Its a thin ice between virality and privacy:

This post is motivated by my back n forth with Unicorn Labs Maker @netgarden about #Playboys “service” via Instagram.

The biggest problem with playboy offering content on Instagram is lack of privacy for playboy users who have always been in the closet. Let me step back a bit. When you follow someone on instagram or for that matter any other social tool or network, rest of the users and friends know about your acts of following. That’s just how these companies drive virality and growth.

Virality and privacy butt heads in most of the use cases in my view. This issue is not limited to instagram but all social tools. It reminds of this one time when I downloaded a “how to live as a diabetic” deck via slideshare – four friends from my Facebook network messaged me to find out when I became diabetic and how my health was. That was slideshares attempt to drive virality and more users to its site.

What is the healthy balance between driving virality and protecting your user privacy?

Social platforms should provide a “premium” feature to “brands” who care to protect their end user’s privacy at the expense of virality for the platform. For example, I am sure Playboy or for that matter any other brand who might want to protect their user identity might be willing to pay that premium (no expense to the end user).

This would be a very simple way to deal with such catch 22 connundrum.

Happy to hear other ideas …..


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