Posted: Tue 31st Jan 2012
If cultural commentator and satirist Charlie Brooker is right, we're being prompted into sharing too much personal information by software that has sharing as its default setting.
Brooker's rant on The Guardian website is particularly directed at the recent hook-up between the music service Spotify and Facebook, which means that Spotify will automatically share the music you're listening to with your Facebook friends - unless you make the effort to turn the sharing facility off. Voluntarily sharing the inconsequential details of your life through social media is one thing, says Brooker, but when the software is set up to do it for you by default, that's a step too far. Or, as he puts it:
"You know how annoying it is when you're sitting on the train with a magazine and the person sitting beside you starts reading over your shoulder? Welcome to every single moment of your future. Might as well get used to it. It's an experience we'll all be sharing."
Personal info: are we going too far?
He's raising an interesting point. Quite apart from the privacy concerns raised by social media and more openly commercial sites recording so much information about your tastes, preferences and activities, there's a question here: how much is too much? That's something for everyone who uses social media to ponder. But since we're a small business site, we'll stick to the small business angle. Social media has been a godsend for start-ups and small firms with little or no marketing budget; and we know that one of the reasons people buy from smaller businesses is that they like the fact that there's a 'real human being' behind the business. Do your customers really want to know what you had for breakfast? That you're annoyed about the roadworks in the street next to yours? Or that you're listening to Adele right now? How much should you share about yourself while also trying to present a professional front? At what point does giving a hint of your personality become too much information and a turn-off to customers?
What's your view on sharing information about your personal life?
How do you manage your social media relationships with customers? We'd love to know - please leave a comment below. Photo credit: Wendy Harman