Social Sign On:

Pro’s & Con’s of easier access.

signinOne Password. All of your accounts.
They said not to use the same password for all your different accounts. This was easy at first, when you only needed to authenticate your identity for a few websites such as your bank, or other services you are a member of.But now, if I had to make a guess, I’d say I have at least 60 different passwords floating in the cloud and I don’t even remember half of them!
If only there was an easier way!

An Easier Way!

Social Sign-In (SSI) is a method of user authentication that relies on pre-existing login information derived from your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Offering users the ability to use their social media credentials to verify their identity allows for expedited registration into a new web service because the information is already available and verified by the social media provider. It only follows that if it is easier to register – more people will.

Too Good to be True?

I know so far all of this sounds pretty good from both the user and developer perspective. On the user end, you don’t need to remember an extra password and could potentially log in faster to a site.

From the end of the developer, offering social sign on can sometimes offer a familiar face to an otherwise unknown brand- encouraging users to trust the site. Also, according to, about a quarter of users abandon their shopping cart at checkout when suddenly asked to register. If the process was easier, does that cart get abandoned?

It seems like this is a win-win across the board just making things easier on everyone. But what happens when we put this process under a microscope?

Under the Microscope!

microscopeWhen we take a closer look at social sign in we may find that there are quite a bit of reasons why some people are distrustful of them.

Ease of Access

One of the biggest rally cries from both the ‘pro’ and ‘con’ side is ease of access. One the one hand it’s now easy to login with a click of a button. But having all of your accounts linked to one password provides hackers with just one point of entry for everything. So, yes, it’s easier…for everyone.

Data Sharing

Logging in to that site with your Facebook ID? Guess who has access to your Facebook account information now?

Although this is brilliant for the marketing team to try to deliver you exactly what you may need, but many people are turned off by this idea. According to humix, “People often don’t fully trust the company (website) to use their personal data in a correct manner.”

With this in mind, even the marketing team can’t necessarily trust the information they are receiving.

Any Simpler?

Using that social sign on for an e-commerce site? You’re not getting off that easy, pal. You still need to enter your credit card information.

Also, did you even use the correct address on that social media account? Ugh- better enter the correct mailing info just to be sure…you do want that package, right?

So, what was the point in logging in with Facebook?

The Moral of the Story

divershrugIt seems like there are many pros and cons to social sign on- from both the developer and user point of view. While it seems to include many users and offer a beautifully connected and easier life, it excludes an awful lot of people also who do not participate in social media or who are paranoid about data sharing.

So what’s a user to do?

Hey- if you don’t mind sharing your information then go nuts- this technology certainly can make things easier sometimes. I can imagine that it can be a miracle to receive that text message reminding you to buy flowers for your wife’s birthday. However, I suggest being weary about who you do share your information with. Remember that it may end up in the wrong hands.

What’s a website to do?

Appease everyone you can! In my opinion, if registration is required by your website, offer a social sign on for those users that want it, and also offer a personalized registration form. Either way, inform users exactly how their data is being used, if it’s being shared, and perhaps an option to opt out of retaining the information.
In this way you can reap the benefits of social sign on without seeming disrespectful towards user privacy. Because as much as people like ‘easy’, in the long run they want truth and honesty from a company.