For years, we’ve been taught to make our Web surfing private by using firewalls, secure Internet connections, and passwords so complicated that you’re bound to forget them yourself. Some new websites actually encourage you to let down your guard when you log on. It’s called “click-sharing” and it gives others a peek at the news stories, video clips, and just about anything else you’re clicking on around the internet. Here’s how it works: You log onto a click-sharing website like Voyurl or Site Simon directly, and it’ll track where you’ve been on the Internet – including purchases you make on, say, Amazon. You can choose to share your “clickstream” with certain friends, or with everyone, and you can “blacklist” websites so that they don’t show up on your clickstream list.
Demetri Karagas is the co-founder of Site Simon, and he says that click-sharing is the next natural step beyond social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. He says that by sharing with others what you’re viewing, you and your followers will have a “richer” online experience, and everyone will discover web content they might not otherwise have seen. In fact, Site Simon gives points to users who share the newest, most interesting content so you can develop a loyal following.
However, not everybody’s a fan. Dr. Alice Marwick is a social media researcher for Microsoft, and she points out two problems:
- Most of us surf the Web “indiscriminately,” and never think that what we look at could ever come back to haunt us.
- When you post a web link on Facebook, you make a conscious decision to share that link, but with click-sharing, you make one decision upfront to share the websites you visit, and can’t pick-and-choose after that. That can allow others to gather information about you, putting your privacy at risk.
If you want to check it out – those sites are SiteSimon.com and Voyurl.com.