Tag Archives: facebook

Facebook Timeline Photoshop Template

Facebook timelines have now gone mainstream, as you can see from the screen grab of mine below, you can play around with the top image however you please.

This top graphic is 849 x 312 pixels, with the small square being 180×180 (although this gets scaled down to 125 x 125. But rather than you having to worry about setting that up, I thought I’d upload Photoshop & Illustrator templates so anyone could make their own with little effort.

The .zip file contains layered Photoshop & Illustrator files 849 x 312px with a positional graphic for the profile picture in the Photoshop file.

download .zip
UPDATE: Almost 2,500 downloads in 21 days! Wow, I wasn’t expecting that!

9 Out of 10 Cats With Opposable Thumbs Prefer Facebook!

I caught this advert at the weekend, I thought it was wonderful… although it didn’t make me want to rush out to buy some Cravendale milk! Also worth noting is Cravendale have created an online campaign around this advert, encouraging viewers to follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page, buts what’s telling is that they have 33,ooo Facebook fans but only 3,500 Twitter followers, or another way of saying it, is that 9 out of 10 cats with opposable thumbs prefer Facebook! (maybe I’m getting my advertising messages confused!)

you should follow me on twitter here

Linked In or Locked Out?

I’m not a regular user of Linked in, but I decided to update my profile a couple of days ago and use the service to see if I could find some old contacts I’ve not been in touch with for ages by importing my various address books, 5 minutes later I had 300 plus recommendations, but a large chunk of these were people I’m never likely to interactive with again, so I opted to filter out the noise and only chose those I’m likely to contact in the future.

While trawling through the list and clicking on various contacts I was intrigued how some unlikely connections started to appear between friends, work colleagues and business associates that I would have never thought likely, crossing business sectors, industries and even continents. But when I clicked on some contacts I found their contacts were hidden from view… this is something I can’t fathom, why hide your contacts? the name of the service is a bit of a give away, doesn’t it tell you something, it’s all about being “linked in”… is there some sort of competitive advantage to hiding your contacts? unlikely, as personally I think it could work against you, as by not seeing your contacts I’m less likely to build a good picture of who you really are and who your business associates are… as they say, you can a tell a person by the company they keep. Is it a privacy thing? are you trying to stop me getting spam and requests from unwanted contacts? If so, why bother, I’m more than capable of ignoring requests and filtering linked in emails.

Actually I think it’s a more fundamental than that, I don’t wish to offend anyone by saying this, but I believe it’s something to do with age, (I’m no spring chicken myself I should add), let me explain.

First I’ll use Facebook and my own family as an example, choosing 4 of my relatives at random, ranging in age from 13-25, they have friend and tagged photo totals of
13yr 625 friends, 667 photos
22yr 490 friends, 287 photos
23yr  768 friends, 1,052 photos
25yr 825 friends, 3,61 photos

averaging 677 friends and 1,419 photos, but it’s not just the number of ‘friends’ and photos they have, they also display their dates of birth, their email addresses etc

If I take a look family and friends in the age range of 35-50, myself included, I get averages of 190 friends and 163 photos, quite a marked difference. And this isn’t just a Facebook phenomenon, it’s happens across all social networks, is it because the younger generation are more social, or that they’re using and relying on these systems more, partly yes, but it’s also a markedly different take on privacy, they’ve accepted and in some way embraced the fact that privacy isn’t something you have or something they should concern themselves with in this digital age, it’s not their problem. The more places they have their name, email, age, location, likes, dislikes plastered across the digital domain, the easier life become, choices and recommendations are made for them, friends and families have no problem finding them (they never lose touch in the first place), searching and finding things becomes easier, there’s so much on tap that they spend most of their time filtering what’s pushed at them rather than looking for new things, but again that filtering is done for them the more personal information they put out there, the better the filters work. Firefox announced a few days ago how it’s hoping websites will honour it’s users wishes who switch on their new “Don’t track me” feature in their preferences, hoping to avoid advertisers and online retailers from targeting them and building personalised demographics. This is unlikely to work as it requires the retailers to opt in to the users that opt out, most won’t.

To an older demographic this may sound horrific, they’re giving away too much freedom, we have to stop this happening, it’s as if 1984 is coming to fruition! but hang on a minute, these guys weren’t even born in 1984!

I read all the time bloggers bemoaning the loss of privacy, how we have information overload with too many choices, so we graze snippets of information, rather than sit down for a big meal, that transient use of social networks aren’t an adequate replacement for deeper more substantial real world interactions. I’ve been known to say that a measure of a real vs virtual friend is someone you know you can ask for £50 and they have no problem dipping into their pocket to help you out, try doing that with a 1,000 Facebook friends or Twitter followers, although not impossible.

But what about identity theft? The onus is shifting, it’s down to the banks to come up with more secure ways to protect our money and assets, as they’re liable, using a password, my date of birth or my mothers maiden name is no longer an adequate way to identify me, this information can be easily tapped online, often in the one place, take Facebook as a perfect example, your birthday is likely displayed, if not references and pictures of your birthday will be there… mothers maiden name? again you if you’re linked to your mother, she will likely use her married name, but your uncle (her brother) will be linked to her, plus if she divorced or wants old school friends to track her down, she likely has her maiden name displayed on her profile.

As the recent Wikileaks scandal has highlighted, privacy is dead, once you transpose something digitally, no matter how personal, off the record or secret you think it is, it’s public. Upload something to a website or a blog, then have second thoughts and delete it, you need to accept it’s not really gone, it’s still sitting on a server somewhere and Google is likely caching it too (and yes it will still appear in a search).

The next generation isn’t giving up it’s liberty, they’re not ignorant to it’s importance, they accept this flow of personal information isn’t something to worry about, or a hinderance, it’s quite the opposite, it has it’s advantages, being open and transparent works

Openbook and Reclaim Privacy

Don’t get my wrong, I have nothing against facebook, in fact I think it’s great… but this whole privacy fiasco is becoming a PR nightmare!

A couple of days ago I stumbled across reclaimprivacy.org a fantastic little javascript, that safely scans your privacy settings and warns you of any problems.

But taking a completely different approach youropenbook.org lets you type in a phrase and voila… of it goes rummaging through Facebook users that have left their wall posts a little too public

The Social Media Revolution Fad

As I’ve re-quoted before “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital“ Aaron Levenstein

This video makes compelling reading/watching, but read between the lines, there’s more to this than meets the eye, major changes are unfolding in the social media environment, information/data/ID aggregation is becoming the new hot potato, the shift is about linking you to the stuff you want to know in a transparent & convenient way.

For more info & a list of quotes & stats go to the socialnomics blog

Also check out a brilliant and ballsy presentation by Marta Kagan entitled What the F**K is Social Media: One Year Later

Also note Marta doesn’t use the that annoying Social Media Expert moniker, she calls herself a Bonafide Marketing Genius, now that’s a great job title! (as long as you live up to it of course, although reading her blog, it looks like she does)

Wave Goodbye to Closed Networks

Google said they’d have something interesting to demo at the Google IO Dev Conference, oh boy they weren’t kidding… Hello to Google Waves!

The Video below is 1.5hrs long, but it’s worth a look, as this will change everything. I’ve been harping on for ages about data aggregation & building open platforms without walls, with API’s for developers & third parties to leverage & integrate with (just like our plans for no paper & ID Gator), well Google have just stepped up to the plate with all their might and done just that… it all works in standard HTML5 & it’s all Open Source Code!!!!

Email, wiki’s, instant messaging, realtime inline document collaboration & creation, blogs, image & rich media sharing, polling, mobile and other stuff I’ve forgotten to mention can all be handled & integrated by Waves.

The way you use Twitter, Facebook, MSN, Skype, Blogs etc is about to change forever, no more proprietary software, no having to log into a specific system to access & update your data, connect & interact with colleagues etc Waves passes all that and allows you to do it from whatever system you want.

Want to connect with everyone you know on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, AOL, Google, MSN etc without logging into Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, AOL, Google, MSN etc, with Waves you’ll be able to do that.

Why is this so powerful & something that the likes of Facebook should be concerned about? Well you’ll be able to get all the interation of Facebook & connect to all your friends, without ever logging directly into Facebook again! So you never look at their main revenue stream, their adverts! I was writing a blog a few days ago (didn’t get round to fininshing it), where I was saying that Facebook’s biggest threat isn’t from someone like Myspace, Twitter or Google… it will be from the parasites, the small third parties that feed off & leverage it’s systems, these guys can easily create revenue streams that Facebook can’t (or is missing), Google has just made that job easier with Google Waves.

So why would Facebook (or those like Facebook) integrate Waves? Simply put, they will have no choice, the users will want it (see an old post for what I mean)… already Facebook has opened it’s walled garden with Facebook Connect, if Waves could take hold & it’s protocol become the de facto way to collaborate, they’d have no choice but to open up & integrate it… it will be interesting to see if Google actually push this, or like so many of their ideas, invest loads of time in developing the initial idea, then let it stagnate and die… which is a great shame, as it’s only the likes of a giant like Google that could take on the likes of Facebook… which is something they should be bear in mind in reverse, as Facebook continues to amass it’s user base, it will become a force to be reckoned with in Google’s market space, “Search”, for as Amazon has proven, it’s personal recommendations that lead us in purchasing decisions, if Facebook taps into our friends recommendations and “likes”, then we’ll start our searching in Facebook, not Google. A possible future with a Facebook and Bing alliance could cause Google reasons to be concerned.

more info from
wave.google.com
code.google.com/apis/wave (very techie!)
waveprotocol.org

Welcome To The Party

We all use social networks in different ways, some for work, some for play, some for play while at work!? No matter how you use them, you’re going to meet someone that uses the same network differently. The two networks getting most press coverage currently are Twitter & Facebook, both of which have very different ways of connecting you to others on their networks, both having advantages & disadvantages, so you need to use them in very different ways.

Facebook’s greatest advantage is only letting those you know hear what you’re saying, while Twitter’s greatest advantage is allowing anyone to eavesdrop your conversation, so Facebook is connecting you with people you already know, Twitter is connecting you with people you want to know.

One way of looking at it is, Twitter is a night club, Facebook is a house party, so be careful who you let in

What if Facebook was real?

Twitter vs Facebook

defacebook

Here‘s an terrific post asking the question, “Twitter vs Facebook: Should you choose one?”

I recommend reading the whole post, plus some of the comments make interesting reading as well, here’s the posts conclusion: In the end, both Twitter and Facebook are simply communication tools; both will continue to evolve and morph as users find new ways to extract value and either network may or may become a long term winner in the rapidly evolving social networking space. Ultimately, the fact remains to be seen whether either application has a profitable, scalable and sustainable business model or whether the exit strategy is simply to be acquired.

As we learned in the search space, consolidation will eventually prevail. Unless they can find a way to turn all those eyeballs into profits, social networks will lose relevance. It does seem obvious that the venture capitalists are betting they will not only continue to enjoy tremendous growth but will also successfully monetize all that traffic.

But, will either Twitter or Facebook become the next Google or will they fade into the rear view mirror of technological and social evolution?

Millenial Marketing

I’ll admit that I don’t look at my blog stats very often (probably a good thing!), but when I reviewed my incoming links this morning one in particular stood out. It was from a site named Millenial Marketing by Carol Philips. So I hopped over there to see why I got the click throughs. Carol had written a great post about The Facebook Juggernaut and linked back to my “Time for Facebook to face the facts” post.

Carol’s blog is chock full of really useful and interesting statistics & advice on marketing & branding to Generation Y, it’s definitely worth adding to your blog list.

Carol is also the President of Brand Amplitude a brand research and consulting firm, they have a great selection of insightful white papers on their site.

Time for Facebook to Face the Facts

Nick Burcher added a post on his blog about Facebook Usage Statistics for 2008 which made me think about something I mentioned a few weeks ago, as I noticed within Facebook’s top 21 only India & Hong Kong appear for the whole of Asia! Where’s China, Japan, Indonesia etc?

Nick’s stats are interesting, but they’re bikini statistics, nice to look at but they’re not revealing everything you may want to see!? So let’s add some population data & look at these figures a little closer, 32.7% of Canadians use Facebook, the largest country population % worldwide, closely followed by Denmark, but look at the other end of spectrum, only 1.3% of Mexicans use it, while 0.1% of Indians!!! Also, you hear all the time about how big Facebook is, and that everyone’s using it? Well actually no, as only 2.1% of the world’s population are on Facebook, so there’s still a pretty big slice of the pie out there for the taking. NB: it’s worth noting that Facebook ranks very low in Asia with other social networks being far more popular (I don’t have the stats to hand but I shall post them in the next day or so).

So why the disparity, is it to do with a technology divide, certainly not, we’re talking the likes of Japan & Korea here, who are light years ahead when it comes to technology uptake. No I think it’s something a bit simpler than that, language. I’ve asked Japanese friends before about Facebook and they’ve told me that it’s translation & implementation of Japanese sucks. I don’t know about India, but I’m sure the same is true for there. But in India there’s another issue, access to Facebook… the number of PC users is dwarfed by the number of Mobile phone users and Facebook’s mobile phone implementation isn’t great, so it’s not being used. So while Facebook’s position in the social network scene may appear dominant in the west, in the east it’s non-existent!

facebook-statistics

Now here’s another interesting set of statistics courtesy of Twitterlocal which shows how Tokyo dominates the Twitter leader board when it comes to city statistics, with a 25% lead over second place New York! No real surprise, as this is what you probably expect from the technology mecca of the world, but why Twitter & not Facebook? Well it comes back to my point earlier, Twitter’s Kanji implementation is good, but equally important, there’s no issue with ease of use, it works simply via SMS or smart phone. So once Twitter takes hold in India and they work out a way for users to register without needing an email address or access to the web, they’ll be no stopping it! Look and learn Facebook!

twitter-local-stats

Unsocial Networks: Or why Facebook has got it wrong as Open Social is the Future

It’s 5am and the dawn chorus has started in my back garden, but I don’t mind, as it got me thinking (which is sometimes a bad thing), so I’m wide awake now!

The future for social networks is portability, I want the same freedoms online that I have in the real world, I want to be able to meet my friends where I want, I want to keep in touch with them how I choose, If we decide to meet somewhere else for a change there’s no limitations… but what’s all this to do with the dawn chorus?

Think how most social networks operate, locking in users to a closed network is the wrong approach, it’s akin to locking a bird in a cage, you let the bird out of the cage from time to time to meet other birds, but you only let them fly around within your aviary, the birds can’t get away. So the only way you can keep your birds alive & happy is to keep feeding them, making sure they have a nice place to live, and keeping those doors firmly locked! How do you pay for the up keep on the aviary? well you obviously can’t charge the birds, so you charge people to see the birds, you have sponsors that supply seed, you watch how the birds interact with one another and then profit from your research.

Let’s now think of it in a far more open way… if you put seed on a bird table in your back garden birds will come. After a while you attract more & more, they’re wild birds, they can fly away moment, yet they keep coming back. You don’t need a cage to keep them, as they’ll keep coming back as long as you respect & treat them well and give them what they want.

How do I pay for the seed or make money? the same way as before. With this analogy you could charge people to view your flock of birds, sell photos you’ve taken, you could charge users to feed the birds themselves, you could be sponsored & have grain supplied by a third party, thus promoting their product to your paying visitors, you could give presentations & talks or publish books about your experiences of running the bird sanctuaries, the list goes on.

Now imagine your neighbour does the same, he puts out a bird table, covers it with seed and attracts more birds, of course some of your birds will fly over to his table, but then some of his birds will fly over to yours, there’s no barriers, the birds can do what they want, they can fly back & forth. Then another neighbour does the same and attracts even more birds… until eventually everyone on your street has bird tables that are attracting birds from far & wide to your neighbourhood.

With this model the birds obviously benefit the most (which is great & exactly as it should be, because online, you’re the bird), the neighbourhood benefits as they get to see and study all the birds, not just the ones locked up in their cages. The sponsors benefit as they get to see which of their types of seeds are preferred & consumed the most. I could go on, but I think you’re getting the point.

If the only way you can pay for the upkeep of your caged birds & aviary is through visitors & sponsors donating seed, what happens when the sponsor stops supplying you, because they’ve chosen to supply your neighbours instead, because they have a lot more birds than you. Simple, if you can’t feed your birds, they die in their cages, unless you open the doors and let them out, they may have survived, but you’ve still lost.

You don’t want caged birds, so get rid of the cages, you want wild birds that are free to come & go as they please, if you give them what they want they’re come, and you’ll end up with a far greater result.

As with all businesses, be generous with you offerings & services, be customer focused, treat your customers with respect, give them what they want, because like a free bird they can fly off anytime they want and you’ll probably never see them again.

Fakebook: Koobface Virus

If you use Facebook, then you should read this article from the BBC about the Koobface virus that has been playing havoc on Facebook. Below is a snippet of the article, but follow the link to read it all on the BBC site.

‘Koobface’ spreads by sending a message to people’s inboxes, pretending to be from a Facebook friend.

It says “you look funny in this new video” or “you look just awesome in this new video”.

By clicking on the link provided they’re then asked to watch a “secret video by Tom”.

When users try and play the video they’re asked to download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

If they do, that’s when the virus takes hold and attacks the computer.

Interestingly this dovetails nicely with a post I made called “You don’t know Jack” back in August

Networking or Not Working

In today’s 24/7 wired world of social networks, web 2.0 & mobile platforms, if you’re business is not networking then you’re not working!

Do you have a group or page on a social network such as Facebook?
Do you have a Twitter account?
Do you have a Blog?
Do you have a YouTube Channel?
Do you have an account on Get Satisfaction?
Do you run a Forum?
Do you have a mobile strategy?

Answer no to any or all of the above, then ask yourself why not? If you say it’s because you can’t afford the time or the resources, then find the time & the resources, as the cost to your business of not utilising these platforms will outweight your investment of time.

Answer yes to any of the above, great stuff… answer yes to all of them, that’s amazing! But remember simply registering in these places won’t mean anything if you’re not participating & engaging your audience on a one to one basis, plus it’s not just about getting large numbers. Having 5,000 people in your Facebook group won’t mean a thing if you’re not having direct two way communication with them.

It’s easier now more than ever for you to open dialogue & interface with your audience directly, but it’s also easier than ever for your audience to talk about you to others, you need to ensure what they’re saying showers you in a positive light. If you ignore the conversations going on, soon you won’t be in them anymore, as your audience will be talking about, and to, your competitors, and it will be very difficult to get them back!

You Don’t Know Jack!

fakebook

The bigger they are, the harder they fall… plus they’re likely to move a lot slower too
Large name brands face a dilemma, the bigger they become the harder it is to protect their brands, gone is the time when they simply bought every URL iteration of their name to protect themselves online. With the advent of Web 2.0 & social networking, intrinsically built around two way communication, a whole new range of problems has opened up for the “brand police”, plus, with the speed of their development, they’re having a hard time keeping up… so how do they protect their brands?

ExxonMobil had a rude awaking recently when a new profile named Janet identified herself as ExxonMobilCorp on Twitter. Janet proceeded to discuss the corporate affairs of ExxonMobil and had a following of over 300 users. Often Brand-Jacking is carried out by someone with monetary gain in mind or with a grudge against the brand they’re jacking. Thankfully for ExxonMobil, Janet appeared to be a loyal employee, trying to represent them as best she could, or was she? Her identity & goal is still unknown at present, if she was an employee trying her best, then ExxonMobil were lucky, but if she were someone that was subtly giving misinformation about ExxonMobil and it’s policies then the Brand-Jacking may have had a far more damaging effect had it gone unnoticed.

Another case to hit the headlines recently was when artist Nadia Piesner created an image of a starving child holding a small dog in one hand with an Louis Vuitton bag hung over the other. This was her take on how the media glorifies the likes of Paris Hilton with massive coverage & air time, while the starving of Darfur hardly get a mention. LV were not best pleased, they immediately sent a Cease & Desist letter to the artist, to which she returned a letter stating, that this would be a violation of her right to free speech & her artwork was not a direct attack on LV or infringed their identity, to which LV returned a lawsuit claiming $20,000 a day damages. Whether LV’s course of action was correct or not is up for debate, but this case highlights the seriousness of brand-jacking and it’s impact on the business.

Another form of Brand-Jacking is linked with “phishing”, were the user is duped into thinking the message or communication is official. Spam is an obvious method, but more & more social networks are becoming targets. As explained in this Wired posting, Facebook users were duped into entering their details into a fake website. OK you think, so they can see my photos and my friends photos, no biggie, but as the post highlights, many users use the same log in & passwords for social networking sites as they do to access their bank accounts. Those that use different log in details shouldn’t be complacent though, as once the hackers compromise the facebook account, they can install Trojan Horses that track key strokes and thus bank & credit card details.

So Brand-Jacking doesn’t just steal the identity of the company & it’s brand, it can steal our identities too.

UPDATE: 9 Dec 2008
A new phishing virus named Koobface has been playing havoc on Facebook, more details here.

For further information:
Save Darfur Campaign

Brand Protection:
MarkMonitor
Net Enforcers

Brand Intelligence