You’ve been Facebook culled, don’t be upset

You’ve been Facebook culled, don’t be upset

If I was to make a prediction for 2013 it would be that it will be the year of social network normalisation.

You might of noticed you’re no longer friends with someone on Facebook, perhaps you go to send someone a DM on twitter and they’re not following you any more .. maybe you want to get rid of some recruiters on LinkedIn who keep messaging you… you’re bang on trend for 2013.

…and yes, whilst I’m relying on mostly anecdotal evidence I do believe there is a trend towards what I call social network normalisation.

For me this takes 3 forms:

  1. considered posting
  2. friend reduction
  3. network rationalisation
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Facebook to become the new MySpace in 2012?

No I’m not years out of date… I’m pondering if Facebook has gone too far with privacy, over-sharing and continual changes that it’ll go the way of MySpace i.e. in decline and then mass exodus?

This is a post I started on Feb 15th (originally titled “Is 2011 the year Facebook goes into decline”), I wrote a post about the life-cycle of social networks but wasn’t bold enough to publish it – I wish I had.

The recent changes (and impending change of profiles into timelines) on Facebook for passive sharing (read, listened) from explicit sharing have generated a lot of debate:

Is Facebook’s seamless sharing wrong or not?
(both from RWW amusingly)

…and there are plenty more discussing these changes in minute details, I’ve added my thoughts to the second of those posts in the comments.

There is a more philosophical question here that I haven’t seen asked yet – what are the factors that make people change social network?

Let’s think about MySpace vs Facebook and some of the factors that caused the exodus:

  1. MySpace had the critical mass, it was the clear leader until a couple of years ago.
  2. Facebook offered a simpler, cleaner interface that made connecting with your friends easier.
  3. MySpace got bought by News Corp and was seen as a big company rather than a cool young upstart.
  4. MySpace “got old”.

How do these stack up with Facebook?

  1. Facebook is the clear leader, that could change.
  2. Facebook is rapidly getting more cluttered and the volume of information is creating, in some, a feeling of information overload.
  3. Facebook is now seen as a big scary, privacy dismissing beast.
  4. Facebook has your mum, gran and aunty on it… it’s “got old”

If people leave Facebook it will be because:

  • They feel they’ve lost too much control
  • The signal to noise ratio gets out of balance
  • There is another big privacy issue
  • As a business user, they change the rules of the game too many times
  • The early adopters move to somewhere else and people follow

So where next?

Google+ ?

No, I don’t think so – It won’t be to go to more-of-the-same and whilst some wrote it off too early (before they launched business pages, was too early to judge in my opinion) Google+ doesn’t have these key differences the next big social network needs to become the new #1.

Who does?

I thought Diaspora could of been a candidate, it needs some muscle behind it to grow into those shoes. One thing I’m certain though is that the game is changing, users are uneasy and if I was Facebook I’d be worried.

As ever, I’d love to know your thoughts.

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Social media for events at LiveTech

I was honoured to be asked by the wonderful Tiffany St James and Dan Bowyer to speak at the LiveTech event as part of LondonLaunch:LIVE this week.

Here are my slides:

[slideshare id=9809857&doc=livetech-law-111021062053-phpapp01]

I spoke about Brand and Reputation Management, Social Media Amplification and adding the magic to your event.

And, as a good summary here is an interview I did afterwards to WinkBall.

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Slides from #fedcomms 2011

I really enjoyed speaking at the National Housing Federation #fedcomms event yesterday, in our session there were two 15 min talks, one from me and then Jamie & Michelle from Freebridge community housing followed by a panel discussion.

Here are my slides from the event, the rest are on

The discussion was especially interesting, some good questions and I carried on some of the conversations through lunch.

I feel we covered the brief well, with only 15 mins the goal was to encourage people to start thinking about some of the issues and not to try and comprehensively cover all legislation etc

+ sorry to those that had to stand at the back!

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Changes to the ASA CAP code and our survey results

Working with the team at Liz Lean PR we conducted a snapshot survey of 100 people (around Bournemouth, in February) to see what the general population were saying about their employers online and if they’d received any guidance from their employer on what they should say.

This was partly inspired by the upcoming (now live) changes to the ASA Cap Code:

“From 1 March, marketing communications on companies’ own websites and in other third party space under their control, such as Facebook and Twitter, will have to adhere to the non-broadcast advertising rules as set out in the CAP Code.” (Source: ASA)

A (massively) simplified version of the code would be: ensure that all your communications are legal, decent, honest and true.

We asked 4 questions:

  1. Do you use Facebook or twitter? (yes/no)
  2. Have you ever written about the company you work for on Facebook or Twitter? (yes/no)
  3. Has your company given you any guidance on what you can/can’t write on Facebook or Twitter? (yes/no/don’t know)
  4. Have you ever heard of the new ASA standards / CAP code? (yes/no)

Full details and responses to the survey in our press release on Pressitt.

The two key findings that stood out for me were:

  1. Half of all employees have admitted to writing about the company they work for on a social media website, such as Facebook and Twitter (49%)
  2. A staggering three quarters of those who have written about their company online either did not know of, or had no guidance from their employers regarding what they could or couldn’t write (75%)

Think about that for a minute, the implications that 1/2 of your staff are writing about your business online on social networks… and it’s not just the expanded ASA remit that needs to be considered, regulation such as the FSA could also apply to your business.

Liz Willingham, from Liz Lean PR summarises it better than me:

“The results of our survey highlight the importance of good communication from the top down. As ambassadors of your brand, employees need to be made aware and given comprehensive guidance on how to conduct themselves in all situations to protect the overall reputation of the company.”

We’re looking to put on an event for our clients after Easter, in the mean time if you’d like any guidance please do drop either of us a line.

If you want some interesting views from leading experts on the new ASA Cap code changes I strongly recommend this eConsultancy post.

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