Results Should Be Prized Above
Altruism With These Programs

Facebook’s Safety Check had been one of those things I initially thought was a little bit intrusive and excessive, and then I got to use it, and I saw that some of my friends in dangerous places were OK, and I was struck with how it was a really great use of the platform that Zuckerberg has built. Things like this really do give back to the people that use your service – and they send a very important message … that they care about you. I’m not going to worry about whether or not it is altruistic or not – the truth is that knowing someone you care about is safe is invaluable, and if Facebook get something for helping out in that way, who cares?

Airbnb in a similar effort to help people in disaster-struck areas are asking their users to offer free accommodation to those affected by the disaster in Barcelona, and they have done so in other disasters, beginning with Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It is interesting they would do this, given that the Barcelona Government has expressed openly their disapproval of the company.

I also read some comments in the thread beneath an article about the subject complaining that if it is for public relations and not for altruism then it somehow doesn’t count – I think this is a spurious argument, and that the results are actually the thing that matters. If there is a knock on effect that people think better of Airbnb then so be it – the fact that they are doing something good for people perhaps warrants people having a better opinion of them.

These kind of positive social actions are much more important to me when I look at what company to do business with than what might amount to window dressing or supposed cherries on top. You really want to dig into the marrow of the company to understand what they are about, not engage in some shallow superficial read of them and then make some blanket statement not based in fact.

Social Media Needs To Build In The Real World To Really Survive

The Circle, in a piece of just-around-the-corner fiction, have a scene where social media is used to rescue the main character, and it really isn’t so far-fetched. If they let me, I can already see where certain people are in relation to myself on a map, and with the amount that people share across the various platforms they are engaging with, means it wouldn’t be hard to build a picture of what happened during someone’s day.

I think in the future for social media to really be considered social it is going to have facilitate something in the real world, not just within the walled garden of social media. Facebook Security Check and the Airbnb Disaster Response Tool, are a good move in the right direction.