Friday 21 January 2011

Mark Zuckerberg no longer a social norm

A few days ago Mark Zuckerberg was offered another podium at San Francisco's Crunchie Awards, where he dared to state that privacy was no longer a social norm
"People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people," he said. "That social norm is just something that has evolved over time."
Be that as it may, it is the people's choice to do so if they wish to do so. And knowing me, you know I'm not taken aside by general suggestimations and consultancy speak. When Mark says "people", I wonder: which people, how many people, where, when, why?

Are we talking seniles here, kiddies, US, Asian, Latin, European? What kind of information do they want to share more, and of course, what kind do they want to share less?
After all, it is clear that not everyone is publishing nude pictures of themselves for the world to see, or their bank account information, or the passwords to all their apps

So, Mark, can you be a bit more precise please? Well not exactly, here's his second thoughts on this:
"A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they've built," he said. "Doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do.
"But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner's mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it."
Well Mark, did you have a poll among your users back then to figure out how they feel about it? Better yet, how many asked for this change? Did even anyone ask for this?

Not. Let me run it by you again: Facebook is a great success, and suffering from it. Facebook is a walled, cosy and fancy, modern BBS where people just have such a good time that they don't get out much, if any at all

So, early 2009, Facebook introduced a Like button. April 2010, Facebook pushed the web to share their Like button so Facebook users could also label content outside of Facebook. I just yesterday decided to put a Like button on my posts, to see how many Likes that'll get me. I'm not on Facebook myself, never have and never will, but let's see how many Likes I get - I wrote a post about that a while ago, showing that the Like-to-ReTweet ratio is 15% - meaning that on any given post (I used 20 sequential posts from Mashable, and 20 from Techcrunch) there are more than 6 times as many ReTweets than there are Likes and Shares combined

Given the fact that there are 4 times as many Facebook users as there are Twitter users, that would roughly mean that Twitter users "get out there and share" 25 times as much as Facebook users - apart from that, they stay inside the walled Facebook silo

Mark knows that. He knows that Facebook people don't get out much - yet he has to monetise on them. So, like we say in the Netherlands: "If Moses doesn't come to the mountain, the mountain will have to come to Moses".
By lowering the Facebook walls, Mark hopes to lure in the advertisers. Make private data public, so the advertisers can better profile and target the Facebook users

Does Mark care about Facebook users? Not a bit. I personally believe that Mark is caught in the crossfire, and giving in. Mark is the CEO, but acts as a CFO on behalf of the advertisers and marketeers ravaging his user base

Let's not trust Mark any longer to speak as CEO on behalf of his users. Let's trust he speaks as CFO, speaking on behalf of the VC's and loansharks monetising his company

Mark, you're no longer the social norm - and never have been, really

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