As I was tweaking the security settings on my Linked In account I decided to venture over to my Facebook account to take a look at my settings. I rarely go to my own account; it is simply a conduit to my daughter’s on-line life. As I feared, the settings were pretty much wide open. I reset them to the most restrictive I knew how, short of all out annihilation of the account (and loose my connection to my daughter; no way!). It got me to thinking about the evolution of Facebook and the prospects of the new “darling” of Wallstreet really becoming a Microsoft or Google.
A study by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found that consumers have the same negative opinion of social media sites as they do such venerable U.S. institutions as cable providers, airlines and the Internal Revenue Service. Ouch! And as with these other institutions, social media sites are enjoying a honeymoon period because there are few easily available alternatives. But once you have alternatives, goodbye love. Bus ridership is on the rise because of gas prices but also because of “luxury buses” with direct routes between cities. Airline travel gets more complicated. Cable companies are under siege from the streaming internet sites. Have you tried to get a cable problem fixed lately? Not easy.
The bump currently enjoyed by social media sites will be short lived unless they can redefine the experience away from exploitation and more to personal enhancement. Relying on developing a great site for keeping up with your friends while collecting personal data is not enough to meet the impending backlash. And there will be a backlash of consumer sentiment. I bet on the plethora of alternative ways to “connect” with friends becoming the “new” thing.