There have been a lot of comments lately about the changes in the terms of service that Facebook brought forward a couple weeks ago; I am no lawyer but it seems to me there is very little difference on what at the end that language allows Facebook to do with your comments versus what Myspace is allowed to do under their terms of service (but then again, I am no IP lawyer).
However it is my opinion that content is only part of the value that users give to social networks in exchange for those services and features; there are a couple others that I consider very important:
- Attention: one of the most valuable resources in today’s world is your attention; the average number of “marketing messages” varies on the research source you quote but the truth is that they are too many, and we marketers know we are competing with each other to gain the people’s attention. However social networks have your attention; you spend valuable minutes carefully checking what is going on with your friends, causes or groups you care for and a myriad of other activities.
- Your digital bread crumbs: Your activity in social networks generates a very valuable set of data; what things do you care for? Who seems to react when you effect a certain action? Who do you react to and why? Who are you connected with and what is the center of gravity of that connection? These digital bread crumbs are actually golden nuggets for marketers.
So the next time you decide to use a social network think they are not doing you any favor; they are actually gaining your content, your attention and your behavior data in the process and they owe you in exchange the best possible experience they can deliver and a respectful use of all of these assets you are trusting them with.
What do you think?