To me it sounds like a version of hell, but as reported by the NY Times there’s a growing market for “automatically tracking personal browsing histories for public viewing.” let’s users “[a]utomagically [sic, and yuck] share what you’re up to on the web with friends and followers in real-time. Discover what your network is viewing online and see what you’ve been missing out on!” let’s you “share your clickstream automatically using our browser add-on.”

Does no one have a filter?  Can anyone think for themselves?  I come across lots of new sites.  I share maybe 1 in 50 if it offers a uniquely helpful service, and then only with a few people.

I hate the concept.  I’m sure it will be successful.

9 Replies to “TMI”

  1. Jason Lee

    I think the growing force behind sites like is this concept of "discovery" and information ranking. With information content on the web growing exponentially, it is becoming increasingly important to create a hierarchy to sort out what's important and what isn't.

    That being said, I can see the value behind information sharing (I've found/reciprocated sharing useful links via sites like twitter) but I am skeptical of the effectiveness of I have heard of similar sites (sitesimon, yourversion, etc.) that share a similar goal of finding "treasure" on the web but all these sites face the problem of information overload. The real-time nature of all these sites creates a clouded atomosphere inwhich information is thrown in the user's face–contrary to the site's purpose.

    These sites, perhaps if their content were narrowed/categorized, could serve as useful resource databases.

  2. Erik Chung

    I agree that these history-sharing websites have the potential to be detrimental on privacy, but I don't think that the fault lies within the website owners themselves; the website's themselves are fairly innocuous in that, ideally, an interested candidate would simply sign up, grant the website's their 'permission', and share with his community his browsing history.

    The problem, in my eyes, lies with the ease through which 'permission' is granted. I tested the waters by signing up with one of the websites, which automatically detected that I was logged in with Facebook. All I had to do was click 'allow' and it was done thanks to the ease and convenience of 'Facebook connect', all without need for password re-verification

    Bringing this into context; looking through my Facebook feed, I will not uncommonly see people posting messages that would be considered fairly atypical given the source. Later on I will find out that this particular persons 'Facebook' profile was accessed without his permission.

    Given my experiences living in a college dorm where people are always in and out of each others rooms and privacy is basically non-existent, the ease through which 'permission' is granted to these history-tracking websites does not bode well for the trusting college students who doesn't log out of Facebook obsessively everytime they leave their computer.

    • drandall Post author

      Thoughtful perspective. No one is forced to use the sites. If users understand the implications of these sites before volunteering their information then that’s their choice, but we know most users will not understand the implications.

  3. Lana Sharuk

    I read the article and the website seems like a waste of time. Why would you need to see the websites people are looking at? If people wanted to share something they found online, they would send you the link. But this website seems like the new settings facebook has which lets people check in when they go places so that everyone else can see where you are. Also, a similar setting is on twitter where it posts where you are when you are posting the tweet. I feel like all these new settings and websites such as as just make it easier for people to stalk each other. I have a feeling that these new websites are going to fail because they are just not useful or practical.

    • Elizabeth Hoffberg

      Wow. This new website really just sounds like an invitation for people to stalk each other around, more than facebook or Twitter allow for already. How about FourSquare and Scvngr… checking in and letting people know where you are. Whatever happened to kids being told not to tell people their name, address, or anything personal over the internet so that no one will be able to track you down. It's interesting that public chat rooms use to be the larger concern, but now it really has become people just offering so much personal information to anyone who will take it.

  4. Sabrina Fong

    I feel that there should be a limit on how much access people should have to others' privacy. I know that it is inevitable that privacy would eventually be harder to obtain due to increasing rate of technological development. However, that does not mean that such sites should be allowed. We still have a right to our privacy in our lives.

  5. Anand Brahmbhatt

    So I read the NYT article, and I'm going to have to agree with Prof. Tsay on this. I think it'd make people more passive – and have people really start doing things because others do it. But I feel as though maybe on a more limited scale it could be successful. I think this kind of stuff is more important for people who use it for job purposes – people who really need to share their information. I feel as though sharing websites with friends through the internet is just weird. I have friends who obsess over some YouTube videos – instead of having them share the online, there's a more personal and friendly experience when a friend comes over to my room and shows my roommates and me a video that they saw that was hilarious or just weird. That element is necessary I feel, and won't allow for that. The world should stay more personal. I don't need this. At least not yet.

  6. PanConsultant

    I don't think the world is ready for that much pervasiveness. I think those ventures will fail the same way Google buzz has.

    We want to be connected, yes. But there will always be things we don't want our parents to know about.

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