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Just like video killed the radio star, Jay Baer has proclaimed that Facebook has killed websites. Is it true? Maybe. Polls (both national and among my contacts) confirm that people check their email and Twitter/Facebook feeds first thing in the morning and many times throughout the day. It is impossible to individually check every interesting website and to read every relevant article.

With 500 million members and counting, Facebook turns that equation on its head. Like the walled garden of the original AOL, Facebook can make the case that they already have access to all of your customers, so why wouldn’t you want to just ride their coattails? If there is a killer party with tons of people, a great band, and free booze it’s going to be tough to get a couple dozen people to leave to come over to your house to watch Jimmy Kimmel and eat microwave popcorn.

Jay has a point. (Though my friend Sabrina won around $20,000 on Wheel of Fortune because she watched Jimmy Kimmel the night before she went on the show.) Facebook has collected a tremendous amount of data on each user. From birthdays, email addresses and hometowns to groups, pages and things that you ‘like’ and the status updates you post, they know you inside and out. Additionally, there are more and more ways to connect your Facebook page to sites upon logging in, ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’. Think about it, Facebook probably knows things about you that your parents and closest friends don’t know, unless they comb your profile.

Personally, I think companies that ignore social media, especially Facebook, are missing out. They are missing out on customer interactions and true engagement. They are missing out on free feedback and quality reviews.

What do you think?

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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.

As I read through this article, “At Last — The Full Story of How Facebook Was Founded“, I had mixed reactions. I do think that Mark Zuckerberg could have been more helpful to and more honest with the Harvard Connection team. That said, Mark is smart. He did the right thing for his site and while he saw similarities between the two sites, he knew The Facebook was different (and better). I feel sorry for the Harvard Connection team but the truth of the matter is that their vision was limited and Mark saw the big picture.
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I do not, in any way, think that this story should impact how Facebook is viewed. I believe that Facebook is a great tool for people to share content and keep in touch with their friends and family. Facebook was initially created as a college site and over the course of six years, it has grown into a global enterprise. The Facebook team continues to make improvements on the site and expand server size. Businesses are now able to connect to consumers and use Facebook as a marketing/customer service tool.

I know that if I were Mark, I would have done the same thing. I also know that if I were the Harvard Connection team, I would feel upset and betrayed. The most important thing is that Facebook is great. The site is being well-managed and I do not want management to change. I wish Mark (and his team) and the Harvard Connection/ConnectU team success. The reality is, they all went to Harvard and the world is their oyster.

If your company has a Facebook presence, I am okay with it. However, if your company goes about this presence wrong, I am not okay with it.

If I like your business/product/service and you want me to become a fan of your page, I will become a fan of your page. If I really like your business/product/service and you want me to join a group in support of it, I will consider joining. However, I don’t care how much I like your business/product/service, I probably will not accept your company as a friend.

JCrew is an example of a company that I love and support. Become a fan of the JCrewAholics page here.


This article, by Mark Walsh, is about brands transitioning their ‘fan pages’ to storefronts.

‘”Social media is rapidly becoming a critically important vehicle for talking with our customers. Now, with our new iFanStore, we’ve opened up an entirely new sales channel for our seasonal, specialty blends,” said Helen Russell, CEO and co-founder of San Rafael, Calif.-based Equator, in a statement.’

The one thing this article doesn’t mention is the Facebook Marketplace. People have always connected on Facebook. Over time, people started connecting to their favorite brands on Facebook. People also started buying, selling and trading things on the Facebook Marketplace. It would have surprised me if these actions did not converge.

After giving it some thought, I am okay with brands using Facebook as a point of sale. I just hope that those brands don’t lose sight of Facebook’s roots – their first job is to connect with their consumers. Quality interactions with their fans will gain more sales in the end.

‘”What’s often ignored is whether the commercialization of Facebook will hurt its social feel,” said Shiv Singh, vice president and global social media lead at Razorfish.

He suggested that e-commerce activities should be presented in ways that don’t intrude on the conversational flow of Facebook. The success of an e-commerce venture via a Facebook page also depends on the product being sold. “I wouldn’t buy a car from within Facebook but I might buy a T-shirt,” said Singh. Or a pound of coffee?’

I came across Steve Rubel’s article ‘The Two Faces of Facebook‘ this morning and found it to be quite interesting.

Will Facebook follow in the footsteps of Google or AOL? My bet is Google.

The ‘reconnect’ feature recently added to Facebook (near the ‘friend suggestion’ on the ‘home page’) has received mixed reviews. However, I think this guy has the best take I’ve heard. I hadn’t realized the planning that the Facebook crew put into this brilliant new feature.

For the record, it is bad Facebook Etiquette to publicly bash people who Facebook ‘suggests’ you ‘friend’ or ‘reconnect with’. Enough said.

Sometimes you don’t have good cell service to complete a call but your spotty service can send a ‘status update’. In this case, a status update assisted in saving lives. This proves that people do care about and read status updates. Disclaimer, when possible, calling 911 is a better idea than updating your Facebook ‘status’.

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