Google's Buzz misstep could harm social media adoption in the enterprise


A few days ago I said Google Buzz and Wave had some very cool features, but the average company wasn't ready for them. I've played around a bit more with Buzz since then, but mostly I've been seeing other people's opinions about it, in Buzz itself, on Twitter, on Facebook and on blogs.

Lots of people are pretty mad about what they see as their private information being made public without their knowledge or consent. Google has announced some big changes already to address people's concerns.

It's tough being on the cutting edge, and I believe Google made a good faith effort to address some very valid concerns. But that may not be good enough.

As somebody who spends all his time working to integrate social media into an 11,000-employee enterprise, I get a lot of questions from people who are still very concerned about the way social media in general is breaking down barriers and making so much information publicly available. Some people, I find, worry a bit too much, others maybe not enough. So far we've struck a pretty good balance and I've been able to allay the vast majority of the fears people have expressed.

This one could be different. This is a highly visible instance where a company that lots of us have come to respect played a bit too fast and loose. Most people aren't going to dig into the details; they're just going to remember that people were mad at Google for giving away their private information.

For the cautious holdouts arguing against opening up their enterprises to social media, this will be seen as further evidence that it's too risky and too hard to manage.


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1 Comment

  1. David
    I agree with you. Naysayers are looking for a reason to criticize the transparency that social media has empowered. I suspected there would be a transparency backlash in the near future - I just didn't expect Google to be the culprit.

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