt.
But even if sharing is a huge behavior, that doesn't mean Rockmelt is for everyone. And, as you, dear Social Media Insider readers, well know, we all sit in between the possibilities of technology and what consumers actually do with it in the marketplace -- and don't you forget it.