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Social Media Doses, Online Presence, and Ads

posted by DL Byron on May 29, 2008

I was recently asked by Creativity Magazine to discuss Facebook and how I’d redesign it. Thinking about something brilliant to say, and considering the problems with the various Social Networks, I talked to them about dosing Social Media, how I lamented online presence, and other pithy observations. 


The first problem is that once you figure out that the Facebook “friend-finding magic” is actually rather robotic and rote, it’s really tedious to read all the status updates from all your friends. Just like in real life, you have acquaintances, friends, and best friends. Facebook doesn’t know which friendship you value more and there’s currently no way to tell Facebook who’s your Bro’ or someone you just met. I’d like to dose my Social Media and favorite my friend’s updates and value some above others. An example is Gretchen whom I met at a conference and would like to hear from her at a maximum of once a month, in small doses. While Lara and Dan from Biznik, I want to know what they’re doing right now; especially with all the planning going into Bizjam Seattle 08. Full-on dosing of Lara and Dan!

I also despise Facebook ads so much, that I started a mini disinformation campaign and posted totally random messages to skew their ad demographics (sticking it to the man!). Despite what they’re claiming, there’s nothing smart about their ad placement. I don’t want a timeshare in Florida, a Wordpress theme, or Buzzmetrics for my blog. It’s not that hard to place ads that don’t annoy your users. Facebook’s competitors do it and do it well. The ads also must not fall into the unfortunate Uncanny Valley, where they’re tracking you to close or anticipating what you want in a crappy manner. In contrast, see how well Amazon suggests items to you. Not the least bit creepy, but sometimes it may think you’re in love with someone or something by mistake. And if so, you can tell Amazon you’re "not interested." 

There’s talk online about Facebook jumping the shark and what any company should do is focus on what they’re good at. For Facebook that’s finding your friends and not annoying your users. A Facebook redesign should make finding friends an amazing application that works across Social Networks. Which brings me to the second problem. All of these networks are currently not talking to each other and they all expect me to create another online presence. Why can’t they import my Flickr photostream, YouTube videostream, or Address Book contacts? Until that killer app comes along — Google et al are working on this — I’m not planning on spending any time uploading my photos to Facebook so they can run freakin’ ads on it.

Finally, and what I’ll talk about at Bizjam Seattle, is how Social Media is another overly-hyped, mystifying, mysterious thing for business people to consider. Straight up for a business, there is no ROI on Facebook. There is however much community building you can do around events, product launches, and so on. There is a practical approach to Social Media and I’ll discuss that at length.


Refacing Facebook, the article from Creativity Online.

Related links

Cross-posted to Biznik

Beware The Look of Web 2.0

Social Media Essentials for Small Business

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