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Word of mouth and a Facebook event triggered thousands of New Jersey high school students to participate in a walkout yesterday. The event’s current attendance is over 18,000.

According to the Mashable article, “The event was organized by 18-year-old Michelle Ryan Lauto — a Pace University student who once attended high school in New Jersey. Lauto decided to take action after Governor Chris Christie announced that he would be cutting $820 million in educational funding for next year, according to the Hartford Courant.”

It’s great to see social media bringing such a large group of people together for a cause. Many people say that today’s youth are apathetic and self concerned but this proves otherwise.

Check out footage of the protest:

Is this a new trend? I hope not.

In the article, Son Files Harassment Charges Against Mother for Facebook Posts, “Denise New’s 16-year-old son filed charges against her…after he claims she posted slanderous entries about him on the social networking site. New says she was just trying to monitor what he was posting.”

Are there legal rights that a parent or child have in this situation? I believe that minors should be monitored in the social media space. If they are taught to post appropriate material at a young age, it seems they would be less likely to post inappropriate things to the internet later in life.

“In a document from the Clark County prosecutor, [New’s son] alleges she hacked his account, changed his password and posted things that involve slander about his personal life.” Arkansas’ harassment law states that harassment occurs when “A person commits the offense if with purpose to harass, annoy or alarm another person without good cause, he engages in conduct or repeatedly commits acts that alarm or seriously annoy another person.”

New says she “read things on his Facebook about how he had gone to Hot Springs one night and was driving 95 m.p.h. home because he was upset with a girl and it was his friend that called me and told me about all this that prompted me to even actually start really going through his Facebook to see what was going on.” After brushing up on my Arkansas geography, Arkadelphia to Hot Springs is just under an hour drive. I’ve read before that it can be more dangerous to drive tired or upset than driving drunk, so I don’t blame Denise for trying to get some more information on this joy ride.

New isn’t going to give up. “Oh yeah, I’m going to fight it. If I have to go even higher up, I’m going to. I’m not gonna let this rest. I think this could be a precedent-setting moment for parents.” Good luck Denise, win this for the worried parents of the world.

Fans must have been on the mind yesterday because Direct Mag and Jay Baer both wrote about them.

No, not that kind of fan, Facebook Fans.

The Direct Mag article informs us that “Brands will no longer be able to have fans on Facebook. But fear not: They will be able to make friends instead.” At first glance, this turns me off. I am not a fan when brands create normal Facebook pages, rather than Fan Pages. In fact, as I have said before, I usually do not accept a brand’s friendship. However, the article stated a couple of interesting facts: “According to Facebook, users click “friend” buttons almost twice as often as they do the “fan” links; the average user becomes a fan of four pages each month.”

Upon reading further, “Facebook alerted advertisers in a memo it will be changing the “Become a fan” button on brand pages to one that lets users say that they “like” the brand…The “like” status would show up in users’ status updates and news feeds just as the “fan” status currently does.” Now this, I like. Becoming a ‘fan’ of a page seems to be more of a plunge, it insinuates dedication. ‘Liking’ something is easier to accept. From a marketing standpoint, this is fantastic. It will give brands more of an in for interaction.

Jay Baer’s post, Does Your Facebook Page Have a Pulse?, talks about the next step.  “Your Facebook fan page needs to be a thriving, growing, active center of engagement between your company and its best customers. Too often today, fan pages are lifeless Yellow Pages ads, with a couple of photos and a stale wall that’s updated twice monthly.” If you simply create a page on Facebook as a placeholder, you aren’t using it to its full potential. You should have a strategy behind Facebook, not a summer intern. Your brand needs to interact with its fans/friends. The information exchanged needs to be valuable for the consumer and you should be measuring your successes. Your successes are not just the number of fans you have because numbers are meaningless if nobody interacts with your placeholder page.

Put in some effort to make your landing page look nice. Call your fans/friends to action, even if the action is to go to another site that you interact with more regularly. Jay Baer calls out Mint, “When you go to their page, you are automatically directed to…become a fan now. That starts the conversion ball rolling.”

He also explains how to change your landing page, ” log-in to a Facebook fan page where you are an administrator, and clicks “Settings” underneath the status update box. Then, change the pull-down called “Default Landing Page for Everyone Else” to be whatever tab you prefer.”

Last, I will reiterate the point of interaction. If you have people seeking out your brand on Facebook, becoming fans/friends/liking your products – DO SOMETHING. Have a contest, create an app or a game that relates to your product. Have your fans/friends upload content. If they really like your brand, they will be excited that you want their input and they will give it to you. Promise. Don’t believe me? Jay Baer provides these stats to prove my point:

A recent Idea Challenges launched by El Monterey Mexican Food (makers of quite deliciousTornados frozen taquitos) showed eye-popping results in the first 72 hours:

  • 550 user content submissions
  • 18,000 ratings and comments on those submissions
  • Average engagement of longer than 4 minutes

Wow. And with all due respect to Tornados, they aren’t exactly Mountain Dew.

The challenge you face now, is not to get the most fans/friends that you can. It is to have quality interactions between your true fans/friends and your brand. Once you do this, your numbers will naturally rise because people will want to be a part of what you’re doing. People will get jealous of their friends’ quality interactions with you. People will get excited. People will get involved. Those people will help your brand grow, and grow, and grow.

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