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I appreciate that Facebook is trying to stay on the cutting edge of relevancy. Word is that they are testing a ‘Related Photos Feature’. Are you a part of the test group? If you are, I’d love to hear about it.

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With articles like this on Mashable every other day, I figured I’d ask what you think about the Facebook privacy issues.
Do you care if your information is shared? What’s the difference between that information that is available to anyone vs. your friends? What is the difference among the various networks, like Twitter, Linkedin and MySpace, and their privacy settings?

Your commentary is appreciated.

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:

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.

Did you know you can choose who sees your Facebook updates? Sounds appealing to me. You can now divide your Facebook friends into lists and choose who can see each of your posts. Find out how you can keep your updates private by reading this Mashable article. You’re welcome.

I came across the Please Rob Me site a few days ago. I don’t use Foursquare, so I felt that Please Rob Me wasn’t relevant to me. However, a friend sent me this article and I’ve given the general concept some more thought.

In case I’m speaking in Pig Latin, I am referring to status updates. When you send an update, you are letting the World Wide Web know what you are doing. In the case of Foursquare and Please Rob Me, you are letting the WWW know that you are not home.

I love status updates and will continue to send I’m not home type updates. However, I do this knowing that I do not live alone and I have a doorman, three locked doors and at least five security cameras between outside and my apartment. If you live in a less-secure situation, you might reconsider broadcasting your empty home to the world.

From the Your Facebook profile: An open invite to crime? article, “Posting ‘My big-screen TV is awesome, wish someone was gonna be home enjoying it, but everyone’s gone for three days’ isn’t the brightest move in the world,” says this one police officer I know from Facebook.”

The Vourlis twins awoke on the morning of their 20th birthday and logged on to Facebook, expecting messages from friends but instead discovered the horrific news about the accident that had taken their brother’s life the night before. My condolences to the Vourlis family, the Naylor family and the Coleman family.

Read the Daily Telegraph article here.

Read the CNET article here.

Read the Mashable article here.

Dear Rad Tattoo Getter,

Please wait until the gel, puss, blood, scrapes and scabs are gone before posting your macho tattoo pictures. Those of us who are afraid of needles might find them interesting if you can wait until that point.

Thanks,

Everyone

This is a true story. This actually happened to a friend of a friend.

When using a public computer, make sure you log out of Facebook before you leave. When you are on a Mac, make sure you actually ‘quit’ the application, don’t just close the internet browser. If this hit my Facebook ‘wall’ my grandma would be mortified to say the least.

If there is a baby in your Facebook ‘profile photo’, I will assume it is your baby. All of your ‘friends’ will too. We might stalk you for a few minutes to verify the facts and find out how pregnant you got.

(*This t-shirt is available for purchase here.)

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