Platforms evolve to harmonize around me – yet the gravity center still remains around my data.
In the current paradigm there are still barriers that prevent such an evolution.
- Providers want to continue and cultivate a siloed digital landscape through proprietary applications that aim to keep me captive in their sites. It is in their interest to keep a strong hold on my accumulated data and not allow its portability. I have an elaborate profile at Amazon and greatly enjoy the refined Amazon recommendation engine. It is based on collaborative filtering that matches my affinities, as expressed in my past purchases and interests> Yet, Amazon will make sure that, although my data are mine, I will not enjoy any of that, once I choose to shop at Barnes and Nobles. My interest is to transcend the golden cage of user stickiness and expand to open ended contextification.
- I still have disjoint profiles and identities. Current profile fragmentation is due to the fact that there is no global contextification architecture that can serve as a universal reference base.
- In various social networks and applications, different tools, choices and varied points of interest create complex interactions. Infrastructures, applications and partial harmonization tools for user side interactions are emerging; interactions are becoming more complex and turned within the sites into interactive activity and conversation points. As a result, in many sites I can express my views and affinities through like, follow, comment, recommend and share with friends buttons, research on-site through comparative shopping links …. But all that does not yield an inclusive harmonious prism that I can capitalize on elsewhere.
3. Blurring of boundaries – where the ecommerce world infiltrates into our social platforms , our social spheres are used as social graphs for marketing purposes, and up to the unilateral attitude of transporting commercial arenas to new social platforms– as is the case with social marketing. Even when social businesses attempt to take a human touch, as Brian Solis points, not all marketers are necessarily intent on a real dialog – where they listen and accommodate as part of a genuine customer service – to which social platforms naturally lend themselves, but rather see us as social consumers targetable in a one way marketing push channel.
Another example of blurring of boundaries, when social spheres become social sales and marketing broadcast platforms, is Facebook marketing, where a social communication platform set for individuals becomes a home and sales arena for retail brands. When Facebook expands from its original social communication and social identity hub and aspires to become my home page that’s one thing, but when it also becomes a marketing and sales arena, its original mission statement Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected no longer reflects that user side affinity. As its business model does not derive directly from its users, Facebook’s loyalty, doubtful to begin with, becomes all the more problematic, due to the nature of such a model. So, while I want portability that will serve me wherever I go, Facebook wants to have it all through its portal. While to me it does not have to spell that Facebook will turn into my department store, to Facebook, on the other hand, it is yet another building block on the way to attempting and “owning” me on the web.
In fact the movements made in this direction transfer the hegemony power struggles to yet another frontier –the anchor for web based interactions – it generates a new war between the Facebooks and Googles around owning the biggest chunk of my digital sum total through their platforms. They woo me to embrace them as my major interaction portal, by adding an integrated intuitive communication platform ( Facebook) or social ingredients to search (Google) Their alterior motive is to facilitate collecting, storing and using my data, as profit making mechanisms. None are trully committed to protect my privacy and would love to come with more creative ways to manipulate my data for their benefit.
So whoever wins – I still stand to lose.
Such solutions do not satisfy my holistic aspiration of an icentered web experience, because although the business models of these companies stem directly from me, they depend on 3rd parties and therefore do not necessarily cater for my needs as a prime consideration. Hence I have every reason to apprehend that I may be manipulated as a tool in the profit making mechanisms -my privacy is breached, my data may be shared without my knowledge and certainly without my consent.
As I aspire for a harmonious, inclusive and dynamic experience, I wish to have the following:
- I want that my future relations with providers be based on liberal and open ended attitudes that foster a free flow and relinquish control. A different culture does not spell loss – it challenges existing paradigms but cultivates free choices based on satisfying connectedness instead of provider based authority.
- Portability – I wish to be able to experience portability of my personal identity, profile and my social sphere between the various providers and social networks that I visit. Too few companies develop or offer open social plug -ins that empower that.
- I want sites to interconnect so my opted portability is made seamless and intuitive
- I want my experiences, choices and awarding options to my friends to share or give, at the tip of my finger, from wherever I am, with whoever I want and around relevant issues.
- I want to have the tools and means to do that and personally calibrate what suits me best.
- I want my data to reside at my side and manage my sharing with providers and friends
- I want companies to empower me, not dictate to me or exploit my data without considering me as direct partners in the food chains created around me.
Harmonization is on its way – but the buttered side of the bread is still reversed.
Only when the bread around my data will be buttered on my side and be shared by me with providers, marketers and advertisers in food chains that see me as a partner to the process – I will truly become the real customer for new platforms that are built for me – and not my data as their anchor point.