Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Online Social Entrapment
How many words can you come up with to illustrate the very nature of Facebook’s future intent and how it will affect your life? Why do I think this and why do I want to buy and island in a huge lake and invite my close friends for dinner and a spot of fishing?
I am no great user of Facebook, its unnecessarily complicated, seems to be layered with companies wanting me to give them my details and replete with endless people posting information and details of no consequence to anyone, except the party from the night before or some family and friends photos. Add a means of contacting all your mates for the night out, what type of music, movies and uninteresting facts you know and that’s about the limit of the Facebook as far as I and most of my friends can see. I don’t think we are unusual.
So why have so many people signed up to FB and why is it so popular, clearly “being in touch” is really, really, important to lots of people!
Text messaging also turned out to be a runaway success as a means of “constant communication”, now down by as much as 25% in certain countries as “social networks” develop. Email use is now considered to be old hat, but still used in business on a massive scale. Chat is always in use on many platforms and means again, we are always in touch!
The terrestrial equivalents of moving to the cities, breakfast meetings for networking, socially selective groups, The Masons, football matches, concerts and endless social groups, does show that humans tend to be very social animals.
So why am I so irritated by the whole social, global communications development and why are so many of my friends the same and now un-subscribing or have never joined up.
It’s certainly a generation thing, I’m past the age of 50, but still run a business that relies on the net and have to try and understand the logic and emotive reasons why and how people use these new channels. My kids think I’m just old and incapable, but of their 500 “friends” each they only actually speak to about 7 or 8 and only regularly see about 3 or 4. My friends only want real friends.
Life has a habit of getting more complex and responsibilities accrue. There is less time to worry about what you missed last night and more time to worry about the baby crying or how to pay for the car service. Facebook is still a way to see what everybody else is doing, but the social structure of lives changes quite dynamically as we get older and the importance of certain parts of life dim significantly. So the site is again useful for catching up on what you may be missing, posting the kids pictures and “staying in touch”, but the large number of “friends” is slowly dropping off.
So we have a platform for distant transfer of information and a means of staying in touch and organising parties! Why the big fuss? FB did it better and at the right time has gone public. Enter your worst nightmare, shareholder influence. It had to happen; no investors were going to allow it to stay as a global hobby! This event will be like a swarm of mosquitos around a swamp at dusk in the tropics and you won’t be allowed a tent or repellent. Already I have heard my young bucks saying how irritated they were about video signups, more ads and stuff that gets in the way of their party analysis, picture posting and unintelligible comments.
Have you ever looked up the word “Insidious” it’s an adjective and described in an online dictionary as:-
1. Intended to entrap or beguile.
2. Stealthily treacherous or deceitful.
3. Operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect.
For a long time FB has been accruing huge amounts of data on individuals and most are happy to give it away with little care to its use of how it may affect their future. If somebody walked up to your front door and asked you if you would like the use of a mobile phone for a year free of charge, you’d probably think it was good deal. But if they asked in return that they could listen to all of your calls, ask you to complete a form on the music and movies you like and where you shop, you may think this very suspicious. Add to this that just once a week they would like to have a quick look around your house and rummage in your draws. Oh and by the way, they will also own all the photos and information they come across and copyright laws are excluded!
Where is this social steamroller going? A long way into the future, but possibly not as far as they think or as published on the prospectus. This is now all about human nature, privacy and shareholders! Who will win?
I can accept the social nature of humans, but the older you get the more you realise that less is more and quality not quantity is paramount to life’s enjoyment. This indicates a natural decline and a need to have a feed from the bottom age scale up continuously. Like soldiers, the young have no cares and will live forever, so what happens now is not important in 30 years! No doubt FB will be used for communication still, but privacy becomes more important as life’s experiences are encountered and secrets held. Combine this with the expected increase in advertising required to satisfy shareholders and you end up with an advertiser’s nightmare, “the mental ad block”. I and the rest of family never, ever click on ads, just because they are ads and we also know how well we are targeted, but it’s a game. Spot the ad! The more of these that interfere with our social interaction the less inclined we are to socially interact on the platform.
Should we worry about the data held online by Facebook or other Social networks? The answer has to be Yes and No. Yes, if there is anything damming! Already employers seek out prospective employees; I use the net to research clients quite effectively! So already your actions online affect your future! No, if it’s inconsequential nonsense, but even nonsense holds data and makes you a prospective advertising target, online, offline, through FB or the companies it sells data to.
The photos posted on FB will be stored and archived for years and if the net is to be believed, the copyright lies with FB! So if you want those photos from 20 years ago, you may end up needing to pay for them at some point. Best save them offline of on the cloud elsewhere as well. They are memories, which is all that is left after a long life. Some may say they are also evidence!
The recent IPO is a line in the sand; no longer can the social development happen without some form of focus on the revenue. So the question is are social environments easy to monetise? They are almost certainly not easy, as people are not actively seeking products to purchase (aka Google Adwords). They are just suitable candidates. The ads are extremely well targeted however and clearly based on my submission of information and use of FB. I know this is the case however so I won’t click on them! Plus I’m not looking at that particular time, so timing is critical.
I’m sure I’m not unique in my thoughts on privacy but I feel privacy is important in life. It’s a genetic trait, developed by social interaction at an early age. The very nature of FB and the way the online world works however reduces your privacy unknowingly. How many times have you clicked “I agree to the terms and conditions” without even reading them? They could actually say anything and probably do!
Second Life is an interesting version of social networking in a virtual world, where nobody is what they seem! Why would people act like this and want to be anonymous in a fantasy world? With over 20 million registered accounts and 50,000 concurrent hours it did see a big take up. A fantasy world is a great idea, science fiction you can experience with others and anonymously. OK it’s a game, but if you have tried it, then it’s quite scary!
This would illustrate that there are a subset of people who like this version of privacy online and would like to be somebody else. There are many people who are not who they seem or who they actually are. I am a member of a group who are in litigation with a property developer and 25% of the group are almost certainly developer’s plants to find out what is going on. So now privacy becomes even more important!
No single person shows there entire personality to anybody or everybody, people attempt to portray the image they want others to see, the younger you are the more likely you are to want to conform and to be something you aren’t, so is all the data correct? Thus “Second Life Syndrome” is global and stretches across all nations. Even now new phone apps are tapping into your information with a view to allowing you to speak, meet, text or FB with people in close proximity to you, you have never met! As business person, I can see this as an advantage at a conference of likeminded people for example, but even here, if you have no idea of who this person is then are they grooming you for other reasons. 99% of people you meet in a social environment probably drop off your life radar quickly, so is this wasting time? We can of course see this as the ultimate dating app! The data available online for each person then may just become slightly less accurate! S
Stretch the privacy and data availability further and you can see how pervasive this may be. API’s made available to programmers can tap into data and can create apps that manipulate you and your friends with a view to generating income. Add some photos, link them to accounts and businesses walk away with millions. Throw in a few social psychologists and Darren Brown and you stand no chance as you are used to line the pockets of the social behemoth.
Where is it all going? With mobile developments, apps, and other media, then the opportunity to put that advert in front of you increases. Each screen only has a certain amount of space available and this means the big brands will have the budgets, but FB only has a limited screen size and opportunity, so expect to see you own space shrink and the ad space increase! Really good creative ad companies will be in great demand and the app developers with a vision will do well.
No doubt a search engine based on your data will be considered and of course the ubiquitous move into hardware! This all depends on the FB brand and its changing face (no pun intended). If any of the film “Social Network” is to be believed then the combination of Mark Zuckerberg, the fund managers and shareholders will be something to watch. 22% down so far, so not too bad!
As the front page of FB says: “It’s free and always will be” Really? Payment takes many forms.
Faceidious.com (Yep I registered it this morning).