Social Platforms Could Make You Feel Insecure: Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures

Friday, September 23, 2011

Individuals and brand identities should not be hosted on a single platform, because platforms like Twitter and Facebook have to watch out for their own business, says Fred Wilson, a managing partner at VC firm Union Square Ventures in New York.

In an intense debate with Silicon Valley tech guru Robert Scoble at the New York City Smash Summit, Wilson told a room of social media marketers that it is a "horrible idea" for people to build their presence on platforms alone without any web real estate of their own.

While saying that he had recently become more impressed with Facebook and their new suggestions for lists, Wilson said he still thinks that it's a bad idea for brands especially to advocate for their identity on platforms. They should build their own freehold on the web.

"Companies that get stuck on one platform, when the platform changes the rules, you get f-----," said Wilson.

Wilson ended by saying that platforms like Facebook are not trying to destroy people with their new iterations, like Timeline, released yesterday. "Most of the time, the people who run product and run the companies are doing they are trying to do the best thing for their product," says Wilson.

But it was still not a good idea for consumers or individuals to rely on platforms as the sole real estate for their identity. "You are advocating your experience of the world with some relationship with a company, never do that, that's a horrible idea!" he said.

Robert Scoble suggested that Google+ was a platform for people's identity. Holding up a handful of green straws, he said that he had rolled up in one of them a $20 bill.

"That's Twitter. You can barely see the signal." he said. He then wrote on a straw and used the same handful of straws to say that labeled experience on the web makes it so much easier to find the money. That was Google+, he said.

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