The country, if not the world, is gleaming with pride as the mash-up of m-commerce with a social aspect is not only succeeding, but thriving. Let’s pull the reins in here just a few minutes and give this some thought. Do we really want it? Can it last?
A quick knee jerk response is – of course we want it, why wouldn’t we! I’ve been doing some insider research on four different sites for the past sixteen months and I’ll disclose my findings. This is my personal opinion based on my personal findings – read that as: I’m not faulting or glorifying any site, this is research!
I’m surrounded by people who invent things. People who are constantly having their visions put into actions, their actions turned into products, their products patented and released. I’m the psych person on the other end reminding them that one fact need always be taken into consideration with any tech invention – think of the very worst case use of this and find a way to keep it from happening BEFORE you release it into the world!
Remember (some of you are probably too young) when everyone was so excited that the mobile phone was going cellular? A mobile that would sync automatically into any cell it passed. Fast forward to an increase in auto accidents. Remember the initial concept of texting? Ok, that pays my mortgage, but again an increase in auto accidents and what physical therapists refer to as “texting syndrome” – wrist and hand disorders when used incorrectly! Let’s move on to the built-in camera. Spiffing invention until some morons decided that taking pics of women in changing rooms and gyms (and posting the pics online) without their knowledge or consent was a good idea. The country went crazy, albeit for a short period of time, and demanded that the subject somehow be made aware that the pic was being taken. That never happened! I’ve just skimmed the surface of the mobile industry here, but that’s my focal point. Of course any object used incorrectly, or in the wrong hands, can be damning if not deadly. I’ve got fourteen inch chef’s knives and a .38 that could be used as examples too. Think it through…….always take it to its logical, even absurd conclusion.
Now, we are all extremely excited about the successful mash-up of m-commerce and social. The ability to sell items on our mobile devices and chat with the prospective buyer. Again, spiffing idea. However, it begs the question, “how’s that working for ya?”
In my opinion, anytime social is added to anything virtual you’ve just mixed a Molotov cocktail without knowing it. Social in the virtual world is actually not that “social.” Alter-egos and evil twins emerge since “hey, it’s not personal. I’m never going to even meet you.” Social is a double-edged sword. You get the good, but you must accept the bad too. That mentality eludes me. Normal humans are capable of carrying on complete conversations without any name calling, negative comments about appearances, degrading racial references, or physical threats. However, in a virtual world the very same people develop “on-line courage,” as its called. Courage, it is not. It is common, ill-mannered, bullying behavior normally relegated to the sophomoric behavior of teenagers. How much of this type of behavior will real humans tolerate before giving it up on the social selling concept completely? How many personal (yes, it’s personal when your appearance, gender, or race is attacked) jibes would you take without being allowed to respond? Would you take those jibes in person? No? Then why take them online??
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Of course, in any selling venue there will be snippy comments regarding price. Fine, go somewhere else. If I’m in Neiman’s and I don’t like the price, I’m perfectly free to step down to Nordstrom or Saks. That being said, now imagine you’re selling in a social environment where written comment is highly encouraged and jibes allowed. Now, remember you’re not allowed to respond or delete the rude, sometimes vulgar, comments. There’s the sharp edge of the mash-up – the spinach you must eat in order to get your pudding.
The pudding does exist. People swoon over the items you’re selling; refer their friends; announce engagements, births, adoptions, birthdays; share life lessons and stories. Social brings about the ability to form friendships even off-line. Once you’ve finally met in real life, you’re fast friends since you already know so much about each other. Thankfully, I’ve had much more of this than I’ve had of the spinach.
Back to the original question: it’s a success, but do we really want it? Do we force ourselves to endure the spinach to get our pudding? How long will it last? For me, the answer is yet unknown. There’s only a certain amount of spinach I can handle, without dishing some out too. Everyone has a breaking point. Where is yours? In speaking with others during my research, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone. Many, many, oh so many on-line sellers are backing away from the social aspect for this very reason. I’m not happy to report this, but with the interviews I’ve conducted the facts show that jealousy reigns amongst women. Now, everyone calm down! There are women who enable other women and I’m proud to say I’ve met many. However, there are some, for lack of self confidence or just due to bad breeding, who want nothing more than to attack other women to make themselves feel better. They are not jealous of other women’s looks, but are jealous of the products other women are selling. Odd concept, that a woman of my generation cannot fathom, but then we are the generation that shattered the glass ceiling of business and education for every young girl behind us.
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Certain phrases, words, or symbols are just never in good taste in any social group – on-line or in real life. As the world is finally discovering, even on-line comments have their place. Their place is to stay in your head if it’s not socially acceptable – don’t type every thought! Even Facebook has announced, rather loudly, that they are censoring content and removing anything inappropriate. Instagram and Pinterest reserve the right to remove any photo which is deemed inappropriate by them or by enough community members. Censorship? That’s a harsh word for me to handle. No, moderating the on-line comment has less to do with censorship and much, much more to do with plain, old fashioned, good manners. If you wouldn’t say it out loud to someone’s face, don’t type it!
So, thinking of entering into a mash-up of m-commerce and social? Give this report some thought. Love it or hate it – it’s based on facts! How “social” do you actually want to be with “virtual humans” – the ones who can have your home address with the click of a “buy” button??