Article Archive by Theo Bennett

February 10 2009

Are You Facebook-Friends With The Guy In The Flowered Thong?

by Theo Bennett

In my last post, I chronicled my first seven days on Facebook.  Since that post I’ve added my profile photo and reached out to only two people to request their Facebook-friendship.   Both were old colleagues, who were suggested to me, and we also ran in the same social circles.   Even with that level of in-activity, I still acquired 70 friends in a month (And 14 pending.) 

One of the engaging components of Facebook is the ability to connect and stay in touch with most of the people that you’ve met.   This is also one of the worst features.

Remember that guy that wore the flowered thong to the beach party?  Guess what:  He wants to be your Facebook friend.   And your ex-girlfriend from High School: She’s here too and she wants to know how you’ve been.  What about all those nameless faces with whom you’ve crossed paths over the years?  Yep, they’ve “friended” you and can’t wait to re-live old times.

So choosing with whom to be connected can be a challenge and a barrier to making Facebook your friend.  Which invitations do you accept?  Does your landlord make the cut?  And do you want him to know about the “kegger” at your place this weekend? And that old high school girlfriend:  Didn’t you break up for a reason? As I recall, it was a bad breakup and she has a lot of dirt to scatter into your Facebook life.  But, that innocuous request and the “How have you been?” may prove too much for the social animal within you.  As for the rest:  Who are these people and why can’t you remember them?  Does anyone have any Ginkgo biloba?

We are all very inter-connected and Facebook helps prove that point on a global level more so than any other social networking site.   If you’re not yet a true-believer, read what happened this past weekend at London’s Liverpool Street Station.   With a simple post to his friends, a Londoner caused a mass gathering that shut down this critical hub in one of the great cities of the world.  From a marketer’s perspective: therein lies the power of Facebook.  Should you have the creativity to craft a well received campaign; it can quickly spread like wildfire through the parched kindling of Facebook profiles everywhere.

As for the guy in the flowered thong, reach out to me on Facebook and let me know if I should accept or ignore his request.

December 22 2008

Seven Days of Facebook

by Theo Bennett

At the risk of dating myself, I’m proud to say that I was an early adopter of e-mail, Windows 95, Google and many other online technologies that truly made life easier and kept people informed. And while I quickly saw the value of Instant Messaging, the chat room never really appealed to me.   So is Facebook the new chat room?  Does it make my life easier?  Those were the questions that I posed to our Tweeters, Facebookers and MySpacers at our recent holiday party.  I got a lot of blank stares and long-winded answers, so I decided the best way to answer the question was to use Facebook for one week. 
Day 1
Signup – a few red flags here: Why are there so many personal questions and why do they need my birth date? (If you connect with me on Facebook, I want you to know that I am not really 103 years old.  Please do not call The Today Show on my next birthday.)  My strategy during sign-up was to dip my toe into the Facebook waters and reveal as little as possible about myself — I put in my name, and the name of my high school.  Once enrolled, I became a fan of the MoreVisibility Facebook page and stare at my blank wall and nearly empty profile. (According to Facebook your birth date is required to comply with the US Child Protection Act.) 

Day 2

I opened up my e-mail to find that a friend from high school has sent me a friend request.  My first thought was, how did she find me?  Friend request accepted, now it’s time to check out her Facebook page.   Apparently my restrained approach to Facebook was way off.   In addition to incriminating photos in your profile; several times a day I’m supposed to reveal:  Every detail of my life, my inner feelings, thoughts, and all activities.

Day 3 

Someone wrote on my wall? (Your Facebook wall, as I’ve learned, is a section of your profile where others can leave you notes and gifts.)   How could they allow someone to clutter my austere profile?  Apparently there is no rule against this and it’s actually encouraged.   

Day 4

What is a Good Karma request?  I thought I actually had to do good things for people in order to receive positive energy from the universe.  In the world of Facebook, all I have to do is ask for it!

Day 5

Is Facebook the only online company name that is not a capitalized contraction?  Shouldn’t it be FaceBook?

Day 6

More people are looking for me on Facebook?  Today I received another friend request, this time from a former co-worker — how are these people finding me?  I feel a little too exposed and vulnerable to accept.
Day 7

I relent and accept the friend request, only to get several more from old acquaintances and co-workers that are connected to him.  This is clearly not the place for anyone in the witness protection program.   I view the other pages and am truly shocked at the level of activity and the personal connection to their profiles.   Facebook users are addicted to and engaged in their community.  
After one week of using Facebook I can’t say that I have a definitive answer to all of my questions.  But, I do know that Facebook is much more than a chat room and I have warmed to the concept.  I realize that, like LinkedIn, Facebook has the power to quickly connect you to the people whose relationships you value.   Does it make your life easier? Is it supposed to?  Facebook’s goal –and real value– seems to be to help people easily share information, and for that Facebook hit’s a home run.   

– 140 million active users and growing with 100 million international users.

– More photos are posted on Facebook than the next 5 photo sharing sites combined. 

– More events are publicized on Facebook than any other site (4 times the next event site.)

– Users are engaged and spend more time on Facebook than most other Social Media sites.

Are you a Facebooker?

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