I am very flattered and humbled to be asked to write here… especially about privacy, the grand-prize winning idea I submitted for the Spin Sucks 9 Marketing Trends webinar contest.
I view social media as a revolution in interpersonal communication technology. Notice the word marketing is not in that statement. The current platforms were created to connect people to people and, based on current architecture, have enabled marketing to invade our personal space.
Note that no one ever asked us, the people, our thoughts on marketing, privacy, or control of our private communications among friends. When you call someone on the phone are you OK if others listen in? Or read your personal email? No, you would get a gun and fix that problem!
I run a Facebook page for a client. More than 75 percent of the Fans have 100 percent private profiles. The people at the forefront of social media have about the same percentage of completely private profiles. When Pete Cashmore of Mashable wrote that privacy is dead, he lost all his credibility.
Of course this benefits Facebook and Mashable. But does it benefit you? Were you asked? The people have spoken. I believe eventually we will be in complete control of how we communicate, the platforms, the privacy, everything, and it will be integrated into all sorts of devices in simple intuitive ways. And that will start with 2011.
Great new examples emerging:
Diaspora. This new network wants you to have control of all your data. You can communicate to your Twitter and Facebook friends, but all your data is yours.
Path. This new technology allows small networks of 50 people so you do not have to broadcast to the world.
Twitsper. This allows you to send group DMs. I can actually send private messages to more than one person at a time.
Imagine being able to share in all sorts of ways privately when we wish it to be. Social media marketing could become completely different. Viral will still be possible, but it will take better content and more leg work. There might be a dearth of public data, potentially ruining business models based on analytics and social media marketing. What about PR? What if the majority of social content is not public for brands to monitor sentiment?
Current business models were chosen based on exploiting our personal connections and activities for brand marketing purposes. But who wouldn’t pay a few dollars a month for great technology and control? Look for hybrid subscription models where you choose whether to pay for no ads, or use free with ads. Hootsuite just rolled out a premium account for $5.99 per month that would remove sponsored Tweets from your feed. It will be interesting to see how many sign up.
Howie Goldfarb is president and CEO of Sky Pulse Media, an agency focused on helping clients achieve outsized results in measurable bottom-line-impacting ways. He had a 14-year career in direct B2B sales before deciding to lighten up his dreary work life and move into advertising.
Editor’s note: Howie Goldfarb is the grand-prize winner of our 9 Marketing Trends for 2011 contest, in which we asked readers to submit the ninth trend for our upcoming webinar of the same name, which will be held on December 15. (It’s not too late to sign up!) The above thoughts are about his submitted trend, user control. In the webinar, we will discuss how to adjust your business to leverage all nine trends.