Sociality, n.

The rules, well maybe not rules, but the ways we share stuff online is beginning to change. For those at the top of the curve (social communication addicts / tech enthusiasts) this is nothing new, but for many (scratch that - MOST) people the changes to what and how you share your life with others may be far more subtle.

The image above, coupled with the announcements last week at F8 (Facebook's Developers Conference) has got me thinking about this, how there are some very subtle nuances about what we do in the online world. For most people whether you become a "Fan" of something or a "follower" or as with the updates facebook are bringing in just "Like"ing something, doesn't play a bit part in your decision making process to make these actions, for many they are just automatic.

There is something deeper going on here I think - a new form of consumerism if you will. For decades since the consumer revolutions of the early 60's (Mad Men anyone) people have consistently been more and more defined by what they buy. That self definition then became public when those goods or services that you have cashed into begin to be publicly on show (i.e. take the car out of the garage, branded shopping bags over plain paper or books getting covered jackets, rather than functional spine-based titles).

However as more and more of these goods and services become intangible (Insurance, Shopping Delivery, eBooks), and particularly the process for buying these moves online we verge on the edge of moving away from this purchase=self definition model. Or, maybe not.

It appears now that as the web moves into the era of the "open-graph", where our online social (and commercial) activities are enabled to be public, shared and real time, a new form of consumerism is being born, one where we are actively choosing to share, like, tweet, buzz or blog our purchasing behaviour. This of course drastically impacts the way in which brands harness these actions, or more to the point proactively encourage them, but I think it begs even bigger questions for consumers - what will be your level of "Sociality" and how will you govern that, what rules are you setting, what is too much or not enough.