Web privacy will be a big issue in ’08: Maggie Fox

And what surprised the founding partner of the Social Media Group in '07 was 'how quickly social media got on the radar and into the budgets of big enterprise.'

Weighing in today as a member of MiC‘s year-end virtual think tank, Maggie Fox, a founding partner in the Dundas, Ont.-based Social Media Group, says our industry pretty much ignored privacy implications – until ‘the Beacon misstep demonstrated that this will change the way people interact and behave online.’

MiC: What were some of ’07′s big trends?

‘Twitter and the notion of continuous partial attention.’

MiC: What surprised you this year?

‘How quickly social media got on the radar and into the budgets of big enterprise. The conversations about ‘why’ were replaced by ‘how’ this year in a big way. The other exciting thing is the swing away from tactical to a more holistic, strategic approach – instead of, ‘Hey, let’s do a blog!,’ companies are asking, ‘How will social media affect our overall communications? How can we integrate these tools in a way that aligns with our business (or marketing) objectives?”

MiC: What happened in ’07 that you applaud?

‘Facebook’s Beacon misstep pushing privacy issues to the front of the line – it looks like people are finally starting to understand that their attention has value.’

MiC: What dismayed or worried you?

‘I would really like to see more marketers and others understand that interest can’t be measured by pageviews or clicks. It’s a cognitive event (i.e., it happens in the brain), and even tracking people’s behaviour with tools like Beacon is basically useless when it comes to judging interest or potential interest in a product. We need to develop more models that allow consumers to pull the messages they want – that’s where the real value lies.’

MiC: What trends or issues are you spying for ’08?

‘Privacy is a huge issue we’ve been ignoring because it’s boring. Does anyone actually read the privacy policies of the social media sites they use? Beacon demonstrated that it’s probably time to start. This will be a big one for ’08, and it will change the way people interact and behave online.’

MiC: What do you see as the next big opportunity?

‘The mobile web. According to comScore, just as many people in Japan use mobile devices to access the Internet as use PCs, and it’s expected that most of the planet will experience the web for the first time via a cellphone or MD.’

MiC: What’s the next big threat?

‘I see only opportunities.’