Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Facebook is free so they can do what they like & we'll stay

Facebook may be in that list of companies that consumers love to hate. They change their policies, users protest, then life goes on. Over and over and over.

Bottom line: Facebook is free to use, it's a major social media network, and let's be honest: it's a great product. I have reconnected with childhood friends and fellow employees from the past not to mention it's a fantastic way to keep up with friends and family. It's intrusive if we allow it to be by revealing too-personal information. Otherwise, a little self-censorship and self-control should keep us safe.

Listed by Jim Kerstetter in as one of the Five Big Tech Stories to watch in 2013, he wrote of Facebook:
Facebook will continue to tick us off and we will continue to love it. Perhaps this is what a difficult love affair looks like: A company upsets its users, they lash out and swear they'll never use the company's product again. The company apologizes (sometimes it says it was just misunderstood), and everyone forgets about it a few days later.

Welcome to Facebook's sometimes dysfunctional relationship with its users. I say "users" rather than "customers" because, as CNET's Nathan Bransford wrote two days ago, Facebook's users are its product. It's real customers are the advertisers. The latest dustup was over what exactly Facebook's Instagram unit could or would do with users' (not customers') photos. Facebook ended its community voting system because of anemic turnout. In a case of cyberlife imitating real life, it seems we like to complain but we don't like to do much about it.

Here's a bet: There will be at least three more of these confrontations in the coming year. Facebook is a publicly traded company now. Wall Street expects growth, and once you've topped 1 billion users, the law of numbers is bound to catch up with you. So Facebook will continue to tweak and sometimes tick off as it searches for more profits. And why shouldn't it? We'll keep coming back.
Yep. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I like Facebook. It puts the "social" in "social media."

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