There are some truly, madly wonderful things happening on social media sites these days. Really. Who would have predicted five years ago that we would be virtually poking, bear-hugging and bitch-slapping each other over the world wide interweb? Virtually nobody, that's who.
Now, as Christmas approaches, our new Web 2.0 leaders Facebook, Bebo et al are planning to use the power of their networks to enable advertisers to promote their wares. As dedicated IT Week journalist and sometime PR hat stand Phil Muncaster wrote recently, even a lowly Norwich-based reseller of Terry's Chocolate Oranges could find their profile suddenly and massively increased by a peer recommendations or "trusted referrals" system. There's just one problem Sneak has with this, as one eagle-eyed IT manager pointed out recently; if your Facebook page displays in its news feeds what your friends have just bought, it's likely to take the element of surprise out of your Christmas.
And if your loved one happens to notice your recently bought items do not tally with his or her received gifts on Christmas day, there may be trouble ahead. Could Facebook, rather than bring us closer together, soon bring about the total collapse of our society based on mutual present-buying mutual suspicion and paranoia? Well, no, actually, it looks like the social networking giant has backed down. Would have made a good story though.
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