Thursday, November 13, 2008

Virgin Airlines and Facebook....

... the problem otherwise known as 'the case for segmenting your personal Social Graph'.

For those who aren't aware, Virgin Airlines recently sacked 13 of its staff for calling its passengers 'chavs' and apparently criticising the company's safety standards

“There is a time and a place for Facebook. But there is no justification for it to be used as a sounding board for staff of any company to criticise the very passengers who pay their salaries.”

"But hang on.... this is Virgin Atlantic Airlines" I hear people say. "They are the 'fly in the British Airways ointment', the company that has a Facebook page with quotes from Richard Branson, endorsements by James Bond and they actively encourage their customers to take silly photos of your free DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) socks as you travel the globe with them".

But, in my opinion there is a definite difference between a company presenting itself in a friendly way on a social networking site and the action of some employees venting their frustrations and opinions on the same platform.

Is this therefore not a principle case for segmenting the different contacts in an individual's Facebook account? Surely to have: work colleagues, school mates, customers and everyone else all seeing everything you say or do is not what anyone really wants? Wouldn't it be better to classify some aquaintances in one way (e.g. Business contacts) and others in another way (e.g. people I can say what I like to)?

Classification and segmentation of a personal social graph must obviously be the next step for all multi-purpose social networks (or over vertical/market-specific social networks that allow you to import your entire social graph). Perhaps following that segementation, companies will be likely to follow-suit and understand just who within their Corporate Social Graph they can have contact with and what that contact should be.

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