Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 3, 201110:14 PM

Facebook Isn't (Just) A Destination

Is Facebook a valuable Marketing tool?

The general discussion (or debate - depending on which Blogs and/or articles you read) about Facebook as a marketing engine seems to be both a little misguided and a little shortsighted - all at the same time. I hear a lot of Marketing professionals talk about loosing interest in Facebook (some of them have even pulled the plug on their profiles). There's this feeling of Facebook becoming the next Friendster of MySpace. Early adopters (and people highly engaged in these online channels) tend to eat their own. It's part of the online circle of life. From my perspective these people tend to view Facebook as a destination. The new and improved iteration of the early portal play of the Internet. Beyond the early adopters, Facebook continues to grow - across demographics and psychographics.

Facebook isn't just a destination. It's a platform.

When Mark Zuckerberg and his team talks about helping people to connect, he isn't just talking about on www.facebook.com. He wants them to connect anywhere (online, mobile, tablet, etc...) and everywhere (on other websites, Blogs, etc...)... he just wants Facebook to facilitate that connection (and have access to that data) - wherever it might occur. If you can see Facebook more as a platform than the destination where you see whose Birthday it is today or who posted some racey photos of themselves online, you can begin to see how the bigger pieces are starting to click together in this very interesting puzzle.

If you pay attention to anything, please pay attention to third-party logins.

We're seeing more and more of this. First, Facebook untethered the "like" button - allowing Blogs, websites and even e-commerce sites to enable people to "like" something. Pushing that further, some Blogs now allow you to verify your comments by validation through Facebook Connect. Just this week, there was news that Facebook is about to launch a more robust version of their commenting system (more on that here: Mashable - Facebook To Launch Third-Party Commenting Platform) which will allow users to post content to websites by logging in through Facebook. The feature is also reported to include threaded comments that can also be "liked" and the comments can also be synched on the publisher's site and their Facebook page. Think about it this way: if you comment on this Blog post using this new Facebook commenting system, it can also appear on a Facebook page.

It's hard to abandon Facebook when it's everywhere.

With each picture that you post and friend that you add, your ability to walk away from Facebook decreases. It decreases even more as Facebook makes it easier and easier for you to access your friends and what's going on in all of the places you frequent online. Gary Vaynerchuk (Wine Library TV and Crush It) often talks about the huge opportunity that Facebook Credits will bring... and I agree with him. If you can store some money in a Facebook account (like PayPal or iTunes) and pay for anything just by clicking a button to connect your Facebook profile, this will facilitate a huge amount of transactions.

And let's not forget about mobile.

While some think Facebook's mobile strategy is lagging, I'm fairly confident that they have people in their organization who understand the mobile imperative. More and more of their users access Facebook through their mobile devices. And, more and more people are also using third-party login on other sites to connect their Facebook profile. Facebook sees, knows and understands their web analytics. Think about the potential of third-party logins via mobile that seamlessly allow you to access Facebook Credits as well. Simply put: easy mobile commerce.

Facebook is not perfect.

We all know Facebook is not perfect (security, privacy issues, etc...). We also know that any platform with over 500 million people on it is going to struggle to adapt and grow to meet the ever-growing needs and requests of their audience. The company will fumble and drop the ball many more times (than they already have), but it can't be denied: Facebook is not a destination. Facebook is a platform that allows people to connect. Not just to one another... but to everything.

When we begin to accept that Facebook isn't a destination and that it is a platform to connect and communicate, it changes the game (a lot), doesn't it?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Bob Phillips
    Mitch Joel

    I know I'm one of the Facebook users that is barely scratching the surface of how it can create deep connections, not just saying Happy Birthday to someone I knew in fourth grade. Any suggestions on resources available to take Facebook to a deeper level would be appreciated.

    Reply
  • Posted by Kate Elphick
    Mitch Joel

    Not to forget that Facebook is also improving its search functionality to provide you more relevant information based on your profile, behaviour and peers.
    Soon it will beat regular search engines which can be manipulated by SEO in terms of the value of its search results to the users.

    Reply
  • Posted by Kneale Mann
    Mitch Joel

    With a third of the world's online community having a Facebook profile or page which represents about 600 million of us with an average of 130 friends and more than 200 million access the site once day from a mobile device.

    Facebook mobile users interact with the site twice as much with over 200 mobile operators in 60 countries. There are over 30 billion pieces of content shared each month including 2.5 billion photos. And over 10,000 new websites integrate with the site every day.

    This "destination" seems to be catching on.

    Reply
  • Posted by Frances Schagen
    Mitch Joel

    Facebook is not a destination in time either - it continues. The conversation carries on continually.

    Reply
  • Posted by Richard Toker
    Mitch Joel

    ...and because its a platform, enterprises need to commit time and resources to experimentation and development for the platform, just as IT departments do for their Windows OS or retail marketers do for their planograms and so on.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Even being skeptical about Facebook - meaning I simply don't use it for personal matters but purely for business - I can't deny the monstrous impact it's having on modern society. Once you create a robust product, it's natural to be willing to spread its influence outside of its boundaries, hence the introduction of external Likes and Logins.
    Mobile goes towards that as well, and I am sure 2011 will see a lot more moves in this direction, 'cause quite frankly that's the only logical step to take at this point.

    Reply
  • Posted by Laura Katherine Smith
    Mitch Joel

    I definitely agree that Facebook is more than a destination. Although we may utilize it as this, there is a deeper meaning behind what it can do for us. We just have to be willing to accept and explore the options that Facebook is more than simply uploading photos and posting a status. It is absolutely a place to share information that is valuable... it's almost like the post office- a place where information is passed through and sent to appropriate senders, except instead of going directly to a single or few senders, it goes out to anyone interested in viewing the content.

    Reply
  • Posted by Charles Baratta
    Mitch Joel

    Facebook has been a big help for my business. Almost 90% of my connections in their are my business contacts and only about 10% are personal contacts or people that I really know. That's because it can help me find people that I need and want. I don't believe that facebook will be the next friendster or myspace.. Friendster was very popular last decade until Facebook came.. But is there something else that can surpass facebook?

    Reply
  • Posted by Parissa Behnia
    Mitch Joel

    Admittedly, I developed my marketing chops during the times when email marketing was considered cutting edge. That being said, I see Facebook as a connecting device not only online but also offline. More access to people creates ways to blend your online and offline lives either because you wouldn't have met them but for the online platform or you wouldn't have found out about events, etc., but for the online platform.

    People bemoan technology for creating anti social behaviors and I do agree that we've become uncivil because it. However, in the past year I've met so many wonderful people "IRL" because of my interactions online: Facebook, Tiwtter, etc.

    Regards,

    Parissa Behnia
    678 Partners

    Reply
  • I agree that Facebook is underestimated in what can be achieved with a small business but its definitely about building contacts that makes an impact. Top post.

    Reply
  • Posted by Jeff
    Mitch Joel

    I think the real BLAMMO statement made here is:

    "Think about the potential of third-party logins via mobile that seamlessly allow you to access Facebook Credits as well. Simply put: easy mobile commerce."

    Like a punch in the face. Should this (ie. when this..) feature be introduced, the ease with which people will be able to click on a shared link in their feed, browse a site, add to cart, and then purchase via FB all without having to enter a separate username/password, will change the game. Not only for those marketers/businesspeople you've shared have left the site altogether, but for small business right on up to the biggest corporations everywhere.

    FB isn't going anywhere, and like most in this comment thread who are eager to learn more and better employ their FB account, I too am gonna have to pull up my socks or be left in the dust. We owe it to our customers.

    Speaking of FB, I just finished watching a recent video at #smetv with Mari Smith that is well worth the 10mins or so. Some of it is elementary for those reading this blog I'm sure, but refreshers never hurt.
    Cheers,

    Reply
  • Posted by Elisabeth Bucci
    Mitch Joel

    If only those CEOs who block Facebook in their organizations would read this blog post. A Facebook-like collaborative platform, unhandcuffed by hierarchy, would make my job as a Project Manager so much easier. And it would practically eliminate those ridiculous emails...

    Reply
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