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Facebook Advertising Roundtable today on David’s Blog

I participated in an online roundtable over at David Berkowitz’s blog regarding Facebook, and some of the recent posts he made (see David Berkowitz gives Facebook Ads the Smackdown).

Inside the Marketers Studio – David Berkowitz’s Marketing Blog: Facebook Advertising Expert Roundtable: Jeremiah, Adam, Seni, Howard

A firestorm of explosive debate erupted on this blog recently as a record number of comments were posted to a discussion on new abuses from Facebook relating to its Social Ads and Beacon advertising offerings. There are over 70 comments, and they all add color to the conversation.

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Susan Mernit hits a problem on the head

In her round up of Social Media moments & milestones to remember from 2007 Susan Mernit finds one really tough problem
 Susan Mernit’s Blog

Once we scale beyond the 150 or so people a high schooler might know, technology and standards become essential parts of the tool set and that’s the problem set no one has yet elegantly solved.

Since I couldn’t post the comment on her blog (I’m not sure if it took), I’m responding here:

Great post. I’m sure it’s not random that you used “150” as the number
of people a high schooler might know. It’s considered the Dunbar
a theoretical maximum number of individuals with whom a set of people can maintain a social relationship.

I’ve got 2x Dunbar number in Facebook and it is slowly driving me
insane trying to remember who some of the less-strong contacts are.
I’ve kept LinkedIn down but it’s creeping past 200.

This is a difficult problem in that the systems we have aren’t
providing good tools to create sub-groups. Facebook just came out with
something called “friend lists”…post=7831767130

but it’s really just list management.

I hope 2008 sees a way for us to more clearly designate not just lists
of friends, but contexts in which we want to communicate. I know some
party folks I want to see pictures from, but I don’t care what bands
they listen to, etc.
Not a trivial problem.

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What I’m reading this weekend

If you’re interested in Social Media, here’s the must reads from Friday on the web.

1. Geoff Livingston, Co-Author of Now is Gone (on my reading list) holds forth on “Vapor Gurus,” people who put forth theories and ideas with nothing to back them up:

More than ever vapor gurus stress the need to deliver cases studies and real world examples to back opinions up. Chip’s column sparked great discussion, but there were no examples of everyday companies who have had great successes using his suggestions. His suggestions may be correct or demonstrate that there is no black or white truths (just shades of gray), but where are the proof points?

I look forward to meeting Geoff when he comes to NY for his book signing, hopefully with my friend and his co-author Brian Solis.

Next, I’m reading what Chris Brogan is saying in this great piece,
Marketing is NOT Social Media-Social Media is NOT Marketing:

Marketing is a discipline with lots of emphasis on channel thinking, on campaigns, on message shaping, on control and covering all the bases.

Social media is a set of tools that permit regular people access to potential audiences of shared interest. These tools give voice, give preference, give rise to individuality, give flexibility, collaborative opportunity, and a whole lot of other things that don’t resemble traditional marketing the same way gym class felt absolutely nothing like social studies.

I’m not going to give away the punchline, and much of the value of this is in the discussion in the comments. Thanks for the weekend reading, gents.

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Facebook making people angry

In case you were too busy preparing Turkey last week, I’ll give a basic review of the issue. Facebook’s Beacon program (already questioned as a possible “Privacy Nightmare” by GigaOm) lets users share their own data about what they like and dislike with other facebook users. An example might be Fandango or other movie service letting everyone know I bought tickets to “Enchanted” this weekend. I did, take the kids, it was adorable. But that’s not the point. I’m sharing this because I choose to. A bunch of people are finding out that stuff they didn’t realize was being shared, is.
Jason Calacanis clearly summarizes The wonderful horrible life of Facebook users and their data (or, “data hogs get slaughtered”) noting the 3 major things making some customers of Facebook feel, well, icky:

Facebook has done three things that are at once extremely innovative, extremely rude, extremely helpful, and extremely disconcerting:

1. They are collecting and republishing user data on a level not before seen by users.

2. They are allowing advertisers to use this data to reach these users.

3. They are not giving this information–information that has put their value at $15 billion–back to their users.

Doc Searls summarizes one possible set of responses in these two articles.

Time To Write Our Own Rules And Making Rules, II where he notes:
What we need instead is to make tools that work for us, and not just for them. We need to invent tools that give each of us independence from vendor control, and better ways of telling vendors what we want, when we want it, and how we want to relate — on our terms and not just on theirs.

For my clients and friends trying to understand the current bru-ha-ha going on, the above articles are must-reads.

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Dinner Last Night at the NYSE

Thanks to my friends at Corante, I was invited to a dinner put on by Susan Bird for her WF360 Awards, at the NYSE HQ on Wall Street.

I was able to spend a few minutes at the cocktail hour speaking with Jeff Jarvis, Jack Meyers and Cynthia Ginsburg (see photo). (The entire photo set is on Flickr.)

We discussed TV, TIVO/PVRs and a bit about what people are watching, while standing in front of the new Fox Business Channel booth on the floor of the exchange.

Jeff, who among other things is famous for the “Dell Hell” discussion on his blog a few years ago, told me that in last week’s issue of Business Week he got a chance to interview Michael Dell (here on video) about how they’ve learned to listen much more effectively to their customers. Mr. Dell says in a very candid, bloggy way:

“These conversations are going to occur whether you like it or not, O.K.? Well, do you want to be part of that or not? My argument is you absolutely do. You can learn from that. You can improve your reaction time. And you can be a better company by listening and being involved in that conversation.”

Great quote, and an article worth reading whether you’re a competitor to Dell or a small business.

It’s always wonderful to catch up with Isabel Walcott (in black) and Francois Gossieaux (pictured here with me). They seem to be doing some interesting things at MarketHum. I hope to learn more.

I also got a chance to speak with Heath Row for the second time this week, as he had visited Social Media Club on Tuesday.

At dinner I was at the “Storytellers” table,
and met several interesting folks, including Susan Danish of the Association of Junior Leagues International. From their site:

The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

We had an excellent discussion on how many of the Junior League chapters are using social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace to connect their members. An example is the NY Junior League on Facebook (note, Facebook login required). Susan told me how the members are helping the organization to see the value of Social Networks and that the individuals involved are moving the organization forward and getting their message out in new ways.

I look forward to interviewing Susan in more depth to learn what new things are developing because of these social community connections.

One other unique feature of the evening was that WF360 had put cards from their “Leading Questions” series on the tables. As a group we discussed a few of them, and we received a copy of the set (along with some other nice schwag) in gift bags.

All in all a thought-provoking evening of good conversations.