Facebook scrutiny good for everyone

The debate about the backlash against Facebook’s moves into contextual advertising with Beacon doesn’t seem to end. That’s a good thing.

It’s good for marketers and communicators to be thinking of these issues beyond the potential for targeting accurately, and being able to measure everything. We take networking so much for granted, especially the ability to befriend a friend of a friend of a friend, that we could easily muddy social interests with commercial goals.

The problem is, when we start, even inadvertently, sending people in our network things they never asked for or don’t need to know. Like ads. Or how about getting “poked?” I never bargained for being “bitten,” but between these and “cause invitations” and “likeness quizzes” (if you don’t know what I am talking about, I ENVY YOU!) people seem to be spending way too much time –mine- on such Facebook bling.

On other social nets do I have to really be updated the second someone changes his/her profile? Plaxo was a major offender in this area some time ago. It earned the term “Plaxo Spam.” Facebook ought to have known it was tinkering with the underpinnings of the ‘social graph’ when they got into Beacon..

Long before online social nets, the practice of friends befriending people in grocery stores and parking lots gave a bad name to companies like Amway. We have to be careful about putting networking and targeting in the same cocktail shaker. I Googled “Amway and Facebook” and came across a brilliant quote from Robert Scoble. “I will not Amway my Facebook friends.”

No one could have put it better.

Sidebar: I posted this to ValleyPRBlog. It was a hilarious YouTube video poke at the stalking, “poking,” and friending phenomenon.

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