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The Stalls of Higher Thought

Social Websites Cracking Under Corporate Pressures

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diggdeadSeems 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.

Written by mattliving

February 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm

One Response

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  1. First off, I’d just like to say you’re 100% correct about DIGG. The site has become ‘Power User’ driven, as well some hidden ‘automatic’ agenda’s that are driving front page articles.

    However, you’re very wrong about Facebook. In fact, it was DIGG (who’s usually lying about whatever, since the ‘top articles’ on the front page are Power Users known for their disregard of truth) that lied about Facebook effecting Users and completely owning everything they add the website. DIGG lied, Facebook users cried.

    Think about it like this, have you ever read the disclaimer rights for Microsoft Word? Probably not. According to Microsoft, they own everything you type using MS Word. But it’s not like that. They don’t own your work, just like Facebook doesn’t ‘own’ your stuff on their website. Read the fine lines, not what DIGG has to spin about it.

    The problem with social networking isn’t Facebook or reddit (who’s website is much more user driven), it’s DIGG. When so many people read DIGG articles, yet it’s only a few people who are manipulating words within articles to lie–yet still make the front page–it’s easy to see how their lies can quickly spread false rumors across the Web in just hours.


    February 24, 2009 at 1:03 am

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