The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in Facebook (7)


The Next Stage of Social Commerce  

Written by PHILIP ELLIS on 28 November, 2014 at 11:11 via

Following fruitful trials on Shopify and BigCommerce, Seattle-based company Zantler has rolled out its social commerce platform to retailers on Amazon Webstore this week, ahead of the busiest shopping month of the year.

Zantler’s Shoppost enables merchants to post shoppable content to a variety of online channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs.

Merchants will now have the capability to import product information, including colour and size options, directly from Amazon Webstore to social media. There is also video functionality – something that Amazon Webstore currently doesn’t support on-site. Each post mirrors an online storefront, and comes complete with a buy button which transports customers directly to a branded shopping cart, essentially providing a seamless social shopping experience. 

Read more....

{Disclosure: I am a member of the Board of Directors of Zantler, a Seattle, WA based company.}


Has Facebook Gone Too Far? New Consumer Research Tests Ethical Boundaries

In case you missed yesterday's headlines about Facebook's effort to redefine the relationship it has with their consumers - and the product they assume they are using - here is a sampling for you to review.

Facebook Tinkers With Users' Emotions in News Feed

Academics Question The Value Of Facebook’s Controversial Research

Facebook emotion study breached ethical guidelines

Facebook made users depressed in secret research: Site deleted positive comments from friends

These headlines about a previous year's research study sit eerily next to stories like this one from last winter.

Facebook used by cops to thwart George Washington Bridge suicide

And this one from around the same time, when the short days of winter and the holidays loom large.

Coroner warns of dangers of Facebook after student, 19, targeted by young women bullies online hanged himself.

In addition to the ethics questions this research raises, these stories made me want to go back and see what other things I have allowed Facebook to do in that ridiculous terms of service agreement I consented to before using the site. And it's not just the Facebook ToS, I want to go back and read the ToS of every cloud based service I use. The trouble is that even if I do read them, I still won't understand what defines some of the most essential terms, like "research" or "promotion", within them. Why? Because it is up to the individual brands to fill them with meaning, based upon how they are executed.

Another Facebook brand, Instagram, had its own controversy about its terms of service in late 2012 and early 2013, not long after Facebook researchers manipulated the feeds to test their theories on positive and negative posts. (Although Facebook's study occured in 2012, the results did not make it to a broadly published forum at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in June of this year.)  Instagram's new policies, reported by the NY Times Bits Blog, state:

“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,” the new terms say. This means that photographs uploaded to Instagram could end up in an advertisement on the service or on Facebook.

The key takeaway here is that a brand chooses to define itself by accepting some boundaries and ignoring others.  The more we use a brand's products or services, even in the wake of this kind of revelation, the more we provide them our tacit approval to continue to gerrymander our relationship.


UPDATE on 7/1/14:

Watch this related NBC Nightly News Report on the topic of Terms of Service policies across our online services.


More Related Links:

Important lessons from the Instagram controversy

New figures reveal the photo sharing service Instagram has lost almost 50 per cent of its daily users in less than a month   

On Facebook, Likes Become Ads.



A Cartoon History of Social Networking


5 ways social media will change your marketing plan

First published in iMedia Connection

Article Highlights:

  • Campaign ideas will be deconstructed into smaller, more digestible messages
  • Applications will continue to adapt to user behavior, leading to hyper-personalization
  • User-generated content will influence marketing strategy

Reputation and relationship management skills are foundational to architecting an effective customer development strategy for both B2B and B2C enterprises; this will be acutely true in 2011. No longer just the responsibility of a community manager, social communication will be integrated into service and support experiences, product, point of sale, and commerce solutions. Because official spokespeople are no longer the sole purveyors of your company's message, social channels can be counted on to accelerate and amplify the conversation between customers and brands. Look for the following trends to drive changes to integrated marketing plans in the year ahead... read more here


Favorite Tweets Of The Holiday Weekend

@kenradio Why Bing "Likes" Facebook, Facebook should give Microsoft an edge against search rival Google -

@bgershon Ad Execs Gaze Into 2011 Crystal Ball - Great overview.... 

Social Media in 2011: Expect a Big Dose of STFU from my pal @

Great article from @ to start the new year, Design Thinking and the courage to do things 

RT@quirkyinc The NY Times Pogies celebrates product features which are "clever twists that make life just a little bit better" 


Facebook Friends, Sort Of

RT@peterpham Shldnt be this hard RT @joshelman: I think I got FB privacy set up right. I used 4 test accts to check from friend, fr of fr,nonfriend, etc.

All of us Facebook users by now have wrestled with the idea of who to "friend" and ignore, and now that the new privacy settings are live, it appears we are all doing it again. Although most of us have adapted to the notion that we had only two choices - confirm or ignore - we now have to adjust our thinking back to the idea that there are levels of friendship.

On the surface, privacy settings are an obvious evolution for Facebook, and these tools address a big concern that has potentially blocked some consumers from joining the juggernaut of social networks or adding more people to their networks. But for the more than 65 million of us existing users, users who have debated the 'confirm' or 'ignore' question with every invitation, it presents a bit of a quandary. With so many combinations of settings when there were so few before, will it be easy for me to remember who has access to what information anymore? Life was so simple when I knew if you were a friend or someone to ignore. The relationship between my content stream and my friends was clean. You saw it or you didn't.  But now there are tiers of disclosure. And that means more settings.

If you know me at all, you know I am a huge proponent of giving consumers control and choice. But adding tools like this seem to "complexify" what was a pretty simple, binary communication experience - we're friends, and we share.

I recently connected with my older brother on Facebook, who became my second family member to join my network. Both live and work in different cities, not where I live or where we grew up. And I don't know either of their friends at all. Their "friends of friends" network looks a lot like the category now called "everyone" to me, and so that distinction seems especially insufficient for publishing personal posts.  In turn, the things I communicate to my family about my day to day has changed dramatically over the years, especially since I moved away from home. The current privacy groupings fail to help address the special kinds of communications families share.




Hey, You, Get Off Of My Cloud

 Published: on November 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm

I don't know about you, but I feel like practicing good password-hygiene is getting harder and harder these days. The more places I have accounts, and the more ways I might want to connect to my stuff, and my stuff with my friends, the more unique passwords I need to have to keep my personal things secure.I have been told as a consumer I should have a unique user name and password combination for each service just in case a hacker gets one of them, he or she doesn't have access to my all my data.

I have also been cautious about allowing the linking of my identities across the various social networks, photo sharing sites, financial accounts and memberships I access. Every time Twitter or Facebook ask me if I wish to allow a new application to access my information, I feel my security lax.

But is my stuff where I really think it is? What's moving around between sites that "shake hands" isn't always clear to me, and I'm supposed to be a tech savvy buyer. Sure, there are privacy policies posted and I check the box on the page that says I've read them. But I'm going to admit right here and now that I haven't had the time or inclination to read them all. Lawyers often don't make entertaining writers. And some times, I'm in too much of a hurry buying that belated birthday gift that I don't even read the fine print about the return policy or back-order. So do I know who really has control of my content? Click here to read the rest of the post on