Social Networks: Blend or Divide?

As an enthusiastic Instagram user, I am always ready and anxious to install updates as soon as they are released. When I first saw Instagram’s updates this week, I did not think too much of them. There are a few changes but I did not see anything that was overly exciting as far as photography is concerned. My first instinct (and hope), when I hear of an update, is usually to think that Instagram is making changes to their photo filters.

There were no filter changes but one feature that stands out for me with this update is that users can now turn on a setting that shares photo “likes” to their Facebook Timeline. At first, this did not seem like a big deal to me. However, many of my friends turned on this feature and my Facebook Ticker now seems to be full of updates pertaining to “liked” photos.

Let me explain this in a little more detail. When you see a photo that you like on Instagram, you can “like” it, indicating to the photographer that you enjoy the shot. Your “likes” get stored and you can go back and look at the images again whenever you want. This used to be kept private within Instagram, however, now we have the option to automatically share the photos that we “like” on our Facebook Timeline.

This made me think about just how much information is on Facebook:

  • We can post tweets to Facebook.
  • We can let friends know when we have watched a YouTube video on Facebook.
  • When we pin something on Pinterest, we can notify Facebook.
  • When we take a photo on Instagram (or “like” a photo on Instagram), we can have it copy to Facebook.
  • When we check-in at a Foursquare venue, we can post it to Facebook.

The list goes on and it makes me wonder why Facebook should be privy to all of this information from other social networks. When I now look in my Ticker or News Feed, it seems like a lot of the activity that I see on Facebook actually originates elsewhere. Part of me feels a sense of concern because I think that, if people get frustrated enough, they will start to block updates from other social networking sites on Facebook. Then that will defeat the purpose of sharing.

Is linking all activity to Facebook necessary? Is it desirable? How much is too much? Do you think that blending the networks is a good idea or would you rather see them stay separate? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!

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  • http://learnit2earnitwithlynn.com Lynn Brown

    This is a topic that have been discussed for a while now.  I think your message here Lauren makes it clear that we all need to be aware of how the social sites share information.  Facebook has been called on the carpet for their privacy and has added some features to allow people to manage that better.

    However, it is still up to the individual or business to understand all of this.  So I am glad you are sharing this as the more information we can learn the better, I think, we can decide what action, if any, to take.

    I will have to say though, that my business has thrived on the sharing of information between the social sites.  It has provided an easy path for my visitors which then have turned into clients and customers.  So it is a fine line — one to always keep an eye on.

  • http://www.laurenhuston.com Lauren Huston

    You’re right! It is up to the individual. I think the issue there, though, is that most FB users are not aware of all of the options that are available to them. I go through everything with a fine tooth comb but not everyone else does. People are always surprised when I tell them that Facebook actually has fairly advanced privacy features! :)

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