Making the World More Open and Connected

- June 3, 2010

The Wall Street Journals’ All Things Digital Technology Conference (D8) held yesterday included an interview with Facebooks’ Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.  Some would say that Mr. Zuckerberg had to sweat out the interview, he actual shed his trademark hoodie, and mostly avoided answering the tough questions concerning privacy from Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.   One thing we did learn was that imprinted on the inside of the infamous hoodie Mr. Zuckerberg wears is the Facebook mission statement, “Making the World More Open and Connected”.

During the interview the opt-out versus opt-in of privacy settings on Facebook was brought up.  I think we all have been caught off guard by Facebooks’ updates and sharing of information we had no intention of making public.  I, like Mr. Mossberg, would prefer to opt-in to new social plug-ins which will share my information across websites.  Additionally, I think a simple opt-in panel is easily accomplished in any programming language and does not create unnecessary friction as Mr. Zuckerberg attempted to base his stance on opt-out versus opt-in.  With regard to privacy settings, Mr. Zuckerberg did say, “We recommend you share only with your friends all your really sensitive stuff.”

The reach of Facebook is impressive, and the dedicated merchants that have set up an e-commerce store on their fan pages are beginning to bloom.  The key to their success is that they are dedicated to the cause and have put in the time and effort to build a following.  These businesses have allocated a marketing budget and resources to monitor the ever-changing privacy rules and to answer their fan’s inquires in a timely fashion.  Running an e-commerce site on a fan page is definitely a dual edged sword that can provide merchants’ with incremental sales, at the expense of having to be quick in response to customer comments or complaints.  It is very easy for an upset consumer to blast away about your goods or services on your wall, which requires the merchant to provide a much higher level of customer service.

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