Sharing is not caring

Sharing is not caring

In 2010, Facebook’s president of communications and public policy, Elliot Schrage had some snarky advice for people who were concerned about the social media giant’s security features — ‘If you’re not comfortable sharing, don’t.’

Cut to 2017 and people have finally woken up to the wisdom behind this sound advice and decided to do just that — stop sharing on Facebook. No, not everything! We still share links to news, lengthy articles, spoof videos and memes but are preferring to opt for smaller sites like Instagram and SnapChat to say more personal and intimate stuff.

And so prevalent is the phenomena that it has caused the who’s who of Facebook to hold meetings and discuss what could be causing this shift.

Says Arshi Wahab, a professional, “I definitely feel Instagram and Snapchat are better platforms to share personal stories. I have a lot of friends and followers on Facebook and I don’t want everybody to see my updates. And I am someone who posts a lot throughout the day — about work, travel, what I am having for lunch, my dogs and so on. So if someone is connected to me on a social media platform, they will know what I am doing 24x7. And I don’t want this for a large audience.”

 Arshi has deliberately restricted the number of followers on Instagram to keep a check on who she shares her day with.

“In Facebook, we have the option to control who sees your posts but it is a tedious process. I have done it for a few people but it is not possible to sit and filter your audience for each post. That’s why I feel safe on Instagram because I have only added my friends there; I post because I want those people to see it. Facebook has this integrated approach where you can do everything. I only post generic things that I want the world to see.”

 An audience that shares little about itself is worrying news to Facebook which relies on this information to market itself to brands and companies.

This phenomenon is
being called ‘context collapse’ which means that everything we say on Facebook or Twitter is potentially addressed to everybody.

Since people behave differently in different contexts — with friends, colleagues, family and so on — they don’t want everybody to see everything they post because it can be fodder for discussion or gossip later on. On Facebook, all of those contexts are contained under a single identity, resulting in the
so-called collapse.

 “I have added so many people over the past eight years on Facebook that I find it difficult to search for and unfriend the strangers now. And I have so much in the news feed which is unrelated to me,” says Yadhunandan Nagaraj, who is a drummer with quite a few bands, including Carnatic progressive rock project ‘Agam’.

 “Instagram works well because it is easy to follow or unfollow
anyone. And most of the topics I follow on that site will be related to what I do or what I like,” he

However, Yadhunandan strikes a note of caution when it comes to posting titbits of his life on social media.

“I feel you should keep it not too personal, even on your Instagram stories. I choose to put pictures of my travels or gigs.  It helps in promoting your events. The visibility is good for Instagram stories and it is a great platform for building your fan base.”

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