This is a post I started in December of last year, then wandered away from for client work. There are a lot of these abandoned ideas that flounder in my drafts folder over the course of a year, and part of my December ritual is to clean them out if I deem them no longer relevant. I think this one is more relevant now than it was then, though the reason has changed. So, what did I intend to talk about? The way other people’s carelessness impacts you, and the way your own apathy compounds the error.
Since my most recent post was about leaving Facebook and already mentioned the privacy violations and user information abuses inherent in its code, let’s start with that network as our example. On Facebook, it doesn’t matter what your personal settings are for privacy. If you interact with people and brands on Facebook anywhere, in any way, your interaction is visible outside your trusted (or, in some cases, semi-trusted) network. As a user I find this infuriating, as the site design itself encourages invasive behavior and an erosion of the understanding of individual boundaries. Brands, however, love this, obviously. What is fine for you as an individual (e.g. clicking like or commenting on a stranger’s post – shown to you because a vague work acquaintance or maybe your cousin “liked” it, friending someone’s unstable family member – whom you have never met – because you think being connected tangentially on Facebook gives you permission to do so, sharing a post when it’s clearly set to “friends only” and not meant to be shared) is a violation for someone else. We wouldn’t behave that way in person, putting people’s privacy at risk (well, except photographers, but that’s a different rant), but people freely do so online. Stowe Boyd saw this challenge coming years ago when he talked about publicy vs privacy.
At the request of many friends and family members, as well as folks on social networks I see struggling as Timeline on Facebook is rolled out to everyone, I made this quick video tutorial.
In under ten minutes it will help you regain control of your Facebook privacy, tame your news feed and silence noisy updates and ads. In the next video, we’ll cover even more in depth ways to be private on Facebook when not using Facebook at all isn’t an option for you.
Please believe me when I say that I fervently wish reports of Facebook’s pending doom like this one were true. I just can’t agree, however. I think it is the wishful thinking of a tech press, sour investors and tech savvy professionals that don’t like the platform, and that it doesn’t take into account some key factors.
The most significant factor this prediction ignores is the human element. I agree that Facebook is evil and manhandles our privacy on a regular basis. I’d love to see people stand up and fight to prevent the significant changes the careless use of Facebook on a regular basis has made to our individual concept of accepted privacy vs publicy and how those changes are (negatively) impacting our society. The chances of that happening are slim to none, however, no matter how hard people like myself advocate for vigilantly guarding your right to privacy.
Completely ignoring the added issues of Facebook’s impact on how we think, our workday and our offline relationships, we can’t ignore one thing Facebook has mastered: it’s users behavior and emotional need to connect. Facebook has inserted itself into our lives in a way that MySpace and Yahoo simply never did. It’s crossed a barrier between generations that neither of those social networks were able to cross by finding a way to coexist across age limits, careers and demograhics. MySpace never really resonated with the parents or the grandparents in the way Facebook does – they got lost in the glare and blare and glitter. Yahoo never really resonated with kids past a certain age the way it resonated with an older demographic. Facebook manages to straddle the line.
The second factor that the article ignores is iteration. Many would choose the over-used term innovation here, but that’s not accurate. There is not a lot in the way of true innovation going on in tech right now. However, the company that can spot trends and iterate fastest across the most demographic touchpoints will win, and for the foreseeable future, like it or not, that company looks like it’s going to be Facebook. The only way I see Facebook being completely gone by 2020 is if the internet (or the concept of a nextnet, whatever this space becomes over time) is itself gone. As long as we can connect, Facebook has shown a willingness (and budget) to iterate itself into our lives continuously.
Some say marketing will be what kills Facebook over time, but I disagree there also. Facebook has made it quite difficult for the average marketer of the average company to see success on their platform, and that is very intentional. They want to straddle the line of paying the bills and keeping the user enthralled, and you can’t do that as a company if you let marketing run the show (see this piece on GM for one example). Companies that play well in the pool, like Ford, see success, but others struggle, unable to see beyond traditional, limited marketing rhetoric. This ability to force marketing to act on the sidelines and to put the users into the marketing stream via stories is a third thing that will keep Facebook relevant far longer than most expect.
The fourth and final key element to the longevity of Facebook is their New York Yankees style growth plan. If they can make it, they do, and if they can’t make it, they buy it (disclaimer: Red Sox Fan). There is a lot of talent out there toiling away at various startups or under the umbrella of stodgier existing companies that will have plenty of ideas and technologies for sale to keep Facebook strong for years to come. Jut because some pundits think that’s a lazy approach, or some purists think you should create these things for yourself, doesn’t mean that buying talent or tools doesn’t work. So far it seems to be working far better for Facebook than it does for Google, a company who tends to ignore or kill the majority of the cool tech it buys.
How do you come down on this argument? Do think the projections of Facebook’s demise are greatly exaggerated or correct, and why?
I did a brief talk as part of a series of sessions by a very interesting and diverse group of music industry types at music 2.0 in Boston, MA this week.
I thought I’d put up the slides and record some fresh audio to give everyone a refresher.
If you can’t see the QuickTime movie below for whatever reason, Google Plus for Music is also on my Slideshare channel.
One thing I didn’t go into in my talk, mainly because it was a little advanced and I only had 15 minutes, was the Hangout With Extras feature. I highly recommend checking this out if you are an artist looking to collaborate as it pulls in Google Docs (lyrics) and other features to allow you to actively talk, chat, edit and record while in a Hangout. It’s the little blue link that appears on the “get your mic ready” page when you begin a Hangout.
I hope you found it useful. Here is this morning’s transcript
I’m currently interning with a very small company that has taken on the admirable (and challenging) task of rekindling the flame of local radio in Manchester NH, and my background in media studies and audio production has elevated my role to more of an operations manager.
I’ve recently been exploring the ways in which our social media accounts interact with our website, and I’m trying to determine which functions are better provided by one medium over another. In short, our website provides our listeners with tremendous functionally, such as a blog, audio and video clips, press releases and survey questions, and our strategy has largely been guiding our audience to this website through our radio show and our social media accounts.
My question is this: is it more productive to pull Facebook/Twitter users away from those sites and to our own unique website (which we also sell ad space for), or is it more effective to cultivate stronger and more interactive relationships on these accounts alone, or some combination of the two? At time it seems counterproductive to pull users away from an environment in which they already happy interact (Facebook/Twitter), but our ability to monetize our own website is important to our business model.
Thank you for your input!
First: It is always better to pull people over to your site whenever possible for the simple reason that you OWN it. The TOS (Terms of Service) of Facebook, especially, dictates that any photos or other content you upload to their site, they own and can use for profit. They are doubling down on this with their upcoming social ads, that actually will pull comments from people’s public fan pages to sell their products. It’s always better for the business to keep full ownership of their content and full control over what they post and how it is used.
Second: You can’t control how users prefer to use the internet, and the fact that folks are already comfortable with Facebook, etc and are already there means that yes, a presence there is key to your business surviving and thriving. The trick is to instill some kind of app or other mechanism that allows the user on FB to enjoy your content that you are producing on your site – not all businesses have the budget for this. If you don’t, then have a thriving presence there centered around conversation with your fans and use that to bring them out to your site.
I use Hootsuite to manage my account and those of my clients. It is free for one user but more users cost money. One reason I like it – it lets you see when someone has replied to a customer already if you have lots of people on one account.
Seesmic is another option, totally free, for one person to use. It’s really nicely done and clean.
Another is Twimbow – a free app that lets you sort your stream by color and other cool things.
If you like stats another one that isn’t completely free is PeopleBrowsr.
If you are a larger business you might want something more robust, like Meltwater Engage (formerly JitterJam), the Awareness Hub, Eloqua, etc.
There are hundreds of apps out there to choose from, though, so if you don’t see one you like up there you can look at tools like SocDir.com to find more.
1) Make sure your Twitter account is not protected – protected accounts are hidden, so no one can find you to follow you
2) Use Twitter search to find people talking about things you are interested in or topics relevant to your company – then join the conversation. You don’t have to be following someone to reply to them on Twitter! It’s by nature a public conversation and public news feed – jump right on in. Then, if you get a dialogue going, you might find that those people are people you want to follow and that want to also follow you. The #Discover area on Twitter.com is also useful for finding common topics to talk about with folks you haven’t met yet.
3) At an event? Find out the hasthag and jump in on the conversation there and share your event photos etc using it. For example, Social Media Breakfast NH uses #SMBNH every time we have a breakfast so attendees can find each other and find content relevant to the event. Also make a list of the attendees to follow, and make sure you are on any public Twitter Lists for the event as well.
4) Jump in on a live Twitter Chat. A great one is #blogchat on Sunday nights, but there are a ton of chats relevant to you. Check the full list here (or add yours to it if you have one you host): docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhisaMy5TGiwcnVhejNHWnZlT3NvWFVPT3Q4NkIzQVE
5) Get into Twitter habits. For example, @CSPENN is know for his link sharing #the5 now (among other things) – people now expect him to share his five best links using that hashtag. Find your “thing” then make it a habit
This is just the tip of the iceberg but it should get you started!
I like that Pinterest addressed the customer service aspect of the issue by putting control into your hands – if you look on their site you see they now provide site owners with a bit of code that allows you to opt out of having people “Pin” your content.
Remember: the trade off for these free sites is YOU: is your data and your content. Protect yourself.
LePress: organize courses, make assignments
Lesson Plan Book: Calendar of lessons
Possibly Related Classroom Projects pulls in relevant projects from DonorsChoose
Then there are a ton of plugins for calendars, histories, timeline visualization, visual content enhancement, and collaborative editing that are useful but not classroom specific.
Find other teachers like @ldpodcast @johnherman @holden @scastriotta etc on Twitter and talk to them about what they use also.
There are also USB charge packs (look for one with the right connector style for the iPhone – some are meant for other phones). I keep USB charge packs in my house for my Android phone – it’s saved my bacon in a few NH ice storms and outages to have them around.
Facebook Timeline for Business switched on for me today. Usually what I do is evaluate it then give clients recommendations after I’ve used it for a while, but frankly I thought it would be more fun to take a quick video of me futzing around with it for the first time, just like y’all might. This video is what a quick mental assessment of a tool for my own business looks like on the first time I see a change. Be rest assured, however, that while this video is a (very) casual look at what it looks like for anyone on day one, there will be more advice coming from me on this, because it radically changes the strategy of most businesses on Facebook.
1) Be Visual – This is graphics heavy. Your cover photo is your best place to make a sale now and the wall is simply there to reinforce it with customer engagement.
2) Try out different page views to see what works best – it seems to me on first look that different types of business are going to see differing successes with Highlights, Friend Only, Other, etc. For example, in a vertical where customer engagement and reviews are key, the tab highlighting the posts of others might be a great choice.
3) This puts the emphasis on your admin tools and your metrics/insights, which should solve some of the on-ramp and learning curve issues Facebook has faced in the past. This is also good because not enough people have been utilizing insights – a powerful tool for business – now you have no excuse. They are front and center in the admin panel.
4) This is supposed to create a history of a business but it doesn’t really. Too many businesses out there had special circumstances caused by Facebook’s own on-ramp issues and lack of certain features. Take Magnitude Media, for example. Once upon a time we focused on wine and were named Uptown Uncorked. Then we branched out, and have a few years where we helped more folks but still had our old name. When we rebranded, Facebook wasn’t allowing merging of pages – this means we had to start fresh. So did a lot of other businesses. Therefore, M2 looks like it started last year but in reality it just lost the previous page because of another FB issue – not being able to rename pages if you have more than 100 fans. Even Coke, world famous soft drink, had to buy a page that was started by fans – if they had not been able to do that as a major brand, they wouldn’t have a history either since they didn’t get on board early. So, Facebook wants to show the story of a business, but through their own faults with a lack of features (edit, page renaming or merging if more than 100 fans, etc), these stories aren’t complete.
What are your thoughts? Put them in the comments!
Double click to play, single click to pause:
(If the player below doesn’t play well with your browser, or you don’t have QuickTime, you can also view this video on SlideShare)
[qt: http://magnitudemedia.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/TimelinePreview.mov 540 300]
UPDATED to include this post by friend Cappy Popp from ThoughtLabs (he literally wrote the book on Facebook). He agrees with some of the assessments I made, and takes it a bit deeper for you. Enjoy!
UPDATED to include this from Jay Baer – a spot-on post about the detriments this has for small business. “14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business – Smarts on the unfortunate evolution of Facebook from
@JayBaer http://ar.gy/02vA “