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Facebook: good ideas and poor execution

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown University, img from AdWeek

There are a number of levels on which a great idea can go wrong. At least 3 in my opinion. Strategically good/bad. On the actual idea level (problem-solution) and finally execution. This is important in the Facebook case. I think a lot of the discussions following (and also preceding) Mark Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University is lacking nuances.

It’s impossible to find and therefore promise to take care of content that breaks a guideline in any other way than algorithms. That’s a fact. Some stuff will be missed. But systems will learn. Strategically – focusing on that path is the right one.

Facebook is doing a lot of interesting things execution wise around that strategic direction. Not all great, but that’s how it works.

I like this:

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, says that dishonest advertisements political candidates put on Facebook should stay there because they represent important discourse.

From Futurism

Totally agree. That is something traditional media (and other less traditional, mind you) should do something useful with. They couldn’t themselves. We should be super thankful that this can be done today. That “evidence” doesn’t disappear.

“Like a lot of things Facebook does, I think it’s an interesting idea, but poorly executed,” Andrew Seaman, the ethics committee chairperson of the Society of Professional Journalists, told Futurism. “I think one problem facing society is that people don’t know how to spot trustworthy news sources in today’s media environment. So, asking them to help highlight quality information seems foolish.”

Also from Futurism regarding the ideas Facebook has around people ranking/indicating sources they like and trust.

Here’s the right way forward I think. Facebook is best at understanding, strategically, the most promising way forward. They should work closer with media and external media/research partners (what do I really know about this and how they’re doing it today? No much, I have to admit) in order to try how to get the execution right. I agree with the criticism of Zuckerberg’s very limiting knowledge and understanding of media (and actually, perhaps, freedom of speech beyond the technology bubble…). Again, great ideas that are poorly executed. Much better than having bad ideas.

Think this, from Jack Dorsey is important and should be at the heart of the strategic efforts from Facebook, being an amplification machine. This is the big danger – amplification and volume – more than the content itself.

“We talk a lot about speech and expression and we don’t talk about reach enough, and we don’t talk about amplification. And reach and amplification was not represented in that speech,” according to the journalist Sarah Frier, who was tweeting from the event.

From Business Insider

People get so mad and reactionary. We all benefit from picking ideas and thoughts appart more granularly. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathing water.

over-sharing, filter failure and yahoo

In short, Web 3.0 is fuelling greed for attention (validation) and I felt that I was falling into the same exhibitionist trap as everyone else. I tried to explain this to a journalist who was interviewing me about connectivity last week, but she was having none of it. The future, as far as she was concerned, was social and if you are not part of this epidemic of over-sharing you clearly have something of substance to hide.

Richard Watson, Why I’m feeling anti-social

In Over sharing, “over” is subjective. What is too much for someone is not necessarily too much for someone else (here’s where filter failure sits). The part of over sharing that is the pressure and behavior to publish or share something with frequency just because, as with a news organization which, of course, cannot stand still, I think we’ll see less of (not because “they” post less, but algorithms and filtering – so we’ll see less of it, not exist less of it). However, the simplicity of sharing what is phatic communication isn’t really a decision to produce and post anything of real value, but an instinct and reaction and will continue to overwhelm us.

It is writers, thinkers, publishers who enjoy a following because of their focused and thought through work (presentations, posts, rants etc) who are the root of this very real problem of over sharing. Having a set publishing/post frequency is ridiculous. You simply cannot know you have interesting things to share once a day. And why should you?

I hate the fact that google reader is being discontinued. RSS thinking is the way publishers, bloggers should be thinking and not like news organisations (not entirely true if you make ad money from blogging, and daily visitors count). We’ll hear from you when you have something smart to say, if you don’t, don’t.

I think Yahoo, being much more than search (The core of Yahoo nicely explored here, by Dan Petty), should take it upon them to really innovate in this area. People in some media/communications related industry are devout RSS-users, but the widespread usage is most likely overrated. That should change. On Facebook you don’t go to friends’ profiles to see what’s happened, it shows up. Why should anyone have to go to different websites daily? It’s the content I want, and I want to consume it through one interface/control center. There’s much someone like Yahoo could do here. The advertising issue/possibilities included.

Update 2013-03-26; and yes, Yahoo takes another step on the way in buying Summly. Perhaps.

No, you are NOT that important, social media guru

I just got out of a meeting… I’m amazed, but at the same time not surprised, how little many companies and individuals working with technical and social media based marketing solutions and vehicles actually know about the context they operate in. All these visits to agencies, presenting their wonderful solutions that are perfect fits for the highly “engaged consumers” who just want to share, talk, like and follow. Their gadgets, apps and dashboards are not only THE thing to have, generally speaking, it’s actually perfect for helping [enter brand you happen to work with here] reach better loyalty, create and share wonderful stories and drive incremental sales in the millions. 1; As if you know. And 2; who do you take me for?

My advice is to take a month or two to get to know the reality of the other side of the table (you really ought to be interested in it given you’re aiming for it). Get to know what they know, and what it is they are actually providing their clients. One simple way to do this would be to, early on, meet with a few of them and be quite frank. Say you’re working on a thing that is meant to help them. You don’t yet know exactly how much or even how. Interview them. Find out as much as you can about their work, their problems, their clients’ actual problems, their skills. Read some books they say are important in their field. Ask them to explain TO YOU where your idea or solution fits in their work.

Acting like you’re the solution to everything is a disease. It’s bad manners and downright idiotic. That’s why all social media gurus and entrepreneurs working away at solutions for brands and marketing should read Martin Weigel’s presentation. And don’t just read that. Read some of the sources. If not, can you honestly say that you are interested in providing real value instead of a lot of hot air? Can you handle this truth? Does it deter you or inspire you to work up something that’s really in tune with this? Or at least; can you stop talking about yourself as the solution to everything in marketing today, please?

another kind of 2.0

I’ve recently come across quite a few articles and posts about technology, social media and how we use it and how it effects us. Not seldom in a negative way. Unsurprisingly there’s an upswing at the end of a year and beginning of a new. Wise to stop, and reflect over life in general. How to get more time over. Stay in better contact. Or the opposite. There’s this post (swedish) about digital downshifting and how it’s a trend and this post about Adam Brault quitting Twitter for a month, reflecting over the Dunbar number and how twitter is “outsourced schizophrenia”.

Twitter is outsourced schizophrenia. I have a couple hundred voices I have consensually agreed to allow residence inside my brain

In conversations about interfaces, interaction and the roll of the internet in peoples’ lives, I keep arguing that the most used interaction method will be close to invisible. I don’t agree with those saying “touch is the ultimate method” because it demands of me that I’m interested in interacting.

Walking around on a sunday thinking about maybe going to the modern museum doesn’t mean that I want to interact with my fingers – all I want to know is the opening hours and what exhibitions are on. All I need is an answer. In a far future, when a chip is in my brain, and the internet knowledge is indistinguishable from my “flesh knowledge” questions thought are questions asked – and answered. Internet – interacting.

So I found this film very interesting. A very true 2.0 about technology is more about it being a bit boring. It’s when most of it is invisible. When it’s so obvious that we all can do almost everything but why should we.

Connecting (Full Film) from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

social media the organisational change agent


Photo thanks to riklomas

I came across two new reports on how connectedness, new touchpoints and feedback loops are affecting organisations, the marketing function and “where it sits”, and also increased customer centricity. They sum up the greater context, and the combined reasons, for some of the organisational changes (or needs for) that need to happen. One report from McKinsey (We Are All Marketers Now) and one from Forrester commissioned by Dell (Social Listening).

Forrester found that organizations across various industries that have implemented listening and digital engagement initiatives are starting to see impressive business returns.
– Forrester

You often hear negative voices on showing ROI from social media within marketing and it’s a fair point because getting measurements right isn’t that easy and, obviously, neither is actually generating a positive ROI. But a positive ROI should be delivered through social media implemented into, and used by, the whole organisation and not just marketing, which changes the ROI conversation, the investments and the over-all value it brings. You might even argue that it redefines marketing, which is what McKinsey are arguing.

In the era of engagement, marketing is the company… In essence, companies need to become marketing vehicles, and the marketing organization itself needs to become the customer-engagement engine…
– McKinsey

In today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related interactions that, added together, make up the customer experience.
– McKinsey

Which means there’s an increased need for designed and coherent interactions that stem from a better agreed understanding of who the brand is and its meaning in people’s lives. If it’s too much for one person to be responsible for customer engagement, then companies (realistically larger size ones) might consider having one for every function within the organisation, who can then liaise with each other in order to cross the boundaries that exist between sales, marketing, customer service etc.

The marketing organisations new look, 4 key dimensions identified by McKinsey

Distribute more activities
If marketing is the company, the distribution of marketing activities changes.

More councils and partnerships
As distribution of activities change, new needs for synchronization and collaboration cross-boundaries emerge.

Elevate the role of customer insights
With more and better feedback loops and data waiting to be tapped – all aspects of the company can and must benefit.

More data rich and analytically intense
Apparently Zynga generates and captures five terabytes of customer data every day. Wow!

Helping companies understand and benefit from social media is enough to realise that we’re looking at some major organisational issues. It’s all organisational, and organisations are tricky. It’s complex and it’s slow. It means shifting incentives, responsibilities and accountabilities. Many companies are going to have huge problems for a long time, and some companies offering organisational change management are going to get rich…

Social media is helping bring companies closer together internally, and perhaps it’s even the strongest catalyst for better cooperation, cross-department co-operation and incentivising for over-all collaboration. Quite an important roll.

amex, small businesses and the concept of sponsorship

I vote for this guy not only because it looks delicious but because he seems like such a great guy.

But It’s a tight race because these guys are doing exactly what I’m missing; fast food that’s good for you. I just want some good ol’ fashion husmanskost on the go, but all I can find is fat dripping pizza on every damn corner. Hate that.

And I’m very impressed with the Amex Open Forum initiative and the momentum they have. Even though I’m disappointed by the card (at least in Sweden and online). From the small business saturday idea (below), to partnering with Facebook to provide “an Amex way” of paying for ads, and Vote Big Break above.

Being involved in a sponsorship strategy for another big global American brand, I can’t but help but reflect over the role of sponsorship. Simplified being about 1, brand awareness, and letting context/sponsored event/team/sport/etc indicate what the brand supports and affiliates itself with and thus 2, manifest position/meaning by getting a brand attribute rub-off effect. But there’s so many examples of very weak sponsorship strategies where all you get is your logo out there with very little meaning attached to this.

Not so long ago, It was impossible for Amex to do what they’re doing here, which is sponsoring small businesses and everything that comes with that; having to struggle, be a smart marketer (perhaps first time at it), smart with money, doing a bit of everything (balance sheets and tax laws anyone?), and being frustrated with hardly making ends meet. Sponsoring them by doing things for them is something that simply could not be done before. Not with this massive reach and impact. To a large extent this falls under sponsoring in my book. Supportive sponsoring. Extremely targeted and relevant. I think the concept of sponsoring is changing quite a bit.

it’s more fun to run the scull

As usual some really great work from Nike. Even though we’ve seen the idea and the mechanics before, it doesn’t make it less good, engaging and effective for the people activated. And I love the offline/online aspects of ideas like this. A physical run turns digital graffiti turns t-shirt.

Don’t worry – this site has gotten a facelift

wired

This place is getting a facelift for the future. If you’re dropping by around May 2011 when this is happening, the reason it looks the way it looks is that I’m hooking up the wires, polishing stuff, looking under the hood, filling it up. You get it. And perhaps it hasn’t filled up with blog posts yet but It’ll get there. Give it a few days, and I think we’ll be up and blogging here. And why not put it in your RSS reader and you’ll be alerted when it’s alive and kicking.

anonymous opinions and public revolutions

“The cost of failure is really high when you’re contributing as yourself,” said Poole. “To fail in an environment where you’re contributing with your real name is costly.”

– Chris Poole, 4chan

“REAL change comes from people putting their necks on the line. I couldn’t remember a time when an anonymous person really enacted change in, well, anything. It’s why I sign my name to everything, even stuff that could get me fired,”

– Robert Scoble

From ReadWriteWeb

Both arguments are true. And we’ve seen more than enough evidence to verify that so is the case. It’s not either/or. When given the option, people will chose that which fits. Sometimes speaking up in public is what we need. Sometimes we need to be anonymous. Away from internet, the anonymous would hold his/her breath. Online that’s not the case. That’s quite groundbreaking, is it not?

Sometimes an anonymous person can start a revolution. Other times, many anonymous discontent people might need one public person to ignite them all. Going from reluctantly quiet and anonymous, to supporting an explosion of support. Confidence in numbers.