If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I tend to mock Facebook relentlessly. This mockery is largely tounge-in-cheek and tends to piggyback off commentary from tech bloggers and other non-marketing bloggers who closely examine the technological development, ethical implications and overall behavioural trends (usually identified by designers and UX experts) during the course of FB’s maturation cycle.
The one most vociferous contention I’ve raised to date against FB is in reaction to a ReadWriteWeb post upon the launch of ‘Places’ and how FB’s overall agenda is to quite literally own the social web and all forms of data it can harvest.
To me, this notion of ‘sole ownership’ to a universal social graph is highly presumptuous and reeks of hubris and arrogance. This intentional agenda not only stifles competition and innovation but also, and perhaps more importantly, automatically predicates Facebook as the singular, iconic social channel and data source from which the social media revolution is meant to be fashioned and is intended to evolve going forward.
For most, when they see social media, the immediate association will likely be Facebook. Heck, and never mind the movie, the overdriven hype alone (good or bad) has already fast-tracked the social site to iconic status. But again, here is where opinion based on popular vote appears to dominantly define what the perceived norm is or should be. For some, if not a few, they know better.
In principle—and I do hope this is the last post I am compelled to write on the subject—it’s not FB itself that I personally find appalling. And I can’t speak for (nor would I choose to criticize) the characters of Zuck or any of his developers or teams. But I do find its privacy-related blunders to be entirely avoidable. It’s no wonder FB gets such a bad rap when it comes to this.
Nice try, but not quite
A couple of thoughts on FB you’ve probably seen articulated before but deserves repeating:
- Facebook’s “collective wisdom” is too fragmented to be semantically useful at this point. Maybe FB does have a shot at developing a function as a recommendation source over time. But look at your “friends” on FB now. Do they all provide meaningful feedback and information to you on a regular basis? Do your interactions really influence how you behave offline? Is the “collective wisdom” of their Likes, comments, recommendations really going to sway how you make a decision about what movie you plan to see next, how you’ll go about exploring your career path or what mobile device you’ll choose to buy?
- Facebook’s design is not conducive for business collaboration. We know the successful impact of Facebook on B2C brand campaigns (e.g., Coke). Targeted brand loyalty campaigns offering cachet and easy access by the broader public is a winning formula no matter what platform you choose to carry it out. So achieving critical mass in participation is easy. Add gaming techniques to the mix and sure, “Everybody Loves Facebook”. All this activity is driven and influenced through the day-to-day random socializing you do on FB. It cearly addresses your personal interests as a consumer. And while I respect marketers who are in this space, I’m not convinced that their sensitivity to jabs taken at FB are meant as being protective of how FB could be leveraged as a business collaboration tool, nor the technical programming that makes FB its own, dare I say, kettle of fish.
Now a certain Twitter follow—who happens to be a Forrester analyst although this post has nothing to do with him personally—notes three reasons to stop demonizing Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. What do you think?
“Demonizing”, “fearmongering”, and some pretty dramatic statements to Facebook’s defense left me wondering if I should be sympathetic to the “stop being mean to FB” propa— er messaging. There are at least three separate statements on said post that I find heavily coloured with subjectivity and to which I fail to see strength or substantive value in premise, including:
“Faulting Facebook for getting big and successful through legal and entrepreneurial means is, well, downright un-American.”
Er ya..the world does not revolve on whether or not one’s approach, stand or opinion is un-American (no offense to my American friends). But clearly, when you are writing about social media, you are writing about how it affects the web. Last I checked, the web appears to be something of a global phenomenon.
What about you? Can you say “faceshmook” and hold back a smile?