The Hyperinflation of Social Sharing
These "frictionless sharing" apps, as they’re called, are designed to allow passive sharing of user actions as they are generated. Watch a movie, click a link, listen to a song, and it’s automatically shared to your timeline.
Sharing has become an assumed byproduct of whatever we are doing. We do it, therefore we must share it. No thought, no bother.
But there’s a cost to these Open Graph applications that is as imperceptible as the effort required to share through them. As the market literally becomes flooded with these passive sharing actions, what happens to their social value?
True influence and the power of shared content in the social space come from intent and selectivity. The value of any shared content (analog or digital) is in the sharer’s consideration of both the content and the receiving audience. In marketing terms, it’s all about the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
With this "new breed of social applications," it seems entirely possible that Facebook may actually be devaluing the very activity that it is staking its future on. While the bold assumption that sharing volume will only increase over time could hold true, this view conveniently ignores the other side of the conversation. It forgets that with a flood of noise into an already noisy system, users are likely to retreat and begin ignoring as much data as they are producing.
Marketers will continue to chase the social share, but in doing so they can’t ignore the shifting value of users’ actions. Is it time then to consider moving our social investments to stronger, emerging markets, much as we would in the face of a non-social currency weakened by overproduction?