“When we use a social network religiously, we feel a sense of ownership. Which is what the social network’s parent company wants us to feel: a sense of loyalty. But with that sense of ownership, we feel entitlement as well. Entitled to being part of the process of change, to be able to give our input before change happens, to be able in some way to control the change.
While some smaller companies do gather input from their users to determine modifications of their services, most larger ones, like Facebook, will make changes often, and seemingly at random. We’re left scratching our heads or panicking because of the potential negative impacts of the new changes on our social media presences.”
Posted, ironically, using WordPress.com’s “Press This” utility.
WordPress.com is not the only social network where I’ve experienced this kind of change. All the icons above represent services that I started using way back when they still felt like close-knit communities, flickr and last.fm being the most painful transitions thus far.
The kind of heated discussions that we’ve seen in the WordPress.com Support forums and elsewhere during the last few months over implementation of reblogging, the 30-minute “Under Review by Staff” delay and such like are all symptoms of the collision between a rapidly growing service and those of us not directly associated with it who may feel, correctly or not, a certain amount of “entitlement”. As a for-profit business, I have no doubt that WordPress.com will continue to go through major changes and have made a conscious decision to “keep calm and carry on“.
But it won’t keep me from thinking that it’s a failure for everyone concerned when a service no longer listens to its most devoted users.