Today’s entry is from Jae Kim, Director of Social Media Products at FaceTime Communications. He’s an avid user of social media, and we always enjoy hearing his thoughts on the latest and greatest in this exciting space.
Chances are you’ve got a Facebook account. If you have an iPhone, Droid, or Blackberry, you’re probably spending a good part of your day updating your status wherever you go. You’re also likely to have about 130 friends that you connect with. Some of them you might know well, while others you may have accepted their friend requests, just to avoid the awkwardness of rejecting them. I know too well. I admit I have done exactly that, to avoid that situation.
People use Facebook to share things, not hide them. And many users think “What’s wrong with letting people see my life story?” They assume that the more visitors they have, the more influence and power they’ll have over their social networks.
Well, that might be true, if you are selling Coca Cola. But if you’re not, you’d want to think twice about sharing intimate details about your significant other with the world, not to mention with your employer or colleagues.
What that means is that I can go to sites like youropenbook.org and search status updates and photos. I can instantly pull up all status updates that contain phone numbers with profile pictures, or whatever you happen to share in your status update. What’s even scarier is that sites like youropenbook.org are built on Facebook’s API. This means any college kid can put together a quick PHP code to access this information.
It’s interesting to note that as recently as a few weeks ago, Facebook allowed even non-Facebook users to see user profiles when following Facebook account links. Today, I noticed that Facebook disabled such access, but profile walls are still accessible if you are logged in to Facebook, even if you are not a friend of the person you searched.
Searching Facebook status updates is not an experiment on Facebook’s part. They intend to open this feature up for wider consumption. In fact, Facebook and Microsoft Bing announced today that Bing will integrate social connections to enhance the search experience. Given Facebook’s deep relationship with Microsoft and Google’s increasing threat of entering the social networking space, this integration is only going to be developed further.
All these developments should alarm marketing managers and their employers. Unless you stay on top of what employees are sharing on Facebook and how they are sharing it, you don’t really know who’s finding what information from whom. Especially for regulated sectors, this need is compounded by regulatory requirements, such as FINRA guidelines.
One bit of good news is that FaceTime has been squarely focusing on these regulatory compliance and archival needs for over a decade. Since the early days of instant messaging, FaceTime has been the leader in providing compliance solutions to 90% of the largest financial institutions in North America.
So watch out. You and your employees’ social lives on Facebook can easily be exposed for the world to see. It’s up to you to clothe yourself and your employees’ online social networking profiles appropriately. Unless, of course, you intend to be an obliging nudist.