This week’s readings have reinforced that I am a late adopter. Both heavily discuss the benefits and uses of Twitter, a product that I am still leery of using. I don’t have any particular issue with Twitter; I just have no desire to use it. TV, especially reality TV has really embraced Twitter, and they definitely use it to collect user feedback. The immediate feedback is nice for companies, but I personally find it distracting.
In this week’s reading, Qualman introduced a term called “socialommerce”. Essentially, this is using collected information from social networks to provide a form of reviews or recommendations for products. The examples were interesting, but I feel like there are issues. I have a vast respect for reviewers, but not all people make good reviewers. Steve, in the examples, is choosing to trust the opinions of his friends to make pretty substantial decisions, rather than take some time to do additional research on the other options. Referrals are great, but they should accompany research rather than being blindly followed to save time.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I appreciate my privacy when it comes to online usage. I like to provide reviews to some products, but I would rather put that review up on a related forum rather than connect it to my Facebook profile. I choose not to live my life online through my Facebook page, and I don’t want other people to know my buying history. It isn’t anyone else’s business how much camping equipment I buy each year, or what movies I have purchased. I’m already aware that web pages tailor their banner ads based on the cookies of recently visited sites, and that is intrusive enough to me. I certainly don’t want to share that information with everyone on my friends list. YMMV (your mileage may vary).
Qualman’s prediction of e-books reminds me of movies from the 80’s and 90’s so riddled with product placement that it was distracting. Nonintrusive product placement makes a scene seem more realistic, but some product placement appears too obvious and makes the movie look cheesy. If you have seen Back to the Future, the original Total Recall, or Wayne’s World, you probably know what I am talking about.
It is one thing to have the main character drink from a soda can that is just barely identifiable as a Coke. It is entirely different if he places an order asking for a “crisp and delicious Coca Cola”. This is what Qualman predicts might happen to e-books. The text would feature links to products or services that the reader could click on to find out more. This already occurs in blog posts, and I hope that it doesn’t break into all digital reading. Many people use reading as a way to escape the bombardment of marketing, advertising, and social media, and it would be a shame to see that taken over as well.