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Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Command and Control Social Media

Friday, April 8th, 2011

From a branding perspective, social media is about joining the conversation rather than trying to constantly send out broadcasts. Any idea worth discussing is already being talked about – if you ignore social media you aren’t just failing to get your message out into the wild; you are, in fact, allowing your voice to be absent from the existing discussion. There is a seismic shift occurring in the way brands and their respective owners are thinking about engaging their target audience. It isn’t good enough to just get the message out anymore – more attention is being placed into measuring the effectiveness of that message.

This isn’t a new idea; in fact, people have been talking about brands for as long as brands have existed. It’s well known that behind every customer who speaks up about their disappointment or service problem are ten others who simply switched to a different supplier. Figuring out what people are saying “on the street” and reacting to improve based on customer expectations isn’t a new concept; Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere are only tools that make this much easier – they did not invent the conversation. So what’s the big deal?

The difference we are seeing today is the easy access to information that was not present before. Employees at all levels of the organization have access to the same outside data, the same instant feedback to everything being done. Ofttimes the worker at the lowest level has more sense of customer feelings than does the decision-making upper management – this has always been true, of course, so why the sudden magnification?

I believe we are seeing a generational change in business and mindset that is putting people ahead of function. Call it Generation X (over-workers to a fault) passing the torch over to Generation Y (family-focused individuals). In the next several years we are going to see a greater focus toward grassroots-based marketing efforts and a continuation of the trend toward niche-based services alongside the dismantling of mainstream distribution channels.

How to control this? Don’t. Service the customer and listen to their feedback. The same ingredients that have always made businesses successful are still in place: the difference is it is now easier than ever to hear the feedback faster.

Everything Sounds Better With Spin

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
little monkey
Creative Commons License photo credit: michelb

You have to shake your head every time someone goes off about “netbooks”, those wonderful, tiny, cute computers that don’t cost very much. When you look at them, what do you really see? How about a crappy laptop that can barely run Windows. The thing is cheap in more ways than one – but somehow marketers have been able to spin that as a good thing and make big profits off useless hardware without needing to develop anything new.

This Brave New World Seems Just Like the Old

Anything sounds better with a little bit of spin – Web 1.0 is clunky, slow, ugly. Web 2.0 is a designer’s dream, sexy, with new technology. Well, no. The technology isn’t new at all – the web is the same. The only difference is enough marketers held onto the “Web 2.0” buzz phrase and shouted it repeatedly long enough that it became accepted as fact.

What’s So Social About Media?

There was never anything truly “new” about New Media. There’s nothing earth shattering about Social Media either. Call it a new paradigm all you want, there is nothing different between it and “old” media: the goal is to communicate our message to as many people as possible. How others perceive your brand and how you react to that feedback is not something new and alien – it’s just a lot faster now than it used to be. Your audience is your focus group. Traditional roles haven’t changed one bit – their owners have.

Twitter Won’t Overtake Facebook

Monday, April 6th, 2009

I started writing this entry before Facebook switched to its new look. At the time there were a lot of people praising Twitter and predicting that it would soon replace Facebook as the network of choice for connecting the Internet’s middle class together; that coveted position on the totem pole between the MySpace Ghetto and LinkedIn (the professional’s pick).

Facebook's New Look

Facebook's New Look

Why Facebook Rocked

I’ve been a Facebook user for about three years so I’ve now lived through two major design changes. The first changed the layout from a bumbling mishmash of functionality into a surgical-sterile work-flow that made the side understandable and useful (to me). Facebook’s strength was the separation between users – everyone had their own “space” but fit together uniformly and professionally. It was a nice, grown-up place to be online.

What Happened?

Now Facebook looks rather generic. The focus is fully on users’ tweets status updates and I can’t tell where my profile ends and my friends’ begin. The layout still looks soothing and professional, but the service isn’t as useful to me anymore. The “Facebook” distinction is gone – I’d rather mashup my own Flickr and Twitter feeds instead of have Facebook duplicate the same functionality and sell my data to every bidder.

Will Twitter Conquer?

If you told me two months ago that Twitter would overtake Facebook, I would have laughed at you. Now Facebook has lowered its ambitions to the one-trick pony of social media / friend feed updates.

The two services weren’t in the same leauge before – Facebook was a massive profile site that I could use to connect to my real-world contacts while Twitter was and is essentially a public IM service. Now the two are basically identical in my circle.

I don’t mean to be a Facebook-hater. I still log in and give it a good effort; I just don’t connect to it anymore. Maybe the next update will bring the site more in-line with my usage and I can enjoy the service again.

Facebook Breaks, But Photos Not Lost

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Over the weekend Facebook suffered a multiple hardware failure that caused its photo service to fail. Up to 15% of the site’s multiple-billion photos displayed as nothing more than a question mark on Sunday night.

Facebook is already in the process of cleaning up the mess and restoring the lost files, but the failure is just another example highlighting the importance of making backups of our own data rather than relying on “the cloud” for permanence.

Facebook, Privacy and Drunken Photos

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

As a user of Facebook (not to mention a longtime net citizen) I am well aware of the slimy feeling one gets when their image is bared for all to see. The owned application comes to mind first – strangers ‘bidding’ for your uploaded photos on Facebook, with the owner of the ‘purchased’ photograph receiving an obnoxious “you’ve been bought by X” email. I haven’t posted any compromising photos of myself (that would be silly) but the thought of my image being a component of someone’s “collection” is creepy to me.

Enter sites like YoBusted; members post photos and tag for the public to see – if you are the subject of a particularly hilarious (read: embarrassing) photo, you can remove it by signing up to a $20/month membership. Although some have suggested that YoBusted’s business model is nothing more than simple extortion, proving that claim in a court would be difficult – and what’s to stop a copycat site from doing the same thing (they probably already are).

The solution: guard your personal data. Don’t fill your Facebook profile with personal photos – if you do post pictures, make sure to adjust your privacy settings so strangers are unable to view your profile.

Don’t post drunken photos of yourself on the Internet! It may be funny in the context of your friends but any content you post to the Internet is indexed, cached and eventually findable. Future employers (maybe future voters and journalists will search your information online; when they do, what do you want them to see?