Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
May 24, 200710:48 PM

A Facebook Birthday Lesson In Online Social Networks

At about midnight the SMS' started to flow and my Facebook Wall began filling up with Birthday wishes. It took about five minutes before I realized that I had entered my birth date in my Facebook profile several months back. Everyone who is linked to you as a Friend is notified on their individual Facebook page of your Birthday (which is a very simple and smart idea). While today usually slips under the radar (those close to me know that I love other people's Birthday's way more than my own), I was flooded with well-wishes, funny chirps and loving sentiments. Lots of them (thank you).

I can't recall ever getting so many Birthday wishes. Not by a long shot. This is all because of Facebook_ and that is an interesting prospect.

We don't always make the time to write a card. We don't always have time to even make a phone call. Some of us don't even send wishes by email, but - for some reason - there's a charm and cool factor in writing a Birthday wish on someone's Facebook Wall.

This begs the question: Are people excited because it's my Birthday or is it a blast to be playing with Facebook? Or, is it a combination of the two?

If we're linked as Friends on Facebook, I know who you are (and you know who I am). We both have each other's contact information (even if we don't, it's a simple search engine query away), but we are all enjoying the communal aspect of public well-wishing and this is an interesting online social network phenomena.

It's fun to see what others are saying. It's fun to read who's saying it and we all connect a little more because of it.

As with all online social networks, Marketers are trying to figure out how to leverage them beyond banner advertising and monitoring which groups are being formed around their brands by consumers.

After a day of well-wishes from people I don't get enough face time with, I started to realize that even if your real world connections lag and lapse over time, there is a new and strong bond through these online social networks, because they're fast, easy, fun and connected. Marketers are constantly looking for fast, easy and fun ways to connect to their consumers.

Offering friendship to your consumers in an online social network might be the first phase in engaging the community_ especially if you're doing it to be connected to your consumers by enabling them to connect and grow with each other.

After a day of Facebook flurry, I was flattered by the wishes, but even more fascinated by how these connections can (and should) be leveraged to engage your evangelists.

By Mitch Joel


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