Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Social media: ubiquitous but not quite there yet

IKEA UK YouTube Store

I came across a presentation recently from  The Social Practice, which talked about the trend for social media to go from being a destination to a dispersed network. In particular, it touches on the nature of 'Social' as ubiquitous, intuitive and dynamic.

A nice illustration of the ubiquity of Social, which the presentation mentions, is in the IKEA UK YouTube Store, which we are told is powered by Facebook data. I thought this was fascinating, so I took a closer look. And was a little disappointed. As The Social Practice state, "We're not quite there yet".

I compared the experience of a user who logs into the YouTube store with Facebook credentials with that of one who doesn't. Taking the latter first, we are asked "who's in your bedroom?" and asks you to click and drag an icon of a man, a woman or a baby into a circle. It allows for single sex couples with a child but you can't have a ménage à trois. If you go for a childless couple, whether gay or not, you are then asked "How long have you lived together?"

After that IKEA brings you a video exposé of 'the bedroom that might be', albeit without any options to pause rewind or fast-forward. You can then click on one of several items to be taken to its page on the IKEA online store. Altogether quite a nice idea.

So what's the difference if you log in with Facebook? Well, you'd think it would pull your relationship status and length of time since you were together, along with whether you have one or more children and their ages. That would neatly populate the questions that the app requires.

But it doesn't do that.

All it does is take your name and mine some text from your newsfeed then puts it into a little box that shows up while the bedroom of your dreams (sic) is pulled together. Like this:

(I've airbrushed out friends' names)

So, The Social Practice seems to have it right: we're not quite there yet, to which I'd add, ever so close.

What irks me, however, is the misalignment of the video window and the navigation menu above it.

Here's the presentation: