Are we getting too socially connected?
I frequently like to read the popular news site Huffington Post. While I don't consider myself a hard-left liberal, I still enjoy reading and debating my more moderate stances on the site.
Today, I found a very cool article showcasing some creative uses for macaroni and cheese. I wanted to share the link around the social media realm the way I think things should be done, but when I clicked on the button to tweet the link on Twitter, I suddenly saw the pop-up shown above. They wanted me to fully connect my Twitter account to the Huffington Post, rather than just post the link and move on.
Doesn't this seem a bit much to you? It's one thing to offer to follow Huffington Post or another site on Twitter, but to be forced to in order to use their sharing service is a bit ridiculous in my book. I know one can then say "why don't you just copy and paste the link from the address bar?" but that's not the point.
I currently use ShareThis as a means to socially share articles from this blog around the internet. I have no login, no accounts, no "signing up" of any sort to read or comment on this site. If you want to find me on the social media realm, you can go to the Contact page and I have links. Some can claim I'm being short-sighted or not "socially connected" enough, but I am a fan of Internet Anonymity. I like having a CHOICE in what I will connect myself to and what I won't, and I believe everyone should have that.
If you could peer into my Facebook account, you would see I've blocked many apps and I don't really connect my account to much of anything. I still don't even use Facebook as an OpenID login on other sites. On Huffington Post I had signed up as a HuffPost account and not used my social media accounts. If it seems like it's a bit paranoid, the reality is that Huffington Post and other sites have no business seeing or knowing what I do on Facebook .
I actually have a Facebook Page for this site and myself as an Interactive Media Designer/Developer. That is the public face I want to portray of my professional life. I have pages for my DJ-related fun and another for my food blog. I don't just blatantly post it all in one place because it doesn't belong in all places. This is why I have three Twitter accounts even. My actual Facebook account I keep set to very private so even someone who finds my account on Google won't be able to see anything.
Some might want to fight and debate that we should each have one account for everything, and everything ends up there. I don't agree because we live in a world of branding. Would you want to have a company selling insurance, and while you might post articles on Facebook about the industry, people can also see family photos and funny links you like to share?
This new age of social media means people want to portray different faces to the different crowds that will see them. Until we can fully go online and connect to sites with the selected "faces" we want to show, I won't connect my accounts so easily to other sites. This is why I think it's a foolish move on the part of the Huffington Post. Popular or not, you don't want to put obstacles in the way of people commenting or sharing links. Granted I signed up on the site, but this is why I don't require any logins here on this site. I want people to have the freedom to share a link, post a comment, read, etc...and yet still remain separated from me, only connecting to me when they CHOOSE TO.
Be careful when you try to get into social connections. Some "experts" might claim some practices will get you loads of fans, but these people should come willingly, not be forced to through means like this. You just might end up losing many possible links to your content because of the added layers.
What do you think? Do you feel anonymity is still important online? Or should everyone's life and opinions sit publicly for all to see?