Making your Boss understand the ‘fuss about Facebook’

Quel ricco sfondato di Mark Zuckerberg, founde...

Image via Wikipedia

Recently I met a social media executive friend who works at a company that take their traditional marketing a bit too seriously. But the good news is that they want to change and get on the SM band wagon. However, they fail to understand as my friend puts it, “What’s the fuss about Facebook?”

I guess they are baffled about Facebook becoming the integrating force of all online marketing efforts and can’t understand why. So I thought why not provide them with a context they can relate to, which by the way is also going to be my first blog post. So here we go.

Unlike popular perception Facebook users are not just teenagers or young people in their 20’s. It is safe to assume that Facebook has evenly penetrated or is actively reaching users of all age groups especially the 35+ demographic base.

So, why are corporates interested in Facebook?

Simply because people are spending more and more time on Facebook. There has been a surge as high as 700% on the total time spent on Facebook. Unsurprisingly marketers are simply following people through a medium that guarantees maximum exposure and a prolonged attention span. Earlier this was done through mass communication mediums like radio, newspapers and television as it provided companies a medium to advertise or place their brands to reach their target audience.

So what’s changed?

As any social scientists would tell you human being aren’t coded to follow a medium of mass communication (one to many). Our evolution process that goes back to millions of years makes us inter-dependent beings who hunt (now work) together, gather information and survive. In my opinion the mass communication mediums available before the internet revolution proved inefficient in addressing the basic human need of ‘Participatory Information Sourcing & Sharing’. In fact, the pre-revolution medium could be broadly described as information scavenging due to the lack of participatory mechanism.

So here comes the internet and the world becomes a ‘Global Village.’ And as you would expect people living in this village have families, colleagues, friends and other shared relationships. These relationships had to be sustained considering increased differences of time zones and industrial revolutions. This led to Social Media, which is nothing but a shared space of relationships in an augmented reality supported and appreciated by real-life inputs.

Why ‘fuss’ about Facebook?

Facebook has pioneered the social networking trend by customising its experience to a ‘real-life role playing’. It’s the most real-life interaction based network that replicates the social experience at a psychological level. The vital need for social acceptance (liked or accepted by peers) is inherent in human psyche.

Facebook provides a model for mass aggregation of social units (with relationships) each with the life of their own, connecting with other similar units. The prominent factor here is that these users have chosen to be Facebook and have not been lured by some marketing gimmick.  And once they are here the relationships they form with companies or other users are as good as it would have been in a real life scenario.  So a ‘like’ or recommendation here is easily identifiable by the community providing a proof of company’s credibility.

(Part II of the post to highlight what Facebook  means for companies)


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