Interactioncosts in Facebook
Piskorskiprovides four elements in social platform that determine the successof failure of social interaction namely breadth, display, search andcommunication. Facebook has managed to successfully employ andsustain breadth as a social media platform and hence the phenomenalgrowth. Breadth interaction costs in Facebook arise when people arelimited in the network of friends and acquaintances that they createthrough the platform. Economic costs of breadth arise out of peoplebeing busy and lacking time to interact. To alleviate this, Facebookallows users to create a wider network by users inviting other users,and Facebook suggesting some friends, creating a network of userswhere the original user might have no relations with new users.Social costs arise out of failed opportunities to interact with newor old acquaintances and share information in fear that their contentmight not be interesting. To address this cost of awkwardness increating breadth, Facebook allows users to decide who to interactwith by offering the friend request option that establishes contactand defines the relationship and its way forward. Additionally,Facebook allow users to categorize friends as just friend and closefriends to define their proximity to them. For some people, theycreate multiple Facebook accounts depending on what they want to usethe profile for (Carolyn & Parasnis). Such a scenario would mostlikely complicate the breadth costs.
Interactionscosts on display arise when people avoid sharing information in fearof offending others or being overbearing without being aware thatsuch information is desired by some people. This results in a socialcost with information being withheld for fear of negative perception.This functionality is addressed by enabling users to have their ownprofiles through which they share information. Economically, itaddresses the cost of having all friends physically present to shareinformation or having to contact them individually by other means.For businesses, they can have corporate groups or pages or evenpages/groups for individuals products. The functionality allows usersto receive feedback on information shared through comments and likingposted content. Additionally, the option offers more breadth byenabling users to share information from others on their profiles orother people’s profiles. Moreover, friends can also be tagged inimages or posts to increase visibility and breadth on theinformation. To further control the social costs of sharinginformation, Facebook currently enables users to control who amongtheir friends can see specific information they post. This alsoapplies for images.
Interactionand social costs also arise through search functionality. Facebookusers share information that they feel free to share. Wheninformation that is shared or not shared is sought, the act maybeconsidered us being too nosey and socially undesirable. The economiccost of involve physical absence of such persons to provideinformation being sought. For social costs, societal norms may hinderusers from searching information when such an act is consideredsnooping. Such fears lead to social failures because searching forsought information would have been beneficial to both parties.Facebook has exacerbated social failure in this by removing criticaldetails that would facilitate better search. For instance, emailscannot be used to search for people Facebook. On the other hand, ithas alleviated some of these costs by eliminating the digitalfootprint left behind by searches.
Oncommunication, a number of costs of arise due to economic and socialfactors. Economic costs arise out of the extra long time that socialinteractions take. Social costs arise out of the awkwardness ofstarting new communication with new acquaintances. To address thesecosts, Facebook has introduced some functionality to address thesecosts. On economic costs, private messages and inbox allow less timeconsuming communication. To ease this communication, Facebook offersemail addresses for their users linked with their profiles. On socialcosts, it offers the mutual functionality to increase the sense ofcloseness to acquaintance by being able to view mutual friends toassess the level of social distance. Although Facebook has madeefforts to alleviate the costs on the four areas discussed, somecosts still persist resulting in social failures but to a greatextent as discussed, socializing has taken place.
Piskorski,M. (2014). asocial strategy: how we profit from social media.New York: Princeton
CarolynHeller Baird, Gautam Parasnis, (2011) "From social media tosocial customer
relationshipmanagement", Strategy& Leadership,39 (5)30 – 37