Old Media. New Tricks.

Facebook = The Internet

Posted on: October 29, 2008

More than 8.5 Million Canadians have a Facebook account.  23 Million Canadians have access to the internet.

In other words, 1/3 of Canadian internet users are easily found in one place.

Facebook is more than just a social network, a place to find old school friends.  For many it has become the internet.  There is no need to go to any other page than Facebook.

On Facebook they can share photos.  They can instant message.  They can interact and comment on each other’s posts and status.  They can join groups and manage calendars for events.  They check email. They can read news and posted links from friends.

Think about it.

Facebook = Flickr = AIM = Twitter = Blogs = Forums = iCal = Email = RSS.

In other words, Facebook = Internet.

It’s great to be on the cutting edge, finding out about Twitter and blogs and vlogs and all sorts of social media tools, as Stephen Jagger discusses with the Vancouver Sun, but if you don’t stop and realize that the critical mass of internet users are just discovering Facebook and all that it can do, you’re missing the biggest piece of the pie.

People want the internet (and computers) to be like a toaster.  They want it to be easy to understand and they want it to “just work.”

That’s the angle Apple is taking with marketing their computers.  They just work. They’re easy. Not complicated.  In other words, Mac = Toaster.

Facebook works the same way.  Once you’re in that world, there is a huge community surrounding you with everything you need.  Why go to Flickr to share photos, when you can get them in your Facebook Feed?  Why go to Twitter to update your status, when the status is right there on Facebook?

Those deeply involved in social media will understand why Flickr is better than Facebook and why Twitter is better than Facebook, but the mass audience doesn’t have the time, energy or desire to seek that information out.

They want things to be easy, they want them to work.

For those in broadcasting, we can’t afford to get niche.  We need to find where the broad spectrum of users live, and hit them there.

For 8.5 Million Canadians, that’s Facebook.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

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7 Responses to "Facebook = The Internet"

I suppose you could view places like Flickr as niche though do consider that to win the influencers in photography you won’t be finding them uploading to Facebook (whose terms of service would release all rights of their photos to Facebook). They will be on Flickr.

Sure, you can update your status with Facebook notifying your graduating highschool class of your daily minutia but what impact is this community involvement going to have for you compared to the infinite random connections and possibilities of your daily Twitter status being indexed by Google and thus available to the entirety of the web? A few months ago I was tweeting about my difficulty executing a particular programming task when, all the sudden, I solved the problem. I tweeted my triumph and forget about it. A few days later I received a request for a quote from a company looking to solve the same problem. Serendipity? No. Problems are common.

Starting with Facebook is a good idea for anyone looking to share a message. If the message wants to be exceptional then it should participate in the conversations of the people who shape opinion. Facebook is a brilliantly executed walled garden. And you get far less out of it than what you contribute into it.

Facebook has moved beyond the high school reunion phase. It’s a legitimate network where people are active with a current social circle, not a past one.

I was at a car dealership recently for a maintenance appointment. The receptionist had Facebook open on her monitor.

As a broadcaster, that’s who I’m targeting.

Yes, Flickr is valuable for photographers, Twitter is valuable for networking with programmers.

If you want to BROADcast, then you need to use Facebook.

A lot of companies I find are creating groups/pages/advertising for Facebook. I even saw the Facebook logo on a ramp at a motocross on TV.

I hear random people talk about Facebook everyday.

Though how long will Facebook be around for? Look at MySpace, it was pretty big when it first came out and now it’s shit (I never liked it but that’s from a web designer/developer standards view) but it was popular with a lot of people albeit more on the younger side.

Facebook I find is still for the younger generations. Look at the number of ‘Friends’ people have. I have currently just over 100 but I culled that back from people I don’t keep in touch with (i removed 100+ people from my list). I find that people in my generation we have between 50-200 people as ‘friends’. My sisters generation and younger (talking about 22yr old and below) they have over 400 people.

I use Flickr for posting photos or highlights of my photography because the demographic is larger. I don’t have to approve you to see those photos. I use Facebook for posting photos in which I can tag people/friends. I keep my albums (77) on Facebook to ‘Friends Only’ and upload medium quality resized photos to limit the chance of Facebook using them.

Facebook is good for what it is…but to call it the internet drives me insane. It’s like when people tell me their Internet isn’t working… they usually mean IE isn’t showing them a web page. *sigh*

I’m not saying *don’t* use Facebook to share your message.

Also consider who are the thought leaders who would discuss your message also? Find their respective places on the open web. Talk to them. Hugh Mcleod coined the term ‘Global Microbrand’ captures this idea of opening a conversation with the people directly and, while an older concept, it is still relevant in this context.

Broadcasting, *was* uni-directional. You talked to them. They listened.

With the internet, millions of people are talking to each other and you can’t just shout over that crowd. There’s too many of us. It is faster, and more effective, to get them sharing your message with each other. In order for that to happen: you have to participate in their conversations. You have to be exceptional. Facebook is just one channel.

Great post! Was a good morning stretch for the mind. =)

@Tyler you have to remember this blog is targeted at old media managers… radio/print/tv people who are trying to compete in a world where their content models are becoming ineffective.

i’m trying to serve up ideas for broadcasters here. it’s not about early adopters, or niche ideas, it’s about how radio stations can use new media to keep the younger generation interested and find new ways to let soccer moms get interactive.

as i said to brian, there are many reasons why all the other things are better than facebook, but for radio and tv and newspaper, facebook is the best place to take the first steps to creating an engaging and interactive experience with current users and the next generation of users

it’s not the finish line, but it’s a good place to start

oh, and here’s the best part:

i dont like facebook either.

Add the twitter app to Facebook and then you can update status to both groups at the same time. Twitter = thought leaders and early adopters and Facebook = everyone else. For me it enables me to communicate to both of these target markets. My podcast traffic comes from:

1) Google
2) Twitter
3) Facebook

In that order. Why make it either / or. Why not do both with the same amount of effort?

http://www.twitter.com/shanegibson

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