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Is there a downside to linking social technologies?

2 min read

Marketing Strategy

I feel like I’ve been writing about social-media integration a lot lately. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen social networks combining with e-mail, with mobile and, in today’s top story from SmartBrief on Social Media, with PayPal.

All this time, I’ve been taking the position that all this integration is a great thing. But I won’t pretend that it’s a one-sided argument. What are some of the possible downsides to integrating social technology into other platforms?

Off the top of my head:

  • Status is king. Right now, status updates and other microblog posts are the common currency of most social networks. Pictures, links, notes, applications and other content are all very important, but when I’m just checking in with Facebook to get a quick read, I’m looking at status messages. If social integration with mobile and e-mail is handled in a way that passes on status updates well, but doesn’t do such a great job with other forms of user content, that lowers my incentive to actually go to networks’ Web sites and check out those other kinds of content — which are often the ones most likely to produce deep engagement.
  • Filter failures galore. If our social networks suddenly become an omnipresent part of our lives, we’re all going to have a little trouble processing the information — at least at first. Heck, some of us are overwhelmed now. If our social networks are always right in front of us, we’re going to have to come up with new ways — both technically and psychologically — of coping with that extra information.
  • Advertising overload. Imagine you’re out with your friends and you see on Facebook that one of your favorite restaurants messages you, offering a group deal if you pay using Facebook’s PayPal integration. Something like that could be enormously convenient — when you’re actually looking for a deal. The rest of the time, it could get obnoxious.

I’m really just playing devil’s advocate here — I’m still pretty bullish on integration. But that doesn’t mean these concerns aren’t worthwhile. Maybe by talking about concerns up front, we can find ways to work around these problems later.

What are other downsides could there be to integrating social technologies?

Image credit, Mikosch, via iStock