Facebook enters the double digits today, turning 10 years old. It’s hard to fathom that what began as a few guys with a dorm room and a dream today boasts a population that eclipses that of India. That’s 1.23 billion people.
Recent research conducted by Princeton (a fierce rival of Mark Zuckerberg’s alma mater, Harvard) predicts that Facebook will lose 80% of its users by 2017. It’s not the first time naysayers have forecasted doom and gloom for the social giant, and unlikely it will be the last.
But for Facebook’s special day, we would rather focus on the positive. One of the things I firmly believe we have Facebook to thank for is the step-change in brand to consumer communication becoming more honest and accountable.
Before Facebook came along, companies didn’t have to worry so much about lacklustre customer service and product failings seeping into the public sphere. Complaints could be kept in the call centres, contained within niche dissatisfaction forums or limited to a rant over the fence to the next door neighbor.
Then the status-updating, self-documenting nature of Facebook gave us all a forum to air our triumphs and our grievances. Suddenly, getting something off your chest meant getting it onto your page, and companies could no longer roll out their ‘rinse and repeat’ responses.
This has led to a significant change into how companies now own their errors. As too many companies to name learnt the hard way, negative comments can be posted much faster than you can delete them, which just adds insult to community injury. Thankfully, companies are now adopting a more honest voice that when in error, recognises the mistake, apologises for it and takes immediate steps to remedy it. All publicly declared.
What’s not to ‘like’ about that?
Written by Jennifer McDermott