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Master slave relationship

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Business-as-usual has so far demonstrated remarkably little understanding of pretty much anything that’s going on online. And not only little understanding, but also little respect for those of us who made online our home, forged friendships and other relationships, built profiles and got on with writing, sharing, creating and generally having fun. I am coming to the conclusion that the reason why businesses are alien to the online world is deep seated. Many of the blogging, twittering, networking people have also jobs. Not like me but in serious offices, with systems and processes, bosses and colleagues. The very same companies that are paying good money to consultants and agencies to help them get a slice of the online ’social’ action. And yet the business applications we have seen so far of our ‘beloved’ social media are really scraping the bottom of the barrel (with respect to those who put them together) compared to the improvements and change they could unleash. And I agree with Euan on Enterprise 2.0 whilst we are at it… change happens through people behaviours, not projects and platforms.

It is not merely a matter of getting familiar with the tools and finding some justification for using them in business. It is their warped belief of where they belong in the universe that makes companies’ efforts online stand out like a sore thumb.

They bring their dysfunctional master-slave worldview with them and assume that a) we should be grateful for their very existence, services, products (see all the faux social networks being created by agencies and brands); b) we shall eagerly pounce on any offerings that they hype to be ‘for our benefit or entertainment’ (ditto plus various viral campaigns and faux blogs); c) we shall pay good money to them and only them, even if we can get it free elsewhere (news, movies and music etc); d) answer surveys, fill in questionnaires, share our information, profile, contacts (media websites, any new social network etc).

It is the last one that many of us have fallen prey to, most recently with the Quetchup sting… I got a few invitations from people I trust and was going to look into it. As I am travelling abroad with limited connection I couldn’t do it immediately, so I got to see Hugh’s apology for unwittingly spamming his contacts. Ugh.

I have known the horrible realisation that the application you were leisurely checking out – to keep up with the new developments, to flame it later on your blog, to discover the new must-have, whatever – suddenly turns you into a shameful spammer. I got stung by goowy and I was livid too. I remember breaking out in cold sweat recalling all the contacts I had in my email account who’d have little tolerance for such spam.

The fallout was contained in the end, mainly because my clients’s email filters managed to catch the spam invitations. Also, kudos to the CEO who apologised in the comments, understanding the reasons for my outrage. It was such a long time ago (January 2006) so you’d think that any launching application relying on people sharing their contacts would know better.

But things get worse.. and this is what sparked off my rant at the top of this post.

Everything you say or do on a social network could be fair game to sell to marketers. Rapleaf, based in San Francisco, is building a business on that premise.

Rapleaf sweeps up all the publicly available but sometimes hard-to-get information it can find about you on the Web, via social networks, other sites and, soon to be added, blogs. At the other end of the business, TrustFuse packages information culled from sites in a profile and sells the profile to marketers. All three companies appear to operate within the scope of their stated privacy policies, which say they do “not sell, rent or lease e-mail addresses to third parties.”

And that’s right. Marketers bring TrustFuse their own list of e-mail addresses to buy access to demographic, behavioral and Internet usage data on those people, according to the company’s privacy policy and sales documents.

In effect, TrustFuse is a matching service between the marketers’ e-mail lists and the online behavior of the people on those lists.

So nothing wrong there, right? What a marvellous use of all the information available about your customers online! Wasn’t it what all the blogging and social media consultants have been harping on about for years? Listen to your customers! Learn about us first…

Yeah, but not the way a master learns about his slave.

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5 Responses to “Master slave relationship”

  1. Johnnie Moore's Weblog
    on Sep 4th, 2007
    @ 10:43 am

    Consulting 2.0 cont….

    I like a good rant so I enjoyed Adriana’s post: MasterSlave Relationship. It is the a warped belief of where they belong in the universe that makes companies’ efforts online stand out like a sore thumb. They bring their dysfunctional……

  2. alan herrell - the head lemur
    on Sep 5th, 2007
    @ 15:32 pm

    Quechup The Clap of FaceBook

  3. Rapleaf Blog » Start-ups, privacy, and being wrong
    on Sep 7th, 2007
    @ 3:13 am

    [...] Adriana Lukas ( [...]

  4. Jackie Danicki » Quote to remember
    on Sep 11th, 2007
    @ 6:47 am

    [...] on the master/slave worldview of too many companies (and yes, we are each still STRIDENTLY capitalist, thanks!) Posted by Jackie Danicki [...]

  5. Useful links for 2007-09-15 | Gino Cosme
    on Sep 16th, 2007
    @ 0:35 am

    [...] Master slave relationship – Adriana rants wisely about how enterprise 2.0, social media applications, and online development within business has a strong relationship with its people and their attitudes. [...]

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