“Has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have healthcare and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are,”—
Beautifully situated on a picturesque bend in the Hudson about a 90 minutes’ drive north of New York City, Newburgh does not look, from a distance, like a community mired in High Noon levels of lawlessness. But in actuality, it has less in common with bohemian Beacon, just across the river (“Williamsburg on the Hudson,” as the Times recently anointed it), than it does with, say, West Baltimore. Despite its small size and bucolic setting, Newburgh occupies one of the most dangerous four-mile stretches in the northeastern United States. “There are reports of shootouts in the town streets, strings of robberies, and gang assaults with machetes,” an alarmed Chuck Schumer said in a Senate hearing last year, describing the situation in Newburgh as “shocking.” With a higher rate of violent crime per capita than the South Bronx or Brownsville, little Newburgh, population 29,000, is the murder capital of New York State.
The armory has a basketball court, and on Saturday mornings, Gagliano coaches 3-to-11-year-olds. They are the most adorable, sweet, lovable group of kids, he tells me. Then he catches himself and adds, Yet some of them will be murderers.
Feels weird posting this on Tumblr. I love this platform and I think that it can only grow but with its recent $85 million venture capital infusion let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a spam fest, porn site or worse, gets cluttered with ads. - G
The New Facebook Changes and What You Need to Know in One Easy Post...
Mark Zuckerberg just finished his keynote address at this year’s F8 Developer’s Conference. As many people know, the changes to Facebook are vast because it hasn’t had a real big update since the “Like” button was added three years ago. Here is a notation of the new user layout and UX:
1. Timeline: Although users wall and photo section will still exist, users will now have a blank canvas that looks clean to post photos, life events, videos, etc. to tell a story about their entire life. In some ways, the design looks like the revamped MySpace and has a user interface similar to Tumblr’s dashboard. It’s basically micro-blogging for the 800 million masses on the network. The UI is one click simplicity so non-tech users won’t have too many issues adapting. Where the wall was more like Twitter, the timeline makes the profile page more like a blog that is capable of chronicling key moments in one’s life.
Also the user has much more control of what they see in their update feed. So simply pushing to accumulate likes is NOT going to be enough as Facebook continues to evolve the platform. It’s important to note that brands will need to earn their place in consumer’s news feeds every day by continuing to create and distribute content that is relevant to that particular consumer. Brands are going to have to push toward an engagement model and seek to get consumers more involved with their brand in which the user can create an exprience they will want to chronicle in their timeline for posterity.
2. Engagement trumps fan acquisition: The open graph will change from simply “Liking” nouns and places to actual verbs. So users can now note what book they are reading, movie they are watching, music they are listening to. This is similar to services ala GetGlue where one registers what actions they are involved in so their friends can see the information. This ties in heavily with the “ticker” feature ala a real time Twitter on the right hand side of the new home page interface. When I see that my friend Laura is listening to Black Sabbath, I can click on that and listen to this with her at the same time. This is similar to the features found within Turntable.fm
The music and entertainment integration is a huge step in that Facebook announced integrated partnerships with Spotify for music and Netflix for movies and TV programming. The latter will not be available in the U.S. until Congress revamps the movie video rental privacy act. And with gridlock in Congress, this could be deep into 2012. But with said partner integrations, the portal becomes more entertainment-driven which was a missing component since its launch.
3. More emphasis on applications less on community brand pages and communications: Apps have always been a part of Facebook since 2007 when the service opened up beyond .edu email addresses. But most were made with difficult developmental language, had to be accepted by the user to pull data (a barrier to entry) and didn’t share this information in one’s open graph. Now, all apps will be one-click added to a user’s timeline and when it is used, the information will be automatically pulled and shared on the user’s timeline for their network to see.
Key recommendations for clients:
It is recommended all clients discuss with your social media agency about the development and creation of a user-intensive application. The focus on an app is beneficial to your business in the following three areas:
1. B2C amplification: Brands that have a useful app will be able to spread their message to a larger crowd within Facebook. So if I add the Spotify app and I’m listening to music, my network sees what I’m listening to and can be tipped onto new musical selections. For example, a brand like Food Network* would be smart to update their app for users to be reminded about the brand, programming and recipes on foodnetwork.com. As people use that app, it is broadcast to their network that they’re using it and how they’re using it, tipping more of their network to the features of that particular brand.
2. B2B relationship building: B2B communication becomes more of a focal point in that a user can see what acquaintances actually enjoy in their life and what makes them tick. This helps in conversations about personal items that can be used for larger leads as relationships are built. It’s truly making the network a “Social Network” which it hasn’t been in the past two years as most people simply posted status updates and didn’t have the ability to share what they actually did in real time.
3. Data Mining Engine: Facebook has now transformed from simply a social network to now a huge data mining tool about every user on the platform. It has information about what sports a person likes, what music they’re listening to, who they communicate with the most, where they travel, what apps they use, etc. It’s 100% interest graph leaning. This will allow for brand advertisers to better target Facebook users for specific products they may find interesting. Although social ads will never go away since they make income for the network, the network has truly banked on social apps and user data information and interaction in today’s address.
Key recommendations for clients about their social media agencies:
The changes to the Facebook model also will change how a client interacts with its social media agency. The emphasis is truly on the social graph and social applications. It puts the keys of the Facebook car back in the hands of the developers and tech mavens. If you are using a social agency that has put most of my emphasis on PR and community management, ultimately development of a social application that helps tell a story will do much more for amplification of your brand’s products, programming, etc. than simple community management and PR. As noted earlier, because users have more control of their newsfeed, they can hide or ignore brand messages. As a result, status updates have to become story lines ala telenovelas that weave along and continue to involve advocates to make the story relevant to their personal timeline. Marketers will have to think beyond the simple accumulation of fans. The “Like” is way less relevant in the new Facebook. Social media agencies used for this purpose should be rethought in terms of a client/agency relationship. Marketers will have to work hard to earn their place in the newsfeed. Content will have to be super amazing. I personally don’t think a community and content strategy is enough. App development is key and is the future to success in the new landscape.
As a result of the changes, agencies will should have creative UX agents, developers and strategists to help provide solutions for clients. Because developers will get monthly reports on these apps, it’s one area which can show a CMO true ROI.
Although most of the comments have been negative, this is Facebook’s first foray into trying to divide the online experience into two areas. The web itself and Facebook. And this walled fortress may have the ability to continue to grow with the new features if users can get above and beyond the resistance to the changes.
Any additional questions feel free to hit me up on Twitter @djgeoffe
*Disclaimer: Food Network is a past client of the author and his wife is currently an employee of foodnetwork.com
*Disclaimer: This is the opinion of Geoffrey Colon and not any agencies or clients that I represented in the past, currently represent or will represent in the future.
In the past many of my rants have been about the stupidity of the music industry. Those who know my history know that I predicted the rise of Napster, MP3 technology, digital distribution and the collapse of the industry and the prevailing format which was the CD for a digital solution playable on many pieces of hardware.
Of course, I never was hired by a major label, was seen as too innovative for most of the fat suits that ruled that industry (I thought V2 and Richard Branson should have purchased Napster in 1999 which got me in trouble with the President who wanted to sue them not knowing what the technology even meant) and pretty much was very happy in 2002 when I traded in my A&R credentials for brand marketing. The industry has plummeted with music clouds and Spotify doing little to help revive it.
Now I’ve cut my teeth the past 11 years in a variety of brand/music integration, experiential marketing and was early on in Digital Word of Mouth and community management. And I must say, the recent ConAgra/Ketchum debacle has to be the dumbest thing I have ever witnessed in the past six years. For those who don’t know the story, Ketchum PR brought in some bloggers to a third-party site and told them they would be getting lasagna served to them by a high-class chef. Instead they were fed frozen, ready to cook lasagna.
First, let me just say that the thing that makes many social media strategists upset about this recent controversy is the fact that big brands and big agencies seem to have a lack of foresight and vision that it’s not 2005 anymore. In the past several years, brands don’t hold the keys to the car. Nor do PR agencies. Regardless of what their self-inflated egos tell them, the “consumer” and their conduits (in this case “bloggers”) have the control. If brands and agencies could do as those fat suits were unwilling to do in 1999 at the major labels and just adapt their marketing model, they would never have egg on their face. But many seem stuck in this “amplify at all costs” with “viral pass along videos for the masses model” which is what gets them into trouble in the world of social.
Second, this is an idea that never would have made it out of a brainstorm phase at any credible agency. It would have gone through all the “checks and balances” in terms of liabilities, legalities and moralities that agencies should provide to help shield their clients from potential blowback. I’m embarrassed for what happened from Ketchum’s perspective. They now have a lot of explaining to do to their roster of clients.
Third, how are people who have been at an agency for 11 years with no real social experience at a VP level put in charge of such a campaign? Or the better question, is why did they greenlight it in the first place? If I were the agency, I’d re-assign the person who was in charge to non-social media duties. I’ve done much less in the past that got me in trouble (like mailing prizing to bloggers without stating the FTC rules). This recent story made the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Gawker and has been passed along all over Twitter. You can do all the PR in the world but every new business pitch the agency does in the “social” realm will be met with resistance.
Finally, I realize many PR agencies are trying to ramp up their social media and digital word of mouth practice but maybe they should start where it matters, by actually hiring individuals who can help them in this area. I say this as a person who has worked at three digital agencies and has always felt the scorn from traditional PR agencies from potential clients during the RFP process and from clients who always wanted social to act like PR when it should not be handled that way whatsoever. PR agencies have a tendency of treating bloggers as simple amplifiers who will help them “blast loudly” through their PA loudspeaker what they want the mass audience to hear. They seem to not understand that social media is a niche tool, a microscope and not a loudspeaker. And that bloggers are real people unlike paid journalists. Many bloggers don’t like to be “in” on a “gotcha” video concept dating back to the 70s and certainly don’t like to be misrepresented or misrepresent their readers. How a “PR” agency didn’t understand this in 2011 makes me cringe.
I’m sure some people in PR will read this and say, “this guy doesn’t get what PR does and he should never be hired to work for our PR agency in the digital realm!”
But someone smarter would look at what I’m saying like a hacker is looked upon by corporate IT security. IT hires the hacker that got through their system because they know what questions to ask. PR agencies should do the same and hire digital and social consultants who have expertise in this area. Sometimes it’s important to have someone on the team that can look at every item from a 360 degree perspective. It’s not simply about the results and the impressions anymore.
So better solutions? Possibly something more unique is passing up bloggers altogether and inviting real people to partake in a taste test, rate it and post the findings on Facebook. There are positive ways to drum up publicity for sodium-filled food.
Going direct to the masses is what brands have to do. This is something PR agencies have no experience in but could be helped by social experts to usher in a new era. Just like record labels mean nothing in 2011, we could be saying the same thing of PR agencies in the next five years. They’ll have to hurry to catch up. Consumers hold the keys to the car and it’s accelerating and quickly leaving behind their traditional amplification methods in the rear-view mirror. - GC