Facebook just ended the age of innocence for the social web

Or maybe the age of ignorance, or blind trust. Any way you look at it, the social web as we know it is over. They went and did what was within their power to do, but we sort of pretended they would not. They took steps to formalize our personal banter into marketing data. It’s like the last three years have been a giant marketing survey and suddenly the catalogs are going to start filling our mailboxes. And they will be earily targeted.

There is a fine line between pushing the envelope and collapsing your business. Many sites just die because they could not keep up with the trends, they lost touch with their audience, or they just stop evolving and become uninteresting.

I cant think of many examples of sites that have gone under due to getting greedy like facebook. I think their confuse and control tactics will work in the end. I dont like the way they are going about it. I don’t know if i am ready for the web they are in a position to create. A semantically rich web experience based on stuff i implicitly feed the machine feels uncomfortable.

The days of ‘innocent’ social networking are over. This is a business now and facebook is moving ahead to the future. They are saying ‘you are either with us, or against us.’ they will do what they wish with their 400 million users and count on our ability to forgive companies who go a little too far. They certainly are not resting on their laurels. They are trying to push the social web forward. But, i cant help but feel lured into their web.

Maybe someday facebook’s definition of transparency will become the norm. Heck, who knew people would share all of their credit card purchases with the world? We’ve come a long way and people have been having a grand time tracking personal stats and openly bonding with friends new and old. But it has all been done with a certain assumption of control. That control is disappearing (or being exposed as the mirage that it was) and i dont think the web world is ready for that. There will be some fallout coming. There will be a shift in usage patterns. It wont be the end of the social web. But the social web as we know it is over.

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One thought on “Facebook just ended the age of innocence for the social web

  1. I look at what Apple has done with the upcoming iAds release and these latest privacy updates from FB and it’s obvious which of the two companies has best pulled the wool over our eyes. FB is taking the approach of “I don’t care, where else are you and your 200 friends going to go?” while Apple on the other hand is saying “look at these really awesome and interactive games(ads) you can play with!” Both are just trying to make $ off of their huge user base but Apple at least took the time to think about how to make it enjoyable (and print their own $ in the process)

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