The rings of share - the unsolved problem of sharing

Recently (last Saturday), I went to the Colombo Street Food Festival. It was a bit crowded for my liking but had awesome music and good beer. I snapped some photos of the event, recorded some clips of the music, and snapped some more photos with the others who I went to the festival with.

The Colombo street food festival

I wanted to share the pics and videos with the people I know, so they too can see (if they like) the awesome event that I just went to.

But I had a problem that was recurring for a while, that is how to share different photos with the different connections that I have. There are photos that I can share publicly, and there are photos that I don’t want some people to see, such as my students, acquaintances, and work-related colleagues,

Here I’m going to take WhatsApp as my example, because that’s the app that I’m most frequently using

  • I can’t post a WhatsApp status to everyone, there are in my contact list who are acquaintances, some are my students, some are my colleagues, some are my seniors, and some with who I worked on different projects and businesses.
  • I can change who can see my WhatsApp status from one status to another, but that would be a very painful process, I will have to go through hundreds of contacts and painfully add and remove one at a time.
  • If I were on Facebook, I’d have to go through the painful process of creating friend lists and adding people to them, and keeping them updated. I will have to face the same situation that I had on WhatsApp.
  • I can’t share on my Instagram page, because I only use it to share my indie photographs, and not the audience is there not to view my personal life.
  • So how can I easily share the things I want to share, only with the people I want to share with? By easily I mean seamlessly not going through all the hassles. I’m sure there are people like me who are out there with the same problem.

I have one option, which is to create a group, but it will be difficult to manage so many groups, another option is to create a broadcast list on WhatsApp.

But none of these options make any practical sense, nearly two decades of mainstream existence, social networking has still failed to create a way to seamlessly share content between the different groups of people who are most relevant to the content being shared.

The Google circles came close to creating a way of sharing content with different circles, but sadly with the death of Google plus the concept was never adopted by anyone else. (I still remember asking my friends to sign up for Google plus, telling them it’s the next big thing in social networking).

One idea that comes to my mind is creating a Google circles experience on WhatsApp. Instead of one status box, there will be several status boxes – the rings of sharing.

Rings (circles) for different groups will appear when you click on the status circle on WhatsApp

The user will tap on the status button as usual. But instead of going straight on to selecting the video or image you want to upload, several rings will come down. And users will add the image, video, or text to the most relevant ring.

The users will be able to create new rings, add or remove participants from rings, or completely delete rings as necessary. And everything added to a ring will only be there for 24 hours just like a WhatsApp status, and the people who are viewing the content will not notice anything different.

Maybe this is an anti-pattern on social networks that want to get maximum reach as possible. That may be the reason no one has made something similar to google circles for easily sharing content between different groups, and more effort is put into algorithms to get generate maximum views.

The above example was something that came to my mind off the top of my mind, so please don’t criticize me for not providing an ideal solution, it is not perfect. The bottom line is no one has made sharing content between different groups, and there is an opportunity for someone to find a better solution for seamless sharing.