4.04.2009

Facebook Will Rule the World By Not Listening to its Existing Customers . . . and I'm OK With That


Yet again in defense of Facebook, I have to agree with tech blogger Scobleizer on this: "Why Facebook Has Never Listened and Why It Definitely Won’t Start Now." Don't forget that FB is, last I checked, voluntary and free. Voluntary as in "if you don't like it, don't use it." Free as in "since there's no such thing as a free lunch, you are paying something, just not money; and you have to decide that what you're giving up is worth what you're getting; and if it's not worth it, then see above."

The glorious thing about free market capitalism is that a business' path to profitability can be (and in fact, by definition almost always is) the same path as what provides us end users with the best product or service possible. The more useful/easy/frictionless/obvious FB becomes, the more money Zuckerberg and company stand to make. Hence Scobleizer's sushi example, or my prediction in 2007 that people would be able to drag and drop items from our virtual bookshelves and kitchens into a shopping cart.

Do we need to mind the shop when it comes to issues of privacy and sensitive information? Yes, but (Beacon fiasco notwithstanding) that's an individual's decision, not Facebook's: no one is forcing me to list my phone number or post that picture from last Friday night (or, for that matter, get myself drunk in the first place so that someone else could take my picture and post it on FB).

So maybe I'm being naive or misguided or heartless, but I am eager to head into this brave new world in which information is available when and how I want it: spatially sensitive, targeted to my situation, and with the wisdom of the crowds (or at least my "friends") to guide me along the way. If it's not Zuckerberg and company, it'll be someone else; so, hit or miss, kudos to him for taking a big swing.
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