From the South by Southwest (SXSW) convention in Austin, Texas this past weekend comes some interesting Google chatter as researcher and general social media expert Danah Boyd explained where Google Buzz went wrong and left its user base scratching its heads. Here’s what she had to say, and what services providers can learn.
GigaOM has the full scoop from Boyd’s keynote, but the general gist is this: by confusing and obfuscating privacy settings, Buzz totally alienated its users by finding the social media equivalent of the “uncanny valley” that keeps people from fully accepting a lifelike CGI human as real. Which is to say, Buzz’s users were never quite sure where their public information began and their private information stopped.
Moreover, Boyd notes that Google made a misstep in making the traditionally-private Gmail experience the launchpad for the very public Buzz experiment. As she notes, the best solution from a coding and development standpoint isn’t always the best solution for real life.
Boyd also took Google and Facebook both to task for indexing, aggregating, and using customer data in ways they never intended - if a user has to opt-out of making their personal information more public than public, they’re endangering the safety and security of their users.
So what can MSPs take from all this? Simple. Everything from Google Apps all the way to Microsoft Outlook 2010 supports or will support some kind of social networking. Just make sure that if you choose to leverage those options, you make sure your end users are comfortable not only with the technology, but with the information they’re throwing out there.
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