Internet Philanthropy: Growing Trees In Your Neighbor’s Garden

Investing in online corporate presence is a good thing and can be well understood; however what I find difficult to understand is the substitution of own online platforms with those owned and run by third parties, predominantly social media companies. This sounds rather philanthropic; this is like growing trees in your neighbor’s garden. Publishing content on Wikipedia is a good thing and can be explained; but channeling content primarily through social media should be treated with caution.

What I find difficult to understand is the substitution of own online platforms with those owned and run by third parties, predominantly social media companies. This sounds rather philanthropic; this is like growing trees in your neighbor’s garden.

Marketing people may still can’t foresee the great risk involved in losing customer engagement control to third parties, something that doesn’t matter today, but will greatly matter in the future. It is important to realize who are the true beneficiaries of the open social media landscape, and more importantly to understand the risk involves in loss of control.

These days it seems that everyone has fallen in the social media trap. Erecting a product “wall” or stretching a service “timeline” takes minutes, if not seconds, before the social media magic builds your fanbase. This essentially includes tens of giant corporations, as well as tens of thousands of small and medium businesses. The trend is obvious, everyone is shifting much of the digital presence investments into their social media at the expense of poorer websites. Today, few are anxious about the loss of important customer insights, such as demographics, navigation pattern, and online consumer behavior, but in the future many will regret that.

No one really knows what the giant digital blackholes will do with all the sucked up data.

It is true that social media, and in particular Facebook, has fostered real identity exposure, something that may sound interesting for businesses, but on the other hand extremely worrying. First, the breach of cloud security is so frequent that makes it less and less worthy to top the headlines.  Second, no one really knows what the giant digital black hole will do with all the sucked up data. One needs little imagination to understand what would happen when information about millions of “fans” fall in the wrong hands, knowing that “the man” is the biggest online security vulnerability.

At least for now I know that companies eager to manage customer experience will struggle to integrate very critical components into their sphere of influence just simply because they have no access to the most precious piece of information. A piece of information that will fuel corporate customer data wars of the next decade.

Image By Flickr Will Deutsch

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