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No I’m not years out of date… I’m pondering if Facebook has gone too far with privacy, over-sharing and continual changes that it’ll go the way of MySpace i.e. in decline and then mass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

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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First thoughts on Diaspora – the distributed social network

What is Diaspora?

Diaspora is a “privacy-centric distributed social network”, anyone can download the source code and set up a pod on their server meaning they have control of the information and user data on that site.

Every pod can talk to each other seamlessly, thereby creating a distributed social network.

What if I don’t want to set up my own social network server?

You don’t have too, there are publicly available ones, including joindiaspora.com and diasp.org.

Think of the pods/network as a bit like the way email is distributed, in that anyone could have an email server of their own or use a public one (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo…) and you can seamlessly email other people.

What does it look like?

It’s minimal in feel, uncluttered and most things are obvious after a short look around.

Diaspora Stream

Once I had an invite, it didn’t take long to set-up the account and connect it to my other sites (Facebook, twitter).

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SocialTech is dead… long live the RT Media social tech blog!

I’m delighted to announce that this website is now the RT Media social tech blog, following the merger of SocialTech Solutions Ltd. with RT Media Ltd.

Full details of the training and consultancy services we offer will be on the RT Media website with this returning to its original form as the (RT Media) social tech blog.

For immediate release:

Branding Gets Social with RT Media Acquisitions

Dorset based strategic branding and digital agency, RT Media, has completed the acquisition of two Bournemouth based companies – social media training and consultancy business, SocialTech, and creative agency, Ozone Creative Solutions.

Ross Thornley. founder of RT Media, explains: “We recently carried out a strategic review within the business with a view to increasing resources, skills and generating growth. Both SocialTech and Ozone complement our existing capabilities and will further enhance our offering, expanding our branding expertise into all online communications and leading to a wider solution for our international, national and regional clients.”

Founded in 2008, SocialTech has built a reputation as a leader of social media training and consultancy. Its clients include Channel 4, E.ON, Condé Nast and Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI).

Luke Williams, Director and founder of SocialTech, comments: “I’ve always held the team at RT Media and the outstanding quality of their design work in the highest regard. When the opportunity to merge our businesses became available it was an obvious fit, in terms of culture and approach, and as a logical extension of their brand communication to offer an extended range of services.”

As a total creative resource, Ozone Creative Solutions brings expertise from its impressive folio of advertising, direct mail, sales literature, Point of Sale, interactive CD and online design work to RT Media. Its ‘straight talking’ and ‘clear creative thinking’ approach is also a natural fit for RT Media, as Tony Ridgway founder of Ozone, comments:

“Our view has always been to get the job done, and get it done well. The team at RT Media has a similar approach; they like to get under the skin of the business to challenge the client to really know what is actually required to achieve their business objectives. We have already started collaborating on several campaigns and new business wins, which has shown us just how much potential we have, working together.”

Steve Mills, Business Development Manager at Nutrichef said “As a long standing customer of RT we were asked to be one of the test clients they worked with pre-merger to support the re-launch of our new web site. Adding the social media knowledge from SocialTech to the branding expertise of RT worked very well, dramatically extending our reach online.”

Ross adds: “This is a coming of age for RT Media. Integrating the three very like-minded, skilled and professional teams has given us a very strong platform for growth. It is a new era, both for us and for our clients, who will most certainly benefit from having this level of resource for their campaigns.”

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Anyone can edit your Facebook company page

…no really they can!*

Find a Facebook page with location information (ie one you can “check in” to) for which you are not an admin, click on the info tab on the left hand side and you should now see “edit” appear in the top right – OMG OMG!! etc etc…

*ok so actually they can’t, but be prepared for customers to THINK that’s what is now possible…

During one of the recent changes to Facebook places, they felt it would be handy if anyone could “suggest” updates to the location information only.

From the Facebook pages FAQ: “On Pages that list an address and choose to display a map in the Info section, anyone viewing the Page sees an “Edit” link. This link allows people to notify Facebook of any location information that may be missing. Note that people aside from Page admins can’t edit the information that displays on your Page even though the link is labelled “Edit.”"

And breath… Facebook love making these changes, they certainly keep me… “entertained”.

If you want to switch off this “editable” (note, it’s not actually editable) information, as an admin, select: Edit Page / Basic Information / untick the box labelled: Show this map.

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