No arguments on any of these points. You are right about everything. As of Monday morning, the Zeus River social media strategy will include these points:
* Be everywhere you need to be: All social media sites are valid marketing channels.
* Content is king: Don't pollute any channels with garbage.
* Social media is still permission marketing: People who have followed you have opted in to your updates.
* Brands are human: If they talk to you, talk back because they want to interact with you.HOWEVER
I've figured out why I've spent an inordinate amount of time focused on this issue. It has nothing to do with the professional ramifications of Zeus River flooding people's news feed (although on Friday, that is what we focused on). The point of sharing this post with you was to highlight something much more personal. It deals with identity.
One of the reasons I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook anymore has little to do with being considerate of other people's feed. It deals with the increasing chasm that exists between what we know Facebook is doing with our data, and what we are choosing to share with our friends. As that gap increases, Facebook wins - and individuals like you and me lose. There was a time when my browser was made by a non-profit (Firefox), my content was an entirely open standard (HTML), my knowledge base was a non-profit (Wikipedia) and my content consumption mechanism was a free standard (RSS). Lately, I seem to have lost that space. My browser is either Chrome or Android, my email is through Gmail, my knowledge base is Google+ and my content distribution and consumption tool is Facebook or Twitter. These are all privately-owned corporations. They slice and dice our profile information, our habits and our personalities. None of our current social networks are truly
free. They are freemium models. We all pay for the service by filling out our profile pages, generating content, browsing to our favourite Facebook Fan pages and 'liking' everything. The receipt for these costs is buried in a terms of service/usage agreement that no one reads or understands, including me.
Facebook's mission is very clear: they want to be an identity platform that figures out who you are, and serves you ads that caters to that identity. This is great for better targeting of more consumerism (better service, better music, better restaurants, etc.). But think about what happens once they achieve the goal of figuring out everything about who we are. How do we protect our identities from being sold to the highest bidder? It is fine when Facebook is selling aggregate info to Louis Vuitton about females who use the word "shopping" in their status updates. It's another thing altogether when Facebook sells info about every person in the U.S. to the government in China.
Wait. I know, I know. This sounds like a conspiracy theory, right? Or maybe, as +Ritika Goel
often tells me, I'm being extremist and taking things to an illogical end point. But this doesn't feel illogical to me. Right now, Mark Zuckerberg has lots of control over how much corporations are allowed to mine his data. But when Facebook IPO's, Zuckerberg will lose much of his influence. This is inevitable in any public corporation. Facebook will become a multi-national entity, and its shareholders will begin demanding higher returns. Right now, we can still walk away from Facebook but what if it becomes pervasive throughout the web? What if every single new web app that you sign up is no longer a "username/password" combination, but just a simple Facebook button that you click to log in? We're only a few years away from that.
I think deep down inside, this is why I'm supporting Google+. Not because I support Google - they are no different than Facebook, despite their atrocious PR attempt at being different due to a "Data Liberation" project. It's because any alternative that keeps me from getting locked into one network is better than nothing at all. Eventually, I'll get out of Google+ too. Like many others, I was really looking forward to Diaspora, the supposedly open-source, non-profit social network. I hope one day someone will build a viable, truly "free" alternative. The irony is, I'd be happy to pay a fee every month to keep it alive.
On Friday, you convinced me that corporations can use Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to their advantage. Today, I am trying to convince you of the inverse: Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are trying to use their advantages to make us all corporations. Only our personal, socially conscious rights - not our rights as corporations - are in jeopardy.