Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Is Social Sign On Really All That?

Last week on associationTech, Maddie Grant wrote a post about single sign on for association websites. She referenced Jeremiah Owyang's recent post about social sign on and the "problem" it solves: connecting customers with corporate websites that are detached from the social networks people spend their time on. I hadn't really given the issue much thought--or so I, well, thought--until I read her post; presumably I had actually given it quite a bit of thought because my response was basically a blog post.

And never being one to squander a good blog post, here's the comment I left:

I guess I'm still skeptical about tying sign-on to something I have control over (a corp website) to something I have no control over that is notoriously ridden with trouble (Twitter and Facebook). I have had too many instances of Facebook Connect not working at all--take the Washington Post website, for instance. I can't tell you the number of times I've tried to access an article on that site only to be totally hung up by Facebook Connect. I just tried it now and it was ok, but that was the first time in months that it's worked. I've literally had to go to Twitter to search for the link to an article that I can't get to on the Post site because it gets hung up at Facebook Connect sign on.

Also, I think that Facebook's back-end controls for tools like Connect and the "like" button are DEPLORABLE. Like, could NOT be worse and do not work AT ALL. Ostensibly with the "like" button you're supposed to be able to track who is liking your page and even have the capability to send messages into their news feed. Yeah, good luck with that--we installed the like button on our blog and many of the product pages in our online store and haven't yet been able to access either the insights on Facebook or understand how to send messages to "likers." And don't even get me started on how to use any of these Facebook business tools you have to resort to searching dozens of blogs for instructions, caveats and workarounds because Facebook's own offerings and level of support are so dismal.

I have also heard from others that Facebook Connect just didn't work for their corporate website, or was fraught with problems like I just described.

I also don't agree with Jeremiah's assertion that "the information consumers enter into the antiquated registration pages is likely inaccurate percentage-wise compared to the level of accuracy in self-updated profiles in Facebook and other social networks." You think I trust Facebook with my information?! I WANT my association to have my correct information, phone number, address, etc. Facebook--hell no.

I'll stop now before I take over this whole blog, but suffice it to say that until Facebook, Twitter and the like start offering actual customer support and reliable, whale-free service, there's no way I'd feel comfortable tying them to the sign-in process for a corporate website.

Am I just as skeptic or do others agree that social sign on is not yet ready for prime time? Am I the only one who routinely has problems connecting to sites using Facebook, Twitter or the like? And am I the only one who has had problems accessing the back end data from the Facebook "like" button?

No comments: