Okay, so that’s not true. As far as I can tell, Facebook doesn’t care one way or the other about Girl Scout cookies. However, if the recent surge of dialogue revolving Facebook’s changes to privacy is anything close to reality, one could assume that Facebook has signed a deal with the devil. To put it simply people are angry with Facebook. Many of Facebook’s new critics sound like a heartbroken teenager who has been cheated on. The talk of betrayal runs rampant through most of the criticizing blog post and comments. Most are asking why would Facebook betray us?
To all those that feel betrayed by Facebook it’s important that you understand one thing:
It’s your own damn fault.
Since when did we think it was okay to trust any one company with all of the personal details and information about our life? Since when did people start to develop real relationships with corporations based on trust and respect? Social media has fooled us into believing that companies can participate with their users in a transparent and authentic way. But in reality every company has an agenda that it must pursue. Every company’s chief motive is its own survival and if that means exploiting their customers contributions then they will do it.
The magic of social media marketing is that for the first time it gives corporations the ability to be more authentic than any other time in history. For example Facebook could have avoided most of the media backlash by simply being transparent about their intentions from the beginning. The tag line could have read, “Join Facebook, where we will collect information about your life and share with the world.” Sure they wouldn’t have as many users with that tag line but in the end they would be executing real authenticity.
The lesson for users:
Don’t assume that corporations engaging in social media have the best intentions just because they’re utilizing a trendy feel-good medium to engage you. You should exercise the same amount of caution engaging them that you would when you engage companies off the Internet. In other words Facebook, Google, MySpace, Twitter and all of the other companies online are not your friends. Their primary objective is to make money not to build trust. Trust, authenticity, and all of the other feel good marketing buzzwords are tools to open your wallet and your guarded privacy.
The lesson for marketers:
State your intentions in crystal-clear language at the beginning. And, throughout the company’s development reiterate those intentions on a regular basis. Make sure that your users are well aware that your primary objective is your own survival. Make sure they understand that if needed you will use their contributions for your own profit. In doing so you will only attract users that truly believe in what you’re doing and will be more likely to contribute to your success.
Now, that we have gotten that out of the way, everyone needs to relax and have a Samoas!