Remind me again why I share stuff online.

Two seemingly-unrelated articles were published this last week. One in the New York Times (Ayman’s favorite liberal media outlet) and another in TechCrunch (Ayman’s favorite geeky media outlet).

In the Times, Emily Gould talks about the personal exposure she subjected herself to as editor for Gawker (Gawker’s take here, no need to follow though, my argument here is completely unrelated).

In TechCrunch, Paul Bragiel of Meetro, RIP, talks about the failure of a location-based social network.

And connecting the dots is our own Ayman, talking about sharing his life via various feeds and sites. Which I guess I do as well. I think, for example, that my homepage and Flickr account alone are enough to disclose my current location, as well as the locations I lived in or visited for the last 4+ years.

Unlike Emily, it’s not clear that anyone cares about me. And I also don’t go as personal in my dislosures as she did. But we’re on a continuum, aren’t we? And Meetro was hoping that they can get enough people disclosing their location information to create a critical mass of users in every geographic area. An army of mini-Emilies strong enough to find kindred-spirits everywhere they go. Ahem. Maybe not. Plazes seem more successful, as they do not require users to simultaneously share a location in order for the system to be useful. Plazes were not building a location-based social network, but a location-based application that is used to disclosure.

More about why Meetro fails, and how this is all connected to Fire Eagle, will appear on this blog someday when I am not too lazy to write about my grand theory, The Other Mor’s Law (tentative name) .

One thought on “Remind me again why I share stuff online.

  1. Joe McCarthy

    I care about you … though not sure if I care enough to follow your whereabouts (regularly) 🙂

    I’m reminded of the notion of “preemptive self-disclosure” that I think I first heard from Paul Dourish. The original context was the sharing of calendar information – sharing information about your schedule, e.g., among students who might be trying to find you – can actually help you maintain your privacy (e.g., students can come find you only or primarily during office hours).

    Given the recent Pew report on the decreasing concerns about privacy, I do wonder how risky it is for us non-celebrities (or, perhaps I should speak only for myself here) to share more location information. I do suspect there may be a gender difference on risks (and the perception of risks).

    Finallly, I have to ask: what is Mor’s [First] Law?

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