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The article posits that Starbucks is working to reposition itself as an in-store information portal, with all sorts of goodies available to those who go to the stores and log on to its network—and that ads on this network could become the premier place to reach certain consumers, as well as the favored online community that could displace Facebook in our affections…
I’m not sure it’s going to unfold exactly as they see it, but I suspect pieces of it will play out that way. That’s a future that leaves me with more than a little discomfort. It’s like a vertical and horizontal integration of the mind similar to, say, General Motors’ vertical and horizontal integration of the car market starting at least in the 1930s. I don’t like to see so much energy concentrated in one company, whether it’s GM, Google, or Starbucks.
Twitter is such a powerful tool! I’ve used it to connect and reach out, to learn about trends and issues, to amplify messages from people who are putting out great content, to build my network, to ask for advice and favors, to support people I wanted to do favors to, to give advice, to publicize events and products, to get speaking gigs and book sales, and simply to chat up with friends.
It’s possible my new follower is getting tons of value by lurking on over 900 Twitter feeds. But even if this person can’t think of anything to say, it would be only a couple of clicks to retweet messages that were especially compelling. Not to do so is leaving most of Twitter’s value on the table. In Twitter as in life, you gain much more value when you give as well as get.
Personally, I go into the online world with the expectation that there is no privacy. And therefore the specific changes don’t bother me over-much. But as someone who writes about ethics, I have a problem with obtaining consent for one restricted set of behaviors and then wildly expanding it while requiring opt-out (and difficult opt-out at that) rather than opt-in. It’s nothing more than an electronic form of bait-and-switch–something I find unethical and in fact argue against in my latest book on business ethics, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet (co-authored with Jay Conrad Levinson).
Name: Shel Horowitz
Location: Hadley, Massachusetts, United States
A blog about business ethics from Shel Horowitz, expert on Green principles and business ethics as success drivers. This blog covers the intersections of ethics, politics, media, marketing, and sustainability.
About Shel: Copywriter, marketing and publishing consultant, speaker, and award-winning author of seven books. The three most recent are Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers, and Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy world.
Shel specializes in affordable, ethical, and effective marketing for authors, publishers, small businesses, nonprofits, and community groups.
He's currently engaged in a campaign to get 25,000 people to sign--and spread--the Business Ethics Pledge: www.business-ethics-pledge.org
Publishing: Technical Aspects