After ‘Become a Fan’ changing to ‘Like’, Facebook now has a plan which infiltrates the entire web space. Facebook has introduced social plugins and personalized web tools to be used across the internet.
What happens exactly?
According to Facebook, a plethora of ‘like’ and ‘recommend’ buttons have been introduced for the web. So, any website implements these buttons and users can click on them to prove that they are interested. This information gets recorded and when your friend visits the same site, he/ she can see that you have ‘liked’ it.
Also all these activities get recorded on your activity feeds and friends can see a consolidated list on FB.
What we think
For starters, I think Facebook is not just what is started off to be! This is the first step towards taking social networking to a whole new level.
Interactions are now not just restricted to Facebook, but have also moved to other websites. So, when a user visits a page instead of it giving out static information and instead of being just a web magazine, users find the page more personalized. It gives information about which friend had already been there and recommended it.
We are moving towards a more personalized web space. The web is not really social and we just have a few social networking tools and platforms. But this is a big step towards an interactive internet. Like Zuckerberg say, ‘it is a smarter web.’
Basically when users reach a random page through a series of links, they have a good idea as to which of their friends have already visited the page and whom to start a conversation about this to. And marketers would have a better understanding about which groups of people are seriously interested in a particular brand or information. The profiling of the online target group does not remain as esoteric as it used to be.
From the users’ perspective, it will definitely take a while for people to understand all changes. When an activity feed shows information beyond the purview of Facebook, it will give rise to certain confusions. But, I don’t see why users will not embrace this change.
But, this also gives rise to certain questions of privacy – nothing shall stay private any more. Though your personal profile information is not shared with the third party website, your likes and dislikes throughout the internet is recorded. Basically, everything is public until you mark that as private.
Privacy advocates (http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/4-senators-raise-privacy-concerns-about-facebook-expansion-call-for-simpler-user-controls/) have been arguing about how the company expects users to share things publicly. But, it is also a fact that it is very much the users’ discretion whether to share information or not. And looking at the popularity of Facebook, it is anybody’s guess that most people like to share information!
Also the bigger flip side to the entire story is the fact that stories no longer emerge out of Facebook. It emerges out of anywhere throughout the web. Which means when one has to slander a brand, it is easier and lot more widespread than it used to be earlier. For e.g., let us imagine a person X that had a bad experience with Brand A. So, this person decides to write about it and also has the Facebook like implemented alongside. Imagine 200 other people liking the post and this feed visible on their respective Facebook profiles. Basically the reach of a user’s opinion has increased multiple times. It could truly convert to a consumer’s market where a consumer can make or break a brand!
According to latest reports, in just a week’s time 50000+ websites have implemented the social plugins! This just seems like proof enough that the world is embracing Facebook’s vision.
Also, this just seems like a first step towards targeting digital ads better. Neilsen reports have already proved that Facebook ads work better than Google ads. What with Facebook moving to become the central nexus of the internet, these ads can be used better to select a particular target audience.
How would you as a marketer benefit from these updates? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
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