Data is the heart of social media. Without the ability to solicit feedback, orders, customer service requests or usage information, it becomes dramatically more difficult to realize a return on your social-media investment. Your followers must be comfortable sharing information online. The problem is that they’re usually not just sharing that information with you.
How can we make sure our customers continue to be willing to share information with us? Steve Lohr has an excellent long-view piece on the subject, featured in today’s SmartBrief on Social Media, suggesting that it’s no longer enough for companies to simply disclose information and let consumers decide what to do with it. Lohr argues that the level of complexity and the sheer amount of data we’re sharing make an informed-consent model totally unworkable.
Lohr suggests that we need to turn to either more regulation or tougher tools. Regulation has its place, but as last week’s privacy decision in Italy shows, it’s easy to swing too far in that direction. Some tools, such as anonymous browsing capabilities, show promise. Others, such as an alert feature that pops up every time you share data, sound like they would be more annoying that helpful. What are the alternatives?
Should we be looking for better ways to anonimize data? Should try to refocus our efforts on finding ways to profit from social media that don’t explicitly rely on personal information? Or should we go the Mark Zuckerberg route and try to obliterate the social norms of privacy by pretending they’re already irrelevant?
How should we be working to address consumer privacy worries? Are you concerned that increased user caution will hurt your ability to leverage social platforms? Anybody want to defend the user-choice model?
Image credit, enot-poloskun, via iStock