The Shift From Active to Passive Sharing

Mike Arrington posted a talk from Joe Kraus speaking at the Supernova Conference in San Francisco. Joe spoke about social networking being the hot thing currently in technology and that even though connecting people is nothing new, there is a shift taking place from active sharing (such as photos or videos via email) to passive sharing (in which your friends are alerted to new things you have posted via a feed).

Joe states that Google’s Friend Connect will help facilitate the transition toward a more social web in which social activities become a normal part of web activity. Whether or not Google’s Friend Connect is successful at facilitating this transition, I couldn’t agree more with Joe about the shift from active to passive sharing. This is a great way of framing the conversation.

Previously I would go upload a photo to Flickr and then send an instant message to alert my friend to it. Now, uploading the photo automatically notifies FriendFeed and my friends that are connected to me can instantly learn about the new content that I have created. While most of my friends that are not early adopters aren’t on any of these services, they are already aware of the benefits gained from sharing thanks to Facebook.

I am part of the first generation which has learned that contributing your content to the world helps make the overall experience with a site better for all. This is a foreign concept to most people but the younger generations already get this. It’s like a digital form of benevolence. If all my friends were inactive on Facebook, I would have no point of logging in on a daily basis.

Thankfully, a large portion of them like to update their profile and share content because they know their friends will do the same in return. This shift will continue and there are a number of technologies that will be used to support this continuing trend. Social on the web is simply becoming part of our digital existence. We don’t need to try to do it, it will simply happen.

The static web pages of today will slowly manifest into dynamic highly social environments. The real question is if all of this chaos can eventually make sense with everybody trying to become a serious player in the social web. Do you think this will eventually work out or are we going to keep updating our profiles in multiple places around the web?