Thursday, May 17, 2012

Unionize Facebook?

Image by highwaycharlie
With Facebook's IPO looming I find myself asking the question:

Why are Facebook users giving away their content and control of  personal information?

This information is what Facebook uses to make their money - it's the basis of their business model.  So, Facebook users (of which I am one) have decided that the service Facebook provides is worth providing information and content for free (and forfeiting control of that data).

Interesting.  Think about it.  What does that mean?

What if Facebook users decided to stop.  Is it conceivable that users could start charging for the data they provide?  Or, what if Facebook were unionized or became a cooperative, where the people that provide the content (users) are considered part of the business, and be fairly compensated for their data use (and/or pay to use the service).  Facebook provides a service that connects us in ways we never thought possible, but remember, Facebook's customers are the companies they sell advertising and data to, not the users.

So, what would happen if Facebook users unionized, for real?

Looks like someone thought about it a few years ago - doesn't appear much has happened.

More interesting to me is the emergence of the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium - analysis and collective standardization of the new asset class of personal data.

2 comments:

mgmt339 said...

I have wondered something similar for awhile. What do people value about Facebook? The connectivity and the ability to adapt it to their social needs. Some sort of user-centric operating model might be able to competitively provide that at a price point that would attract millions of users. Guess what FB's operating costs seem to be? $1.70/year./user.

Wayne Maceyka said...

I'm curious about what I've heard called "social media fatigue" - FB, twitter, instagram, pinterest, linkedin, path, etc., etc. There's been an expansion of connections, but are we becoming overwhelmed by them? Additionally, what about our online data/identities? Been reading about www.pde.cc and find it fascinating.