Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm a little iffy on this new Facebook

A long time ago...maybe, say, 3-4 weeks ago, back in the good ole days, a company could create a "fan page" on Facebook and advertise that page based on people's interests.

After the 2010 F8 Conference, "fans" became "likers." It didn't exactly have the same ring to it, but essentially, a company's relationship with Facebook remained the same. Be engaging, get people to like you, build brand.

A few days after all of those changes, Facebook launched the other side of the new "Open Graph" model. Now, a person's interests, schools, and places of employment are links to pages. TechCrunch has a pretty good summary of these changes.

Although my friends represent only a small portion of the people on Facebook, and I am fully aware of that, I have yet to hear a person, friend or not, say that they are really happy about these changes on a personal level. The main beef is that Facebook isn't giving you a choice. You either link to pages or your interests are deleted. Seems a little dictatorial.

The problem, on the business side of things, seems to be a many-armed beast, if you ask me. These new pages are inspiring a lot of people to delete their interests all together. Many of my friends noted that the people they are connected to probably are aware of what they are interested in anyway. I myself haven't really looked at my own interests in a couple of years. If tons of people start deleting their interests rather than link to these new pages, the capability of running targeted ad campaigns to promote company pages is going to be highly hindered.

Another issue which I haven't seen a whole lot of talk about: Facebook just became the newest SEO battle. Companies should now position themselves to target keywords that might be interests but might not be 100% pertinent to their business. To me, this will thin out the value of "likers" on a company page. If they are linking to you because they like bananas and you are an ice cream manufacturer, that's kind of okay but kind of not. I also wonder if companies who may or may not have created their page with a strategy in mind are keeping up on their page demographics. It's an easy enough thing to monitor, but now it will require more time to successfully target Facebookers, and time is a commodity not a lot of people have in droves.

I know that a lot of Social Media gurus are really excited by these changes, but I have yet to be impressed. The possible negative ramifications for company pages are being predominantly ignored, I think. I am also not impressed that Facebook is building their new "community pages" based on imported data from Wikipedia. Why not comb peoples' info and get experts on the topic to participate? It might not be any more credible than Wikipedia, but it would be for Facebookers by Facebookers.

I'm sitting on the sidelines and I'm not getting up to leave just yet, but I'm not getting up to applaud just yet either. Convince me I'm wrong!

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