Facebook: the final frontier…for now

Monday, 10 September 2007

facebook.gifWhenever I hear people complain about how useless or annoying Facebook is, one thought springs to mind: “you’re not using it correctly.” Which, I’ll admit, my young and frequently judgmental mind has been known to translate to “you’re too old” (ok, maybe it’s two thoughts, so sue me). My point is, anyone who doesn’t see the value and huge marketing potential in Facebook is missing the point.

fbpro-copy.jpgRobert Scoble has been knocked for spending too much time on Facebook, by people who I assume don’t understand how powerful of a business tool this social network can be. Scoble says that he “hope[s] they stay in the dark,” but I disagree.

When a large group of non-believers try to demean the legitimacy of Facebook’s influence, they also devalue the people who use this network for marketing and hiring or recruitmyspacelogo.jpging. While I don’t think they need (or probably could) become devout Facebook converts, I do believe that it is time that everyone recognized Facebook for the tremendous power it has.

Facebook has surpassed MySpace in terms of “coolness” and usability, adding an insane amount of features through Facebook Apps. With the exception of profile backgrounds, everything that Myspace offers is now available on Facebook, and it’s usually faster, easier and more customizable. There are also tons of features that MySpace doesn’t even come close to competing on, such as iLike, a song challenge that tests users aural ability and music knowledge, then ranks them against their friends and the rest of the Facebook community.

As a marketing tool, Facebook is genius. The Facebook profile form encourages users to “tell all,” creating a clearly defined audience that is a marketer’s dream. Anyone can create a Facebook “App,” or application, that adds cool functionality to the user’s profile and allows them to interact with the app’s other users. I anticipate Facebook App development becoming a crucial part of many marketing plans very soon. If a company can develop one of these free apps that is cool enough to be picked up by heavy Facebook users, and unique enough to distinguish their product, they’ve got huge viral marketing potential.

Facebook also plays a very powerful role in the business world. An active “Facebooker” will include enough information in their profile to make it seem like you know them, before you’ve even spoken. To a potential employer, this is a hiring goldmine. Facebook encourages users to reveal personal details well beyond the standard academic major and degree information found in a resume or cover letter. Photos, lengthy likes and dislikes lists and personal commenting features provide a very telling description of a candidate as both a person and an employee. The screencap at left shows just how much information you can cram into a page…and how much anyone can find out about you.

Any product, person, store or service looking to target the 15-25 age range better warm up to Facebook—and fast. Don’t believe me? Check out my profile to see just how much you can find out about someone. If you still think it’s a silly waste of time, you’ve already been left behind.

1 Comment

  • [...] applications we should develop for clients with my boss at the 9-to-5er yesterday (after my very pro-Facebook post), and I realized part of the reason why I’m so protective of it-I practically grew up with [...]

    Pingback by Alison Driscoll » More-on Facebook — September 11, 2007 @ 10:56 am

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