Archive for April, 2012
About a month ago, I spent some time in New York meeting with a few cool cats from some top-notch marketing, advertising and branding agencies. Over drinks, I made a bold statement in front of my fellow marketers. I admitted I kind of hate Facebook.
It felt like the ultimate faux-pas as we are supposed to be the ones who are spending hours on Facebook (or insert any other myriad social network here), discovering and exploiting every opportunity to use social networks to increase peoples’ interactions with their favourite brands or helping people find new brands that might appeal to them. Or, at the very least, we should be reading the latest Forrester or Garner reports on how brands are using social networks to grow their customer base and revenue. It’s our job to love the new opportunities these networks have forged for us marketers.
Surprisingly, the others sheepishly admitted the same. That gave me an opening, whether they wanted it or not. I briefly (but passionately) ranted about how people are starting to act like big brands and only sharing the things that make them appear in a certain light. They want to show the world they have the best spouse, the smartest kids, that they read a lot of things written by intelligent and famous people, that they take really artsy photos, that they travel lots of cool places you haven’t been, that they are clever, sharp, witty, insightful, inspirational, worthy of our attention. It’s as though people have created a social brand and now they have to live up to it by only posting on-brand content about themselves. And what’s even funnier is we judge the success of our posts based on how many people interact with them, just like companies do! Things that get lots of comments and generate lots of likes are things we will say and post again. We feel like we struck a chord when we get a response.
I have to say, what Facebook (and other social networks) has done is really quite amazing. They have created the opportunity for ordinary people like you and me to create our own personal brands in a much bigger, more visible and public way. Here’s my real beef: When it comes to Facebook, people are acting like companies when, instead, companies should be acting like people.
P.S: I did add a post-script to my rant with my NYC marketers saying that one of the things I love about Facebook is my “Only for family” group that my cousin who lived in the Middle East for 20 years created. For the first time, I feel like I can genuinely interact with my relatives who are scattered around the planet and feel connected to them in a day-to-day way. And I get to see the new generation of our family growing up, finding themselves and becoming adults. So don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate everything about Facebook. It’s kind of ironic, but the very reason I first joined Facebook is still the thing I love most about it. I can connect with friends and families.