On the Need for a Social Sharing Pause Button

pauseAs I noted in Thursday’s video tour, I like Facebook’s new Timeline feature.  As someone who spends very little time on my or anyone else’s Profile (now Timeline) page, I do wonder how the new sharing features will be integrated into the News Feed page, where I suspect most people consume most of their Facebook content.

But, for now, let’s look at what works.  Let’s point out a bug that needs to be fixed.  And let’s make the case for a very important feature that needs to be added.

Music sharing via Spotify works great.


There are the last few songs I listened to, via my Ice House Blues playlist.  If you’re on my Facebook Timeline, and you want to hear a song, just click the Play button, and off you go.

A similar music item gets added to the News Feed.


You can visit the new Music app page, and see what your Facebook Friends have been listening to.


No offense, dudes, but I either don’t know that music or do know it, and don’t want to hear it.  But to discover new music, you have to take some chances.  I’m going to pass on Tony Bennett, but a little further down the page Marshall Kirkpatrick was listening to some Patti Smith.


So I gave My Generation a spin, trying to recover from my near-Tony experience.  A couple of interesting things happened.

First, a box popped up, asking if I wanted to sign in to Rdio, or play in Spotify.  I chose to play in Spotify.  And the song played, but not the Patti Smith version.  The original version by The Who.


This seems like a bug in Facebook’s cross-platform music sharing service.

The other thing that happened is that the song showed up in my Timeline and in the News Feed.


That’s cool, as far as Patti Smith or The Who goes.  But what if I’d clicked on something, you know, uncool.  I don’t really care if people see me listening to some weird music (especially after seeing what some of my Friends listen to!), but I’d rather not have all of my genre-surfing and rapid song exploration show up in my Timeline, or in the News Feed.

It seems to me that, if we want the Timelime to be our digital life archive, we should have the ability to take a digital time out.  I want to be able to temporarily suspend the automatic sharing of my music and other activity.  Then, once I’m done messing around, I’ll be ready to share again.

It’s not always about the Play.  We need a social sharing Pause button.