Personal tools

Casual Privacy

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After uploading an image to Facebook, I can invite someone to view it at a custom URL.


When people post content or discover it online they sometimes like to invite other people to view it. This can be done with a Send This interface but in some cases the resource isn't inherently viewable to anyone without an explicit invitation.


Provide users with an Invite to See option after they have posted content, uploaded resources, or installed an application.

They aren't really needed for public resources that can be shared easily with a Bookmarklet or Share This widget.


Generate a unique custom link for the content and give users an option to copy and paste it into an ordinary email message or to send it automatically with a Send This interface.

Provide a form of temporary or limited access for the recipient of the custom url.

When a member attempts to send a link for a photo (or video) to a person who does not inherently have permission to view it (because it's private or because it's viewable only by members of a group - in Flickr's case, friend or family - that person does not belong to, Flickr automatically generates a Guest Pass.

Optionally provide boilerplate invitation copy that the user may customize.

If the recipient follows the offered link back to your site, remind them once there that they are a guest and may be seeing content not otherwise viewable.

Flickr appends a reminder message to the page accessed via the custom link as well as to any subsequent pages the recipient visits.


A custom link that gives limited access to a direct recipient using Casual Privacy enables fluid sharing within a system of overlapping publics (Many Publics) that relieves the sender from creating formal groups, configuring privacy settings and granting explicit privileges.

Related Patterns

As Seen On

  • Flickr
  • Facebook

Sources / Similar Patterns in Other Libraries

  • Kellan Elliott-McCrea's Casual Privacy talk at Web 2.0 Expo SF 2008
  • Kellan Elliott-McCrea's Casual Privacy slides from Ignite Web 2.0 Expo:

(is there a mediawiki syntax for embedding media such as these slideshare slides?)