It was announced with some fanfare earlier this week that Microsoft has released APIs which will allow Windows 8 / Windows Phone 8 apps to use Facebook/Twitter credentials to login. Many apps like; Foursquare, iHeart Radio and Adobe will start to make use of these APIs. I am sure this makes many developers happy. And maybe even some consumers, but I am not one of them.
I am not an overly private person. Nor am I a public figure, who might be expected to share every moment of their life. Honestly, I don’t think I have anything really exciting to share with the world. And when I do have a “moment” I know how to let others know. I don’t need any help from an app. Problem is, free services like; Facebook, Twitter, and these apps that will be using those FB/Twitter credentials for login, can only grow with increased activity, membership and interaction. And they will do anything, including compromising your privacy, to achieve that goal. What you thought was safe and locked down this week, will be posted on your timeline next week. And there is not much you can do about it except to opt out, or limit your exposure. As I do find some benefit with social media, I choose the later.
When I take a photo with my phone for example, I don’t want to share that on social networks, or even with SkyDrive. Why not you say? Well, because not all the photos I take are meant to be shared with the world. Not talking about kiddie porn here. But how about the three or four photos I took of of a door handle last week, before trucking off to Home Depot to find a replacement. They have already been deleted from my phone. And I do this quite a bit. Probably, 60-70% of the photos I take are deleted within a week. Not what I would call lasting moments. Oh, and I also tend to take several shots of the same subject from different angles. Would I want four shots of the same scene uploaded to my timeline. Or, would I want to manage another site/folder to clear out photos that are irrelevant? I don’t think so.
Last month I downloaded/purchased a couple dozen scary movie music themes (using my Zune credits) for a Halloween mix I put together to play for trick or treaters. Would I have have wanted to share that exciting news with my FB/Twitter friends? What would they be thinking. Maybe Jim needs an intervention as he seems to have gone to the dark side. I don’t purchase many physical books (most of my reading time is spent online reading tech news), but I will occasionally take some interest in an autobiography or politically focused book. I learned long ago to never talk religion or politics with friends, if I want to continue to have friends. It’s not worth the effort. And I have no intention of sharing/expressing my views on those subjects through social media.
I have already run into a couple sites that would not let me register with them without giving up my FB login. I found alternatives. Aside from apps designed to let me view my FB/Twitter timelines, no one else gets those credentials. Period. If because of these new APIs, more apps start to “require” FB/Twitter credentials, looks like they will be losing another subscriber. If you don’t mind sharing your every waking moment via social media then offer your credentials willingly. Wont be long before I unfriend you because of your needless posts. But if you have a busy life, as I do, and are limited by what you have time to view, consider others and protect those credentials, reserving your posts for things you really intended to share. In other words, do the right thing.