But at just the moment it appeared that greed and automation might do permanent damage, there’s change afoot. You saw it in hue and cry over Twitter’s API’s (the way third parties access the site), in the rise of sites like Quora, where real relevance gains credits and spamming has a price, and in a clever article by Theo Priestly on BPM Redux about Follow versus Follower and influence.
Is it time to cheer the little guy and shake our fist at those who would subvert the Web?
Not yet. Keep this in mind–the tougher it is to undermine the best, most democratic aspects of social media, the more advantage to the most sophisticated schemers with the most to gain (and invest). It just cuts out the little guy (or gal). As Theo says about LinkedIn’s newest scheme, “I look forward to receiving my first spam email offering to sell endorsements.”
The irresistible part of the social Web is sheer volume of people that it draws in. Facebook IPO’d on having nearly a billion profiles, or about one in seven people on the planet. Those numbers are so enormous that the cost versus benefit of faking out each new platform makes for an easy decision and leaves the rest of us as potential pawns.
So what do we do? Ironically, maybe we go back to one-to-one connections as the ones we should and always could trust. Funny how things work out.
The other thing that will certainly come about is social media as an enterprise tool for business, where fake connections have little value and there’s tangible benefit to collaboration. Consumerization will keep ‘clean’ social alive.
Comment here or follow the discussion on Quora.