Posts Tagged facebook

Facebook resources

I emailed these basic articles on Facebook to our faculty, thought I’d post here as well.  These are just a few of the seminal pieces that set up the environment.  News about Facebook comes out every day.

Two research articles from Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication:

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August 21/22 roundup

On Web Strategy, a post about Facebook’s new “Engagement Advertising” program. It’s based on an interview with Tim Kendall, Director of Monetization at Facebook (which, by the way, is the worst job title in the history of job titles;  the word “monetization” always makes me cringe).  What the new program does is allow for users to comment, purchase virtual brand-related gifts, become fans of certain ads and brands.  You might wonder why someone would want to do that.  It all depends on the nature of the ads.  From the post “Brands will only succeed with these “WidgetAds” if they create content that puts community first, lean on new interactions, integrate with other tools, plan for the long haul, and change how they measure success –traditional internet advertising tactics won’t apply.”  I’ve heard this referred to as social ads (except Facebook seems to define social ads in the 3rd party realm – see below), and has been described as organic.  Basically, people are engaging with products and services all the time, talking about what they like and don’t like. Word of mouth has always been a very powerful method of advertising.  Now brands are trying to engage word of Web, more or less, by using the social graph on sites like Facebook to encourage conversations, comments, interaction with their brands. The post says that Facebook will offer this to only a few brands at first, then later in the year a more comprehensive rollout.  The post also points out that this is unlike the failed Beacon or what is proposed for Facebook connect, in that it is not a 3rd party strategy – getting data from third parties about users activities and posting to Facebook. There’s also a neat list of Facebook’s “marketing toolset” that would be worth covering in Mass Comm courses: engagement ads, standard ads, social ads, traditional banner graphics, Facebook pages – fan pages, event features, Facebook Connect – like OpenSocial remains to be seen how successful, and Apps (brands become associated with successful ones or even make their own).

Here’s a quickie – Michel Gondry, famous director (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is directing some new Microsoft commercials starring Jerry Seinfeld.  Not sure how much hipster cred Seinfeld has these days to compete with the Apple ads, as the article states. But, most significant is that agency  Crispin Porter + Bogusky is responsible for the $300 million campaign. They typically know what they are doing, but it’s usually in interactive strategies, not 30-second spots. Look for the ads to start on Sept. 4.

Here’s a good TechCrunch on one of Facebook’s weaknesses, music. I have long said that the only reason that MySpace is still a player is because of the music sites it hosts. For many bands, it is their Web site, and has become an important way to communicate with fans, labels, venues, etc.

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Time article “Who Will Rule the Internet?”,8599,1811814-1,00.html

Josh Quittner writes in Time on the future of the Internet, what will be the next great platform?  He identifies three major parties, Apple, Google, and Facebook, all approaching the industry in a slightly different manner. I like the Marc Andreessen quote, “Trying to decide which will win is kind of like debating whether beef, chicken or lobster is going to win the market for food.”  This isn’t a horse race, so I wish we’d stop treating it like one. There’s probably room for elements of all three strategies. But, it is interesting to study the diffusion of technologies and try to predict the “next big thing.”

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MySpace Goes Social

Just a couple of items around the news today to discuss. MySpace has started what they are calling a “data availability initiative”. They have developed a series of tools to help people recreate and update their profile on other sites and the ability to “export” friends to other applications. This seems to be inline with where the social networking sites are going, playing nice across the Web rather than focusing on engagement within the platform. That is just what Mark Zuckerberg said about the shift in Facebook’s strategy in 2008. But, as the article highlights, Facebook’s openness has thus far been limited to the interaction with developers of their apps. Same with Open Social.

To me, there are two key directions for social media. One is in developing tools that help people manage information across social networks, places like FriendFeed and Social Thing come to mind. These sites provide tools that allow you to manage your profile, integrate your feeds, and update your status across networks. But, this MySpace announcement shows that these individual platforms can do things that can facilitate integration. Honestly, the winners will be the ones that provide the tools that are most useful to users. I think that news sites could learn a lesson here.

The other direction for social media is in these niche social networks. I have one that I started for former students at Ning allows users to make their own social network, so it you love cats, or are a fan of Halo, or really like pizza, you can start a social network for those like you. But, this strategy compounds the need for the 1st strategy above. Since the first of the year, I have joined six social networks, not to mention being involved with several blogs. My participation has been disorganized and inconsistent. So, while I agree that social networks around specific, maybe local, interests will be important, it will only be so to the extent that people can manage these spaces.

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Facebook to get a new look

Looks like Facebook will be unveiling a new profile design in the coming weeks.  This article, written mostly to alert developers of the change, outlines the new style.  The new profile will contain five main tabs, Feed, Info, Wall, Photos, and Boxes (name to be changed later).  Users will be able to add tabs and access all their apps via a dropdown menu.

The new feed will allow stories to be published as one-liners, short stories, or full stories, giving the profile owner complete control over how they appear.

Timeline for changes is that developers already have access to documentation. In a few weeks, Facebook will open a developers’ sandbox for testing. Then, a few weeks after that, users will see the change.  So, thing early to mid June.

The article summarizes with a good point. “Facebook must embark on a major user education campaign to help users understand the new tools they have to organize application content on their profile page (specifically, moving boxes between tabs and adding new app tabs) and share application content with their friends (specifically, the new feed publisher).”  Some of these things appear complicated, and if users need an “education campaign” to understand Facebook, I have a feeling they will go elsewhere.  The sheer simplicity is what has driven most of the usage of social networks.

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Andreessen to Facebook?

With all the talk about Microsoft and Yahoo this week, did we all forget about Facebook? This was in the news today: Facebook wants Marc Andreessen on its board. You might remember Andreessen as the founder of Mosaic, later became Netscape. He was the Internet darling of the mid-90s. Now, he’s one of the owners of Ning, where I have WebPubNET hosted, a place where you can develop your own social network.

Facebook also recently hired some folks from Google, trying to get some grownups in their house. It’ll be interesting to watch as Facebook grows up.

Now, back to Microsoft and Yahoo. Here’s a Charlie Rose where Michael Arrington and Andrew Ross Sorkin discuss. They’re pretty rough on Yahoo, expect Yang to be replaced, and they say that Google is really the big winner. I’m not sure I agree. I would say that Yang knows what he is doing, but then again, he hasn’t done much since they let Terry Semel go.

And, as far as Microsoft, rumor has it that they are talking to AOL. Too bad they can’t develop their own expertise, branding, products, and services in house…

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