I was quoted over at Chris Wilson’s Fresh Peel in response to a question he asked: what companies really listened in 2007? Facebook cropped up a few times, and while it can be argued they were forced to listen, the outcry against Beacon paled in comparison to the dissent that rose up against the news feed when it was first introduced. Back then Facebook hadn’t become the media darling it is now, and cries of injustice on a still-emerging social networking site were treated with the same gravitas that gets associated with stories about property being stolen in virtual worlds. Were it still operating in that same void, personally I think it would have gotten far less attention and been able to go about it’s business. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for (continued) discussion, personally if advertising can be distilled down only to things I am actually interested in, then maybe it simply becomes information, and that is fine by me.
There’s more to this though. Online strategies are increasingly being formed not around what is right, but what is least wrong. The idea itself is nothing new and gets discussed exhaustively in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan (shameless plug: I’m part way through and thoroughly enjoying it). It’s something I encounter in my day job too; the fact of the matter is if you’re working in this space you are almost always trying new things. Can I say for certain that “Idea X” is right? No, but I can tell you it is less wrong than “Idea Y”.
My thoughts here are well and truly still forming, but the beauty of this medium is you’re allowed to share them before they become concrete, in the hope they become something better. At the risk of going out on a limb, I’m going to say for certain that that is right.