Given our ability to join everything up and share it, sooner or later we have to make the decision about what exactly we want to share – before we inadvertently share it.
Case in point: I’m currently looking for a house, and I’m employing RSS in all its glory to help me do this. The system works quite well, and between us, myself and my partner are able to go through the feeds coming in, click the shared icon to go through the shortlist, then star those items we really like and want to see.
It wasn’t until I had this system up and running that I realised, with a slight amount of panic, that I may be sending all my shared items out to Twitterfeed, and from there, to Twitter. So, every time I find a property I sort of kind of maybe like, I could be telling 215-and-counting people about it. And not only that, but giving them details of the prices and locations.
Fortunately I wasn’t, but I did then realise I was still running a del.icio.us feed into Twitterfeed. If anyone is following me they’ll have noticed a sudden glut – yes, glut – of shared items from me. To be fair I did apologise, but the episode did scare me a little.
I’m still not sure how to get around this if/when I use del.icio.us for research. Maybe people want to know what I’m researching? But then again, maybe I don’t want to tell? Maybe use a specific ‘forblog’ tag?
Looking into this more deeply, I realise there’s all kinds of potential for making public what perhaps you would rather keep private. For example, I noticed that my gmail accounts have a feed. For why? Do I really want to syndicate out my mail? Would anyone?
My Google Calendar has feeds too. I’ve just started using Google Calendar so it’s currently reminding to do things like get the cat boosted at the vets or follow up on the various blog arguments that seem to be ongoing right now, but is this of interest to people? And what about when I start adding dates to have my bespoke Morris dancing costume fitted*? Do I really want people to know about this?
Then again, your social bookmarking is exactly that – social. Be warned: you have to specify that a bookmark be private if you want to use del.icio.us. So what happens if/when you’re a rookie PR exec and, on behalf of a client, you’ve classed a whole load of bookmarks as ‘competition’?
I’m looking at pulling everything I have into the Google ‘world’ – that is, all my del.icio.us bookmarks to be pulled in as Google Bookmarks, annotated with Google Notes, shared with labels. But I’m now wondering whether there is benefit in keeping these things separate. As in: del.icio.us is everything I’m happy to share; Google Bookmarks are things I want for myself. And never the twain shall Twitter.
* This is not true. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Morris dancer.