Understanding Facebook audiences just got a little harder

Lori Luechtefeld of iMedia Connection pointed out today that under Facebook's new privacy policies, you might only get to know the most "enthusiastic exhibitionists" who opt to share their feeds.

Simply counting friends and fans of your Facebook groups – and of your competitors – is just not enough to understand the influencers of a particular audience and get, as Luechtefeld says, "any real representative intelligence."

You were already limited in what you could know about Facebook audiences because Facebook doesn't require users to provide even basic demographic information.  All you really have from everyone is just a name and an e-mail address.

If you can't comb through feeds and if you don't have consistent demographic information, you'll have to resort to traditional online surveys to truly understand your audiences.  But frankly, surveys won't be as insightful as the feeds because they aren't real-time, and can only capture attitudes, not actual Facebook behavior.

 But maybe it doesn't matter.  This story by Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb reports that most people are concerned about privacy on social networks but most don't even know how to change their profile privacy settings.  "To top it off, 32% of users shared at least three pieces of identifiable information on their profile pages and 28% accepted friend requests from complete strangers." 

This info. comes from a study done by Webroot, a security software company.

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