Social Websites Cracking Under Corporate Pressures
Seems these days that the more successful the Web 2.0 company is the more like they are to put their collective feet into it at every turn.
Whether it’s Facebook’s continued Faceplants on what should be relatively simple and easy decisions to make or not make or community sites like DIGG that are having a difficult time convincing visitors and users alike that it (DIGG) is really a user-driven, community website.
DIGG recently admitted after months of denial that they did employ an auto-bury figure which automatically buries content which DIGG management deem objectionable. Doesn’t sound very social or user-driven now does it.
I think was is happening is these social experiments are suffering under the weight of white shirts and ties. Sure the public heads of these companies appear in public like clones of that annoying Mac guy but in reality these websites are businesses. As businesses they MUST make money and more importantly they MUST avoid litigation. Here in lies the problem.
User-driven social experiments like DIGG and Facebook are only successful as long as they are honest with their users. Once users start to feel like they are not in control or that their interests are merely being pandered to they will abandon them. En mass. What sites like DIGG, Facebook and MySpace will have to learn is eventually the users will call the shots not baord of directors.
It now appears that sites like DIGG and Facebook are increasingly being managed by lawyers, risk managers and accountants which would explain recent public stumbles. And while these websites may have enjoyed a free and unrestrained past, they are now struggling to retain that free and loose style (if only in appearance) and not to loose their user base while trying to ensure their corporate under skin doesn’t start flaking off for lack of profit.
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