Facebook, Mobile Conglomerate

June 12, 2012 § 1 Comment

When Facebook acquired Instagram in April, the general reaction was “there goes Facebook, out to save itself by buying out its competitors”

While there is some truth to the opinion that a dying Facebook is trying to save face by buying out the closest threats (see what I did there?), they have also been on the path to doing something more- saving themselves by taking their eggs out of one basket and dispersing them into others.

It’s kind of like Easter all over again. Conglomerate style.

This is the Facebook conglomerate Easter bunny. Don’t trust that look on his fuzzy little face.

So what does this mean in places like the mobile market? After all, Zuckerberg has been considering taking the popularity of smartphones into his own hands (literally) by considering creating a Facebook phone. 

Facebook has also bought out two up-and-coming apps: Karma, the instantaneous gift-sending app, and Glancee, the creepiest thing since Foursquare.

So what this means for mobile, my friends, is that Facebook can already imagine you picking up your Facebook phone, which through its Facebook apps will allow you to not only become friends with the nearest stranger within five feet of you and buy them a gift on command.

Oh yes, I can see it now.

It looks like this

But maybe, just maybe this is the way that things are moving. I move into my home under a rock next week, and you are invited to join me.

No Foursquare allowed.

TMI- New Technology Edition

June 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Your friend is having a burrito down the street, your boss is eating at the pizzaria in the next town over, and your ex is at home, watching TV.

How do you know all of this? Enter: the age of obsessive self-tracking

It seems like now more than ever, with the invention of tracking apps on most smart phones and tracking-based social networks like Foursquare, people are becoming familiar with, if not overly eager, to report their every move.

It is so common that the life stages of your Foursquare addiction have been officially defined.

So what’s the problem with that? Well, first of all, you are completely opening yourself up to being stalked, but at this point, most individuals in our exhibitionist society are simply asking for it.

Oh, and you are completely opening yourself up to some unexpected visitors

“I would like to thank you for your latest post on Foursquare- while you were out at the pub, I stole me a nice laptop. That is, your laptop.”

“oh!” you say “now who would ever do that to me?”

Oh, nobody. We all just run on a trust system here.

So what’s a Foursquare addict like myself to do? Shut down my account? Live under a rock for the rest of my life and avoid all human contact?

“Ahh- it looks just like home”

Nope, neither, because they are both horrible ideas and require cutting away from a social network many of us have come to rely on.

So what do do?

What I have done, at least, is to remove automatic posting from sites like Facebook and Twitter where strangers can more accessibly see where you are at ay time.

And I promise this won’t cause them to miss out on your all-important life update, because really, no matter how interesting you think getting smashed at the bar at midnight is, not everybody really cares.

Zurker: the Social Network Democracy?

May 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Lately within the blogosphere, there has been news stirring about a new social network supposedly built “by the people, for the people”

The network is called Zurker, a seemingly strange possible reference and personal address to Zuckerberg of Facebook himself. The site promises that members will gain a part of the stock of the company should it go viral, trading in “vShares” from joining and recruiting members. This virtual currency, it promises, will be exchanged for a piece of the company itself.

This morning, I received an invitation to this site and signed up immediately. However, some things perturbed me about the site itself- who is the creator of this website? Where is the contract I need to sign onto to become an official company partner? And most importantly, why aren’t you like Facebook, and why don’t you want our money?

And clearly, I’m not the only one a bit weirded-out by this viral act of “goodwill.” Social media conspiracy theorists are already having a blast with this one, even though the network hasn’t even progressed past beta testing.

“I look happy because you are, essentially, driving people away from your own social network without any of my help. Bravo!”

Zurker is doing what thousands of small social networks have (failed to) do: be the rising alternative to the “social networking dictatorship” behemoth that is Facebook.

But what really differentiates this network from all the others? You, too, could own apiece of it- not only this, but you also have a say in what updates the site makes through member voting.

“So you mean I could not only get the perfect social networking site and get rich just by sitting infront of a computer?” you ask. Well, if things go to plan, although nobody, not even the members of the site, know exactly what this plan entails.

While the site offers a share in the business, what is neglected is the concept that should the company gain steam and the value suddenly plummet for whatever reason, you can say goodbye to stock money and hello to being in the red. Simply, it is not a pleasant idea, and yet the site does not address it in the least.

Not to mention, that the creator, Nick Oba, has had previous experience in small, democratic, start-ups like Zurker; and not the good kind of experience. Most infamously, on his most recent venture, he worked to create a “by the people, for the people” entrepreneurial magazine called Fortitude, which ultimately crashed and burned, leaving members who bought into the business given no compensation but an IOU note.

image credit: rj55.com

It looked like this.

He did promise his desciples re-payment in the form of Zurker stocks.Good intention or horrible business practices? This one is up to you.

But not that any of this matters anyway; if the world ends this year, I am sure there is no need for social networking in the afterlife anyway.

Facebook’s New and Improved, “Oh So Subtle” Advertising

May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Breaking news: Facebook is getting uglier by the minute!

Just when you thought that the website couldn’t ugly-ify its advertising anymore, they managed to do it again.

Not only do profile now include side banner ads, but they also include full-blown, flashing banner ads, like the kind that peppered sites in 1999. And they’re everywhere now on profiles.

What makes this ad-ification even more wonderful? Facebook enabled users to create a neat little niche for themselves on the internet, allowing them space to build their own personal brand.

What adding blatant spam ads does is the equivalent of giving your child a new playhouse, only for them to find that it is built out of cardboard and lint-roller sticky tape.

image credit Movie Online inc.

“deal with it”

Here’s the thing; Facebook obviously had good intent (more so for themselves than anyone else), but it was executed horrifically. Simply put, business marketing 101: spamming user pages with paid advertising will not help you make friends, Facebook.

The last time I checked, the most effective way to advertise on Facebook was through word of mouth enhanced through social media. I am studying Marketing Communications, but hey, what do I know?

After all, Facebook used to be committed to bringing all of the social network without all of the ads to avoid becoming another Myspace

As a marketer worried for the brand image of this company, I have to wonder oh Facebook, what were you thinking? The company has already more than abandoned its vales, it has done the equivalent of dropkicking them into a city dumpster.

So what’s an internet megacorporation like Facebook to do?

Here’s one thing to start with- remove the banner ads, those invasive and irritating banner ads that are now at the top of everyone’s timeline because honestly, people don’t enjoy competing with per-click ad space for room to self-express.

Secondly, allow users more room for personalization, without going overboard. The company has long lost its “your own very special corner of the internet” feel in favor of a cookie-cutter profile that allows for next to no personalization beyond your name and picture.

And lastly, give me $100 per Facebook post, an executive seat on the board, and some pink fuzzy dice to put on my car mirror. That’s the most important part.

But not really.

Social Network Insanity

May 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare, Twitter, Google+, tumblr; these are just some of the social networks I am a part of.

Not to mention the accounts which I have tiered to one another through applications like GetGlue, Pinterest, and WordPress. And honestly, it’s enough to make you go crazy.

Yet, being at the forefront of technology is a must in Marketing Communications, which requires me to be an active part of one of one thousand networks.

If you are a member of two or more of these networks regularly, I have a simple question for you- WHY?

why, why, why do we need 2,000 different social media platforms to talk to the same 300 people. Actually, perhaps even less; Dunbar’s Number suggests that the average individual can only keep an average of 100-230 sustainable relationships at once. (a sidenote to friend hoarders on Facebook- I knew it all along! You probably haven’t talled to ALL of your 1,500 friends in ages! Hah!)

The answer: to keep public and private live separate, in different social networks so work and play stay at distance to one another.

what could go wrong?

A lot, actually.

I’m going to call it social network insanity, and it’s not pretty.

image redit the Shock Doc Show

Twitter, Facbook, tumblr! What has the world come to?!

That was a picture of me when I woke up this morning. Don’t judge.

It’s characterized by hours spent creeping on the personal lives of Facebook friends, making 140-character-or-less tweets after every mundane activity throughout the day, and compulsively watching television for the sake of getting a virtual “sticker” that you have no hope of having the joy to actually see or hold in real life. Social media addiction is rough, true story.

But there is hope, and it’s called social network partnerships for the sake of my sanity, dear God.

It begins with social networks simply acknowledging each other’s existence and making their platforms less hellish to use simotaneously. New social networks like Branch Out, a professional social media platform akin to LinkedIn has already worked to lessen our insanity by providing their social network in the context of the already popular Facebook.

Twitter now enables tweets to be posted on Facebook as does GetGlue and Foursquare.

However, at present there is no single platform to really integrate these forms of social media, creating headaches for more than a few of us.

Facebook is trying, twitter has no hope, and GetGlue is the largest source of Facebook timeline spam I have ever seen. And it’s all right there, on a single timeline. Like dog vomit.

Image credit Puppy Dog Web

Aww- I take that back. How can that face not make you smile?

So the question now is, is there any hope for the social networking giants to put on their big-kid pants and join hands in a circle of love and friendship?

To Be Continued…

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