Have you updated your Facebook privacy settings? No, go ahead and do it now. I’ll wait.
Consider all of the personal information that you post to message boards and profiles. With some time and effort, people can gather some pretty significant data on you.
Think about it for a moment. If you fully populate your profile, they may already have:
- Your full name, including middle name
- Your maiden name (if you’re a married & changed your last name)
- Your birth date
- Your hometown and current town
- Your school and educational history
- Your spouse’s information (or significant other)
- Your employment history
- Your religious and personal views
- The names of your children and pets
- Photos of yourself and many of your family and friends
Add this to the stuff you’ve posted online about yourself in comments and Wall-to-Wall posts….and you’re looking at a LOT of personal information on Facebook alone. This is more stuff than some famous people have published about themselves. And at least they get the side benefit of being famous (and sometimes rich!).
Let’s just remember that “mother’s maiden name” is sometimes a security question for financial institutions. As are offbeat questions about your personal life that, theoretically, only you should know.
If you want to make it even more creepy, go to Google Maps or Google Earth. Type in your home address. If you’re looking at an aerial photo of your house, then everyone knows where you live. And if you post when you’re on vacation on your Facebook status, you may be telling everyone when your house will be vacant.They’ll even provide directions for burglars.
So, yeah. Go update that Facebook profile and keep some of your personal life private.
In terms of media, Michael Jackson’s death revealed some interesting insights in social networks. No, it’s not that people on social networks — like Facebook, Twitter , digg, etc — broke the news to their friends. Instant sharing is at the core of social networking.
The big surprise? MySpace became a serious destination for fan outpouring. Yes, MySpace, the site that some industry experts have declared dead. Yes, MySpace, the social networking pioneer that just laid off 30% of their workforce.
The King of Pop died suddenly on June 25, setting off a firestorm of news and reaction. Post-event analysis reveals that sites like Twitter and Google were hobbled by the surge in traffic. Google thought the surge in traffic was an organized attack on their site.
SIDE QUESTIONS: If Michael Jackson’s sudden death had this effect on the Intertubes, isn’t it time for the government to review the Net’s infrastructure? What would happen in a larger global event? Could the Net handle it? And is it ironic that television (that “old media”) works just fine during major surges? Debate, discuss.
Back to MySpace
As news raged, something weird happened at MySpace. People started to “friend” Michael Jackson’s MySpace Page at an astonishing rate. MediaWeek reported that “the official Michael Jackson MySpace profile was adding 100 new friends per minute.” Um, wow!
As of this writing, Jackson’s MySpace page has 567 thousand friends. That’s a lot of friends for a “dead” network.
And while Facebook is the current kind of social networks, MySpace is still considered the social network place for discovering music. MediaWeek also reported that “MySpace Music was streaming an average of 100,000 songs every ten minutes in the hours after Jackson’s death.”
It’s frustrating thing that they don’t offer a comparison. That is, how many friends was Michael Jackson getting per day before his death? Don’t know. And how many songs were they streaming every ten minutes before his death? Again, don’t know, so it’s hard to give a good comparison.
Post Mortem Suprises
Michael Jackson’s surprise death revealed a lot about the way people use the web and social networks. Based on the follow-up coverage, it’s clear that this Internet-thingy still holds a few surprises for us.
Yes, Facebook continues to be THE social networking juggernaut. But we knew that already.
The biggest surprise for many of the “experts” out there? MySpace isn’t dead.
We were at a team meeting with several people I hadn’t really worked with yet. It was a typical white-board brainstorm meeting about how we could provide digital tactics against traditional-media channels.
If you’re in digital, you know how these meetings can be. Sometimes it’s great, especially if the traditional team is new-media savvy. In this case, we were lucky, since most of the team was somehow personally involved in social or new media. We had a couple of bloggers, several people who listened to podcasts, and just about everyone was on Facebook or MySpace. In short, they all got it. Perfect.
We talked websites, mobile media, interactive video, downloadables, mashups, social media, user generated content. Good stuff.
That’s what made it especially strange when one of the account leaders said something to the effect of “we want a really big tactic, something that will hit a really big, broad audience.”
Huh? Weren’t we just all on the same whiteboard here with new media?
New media is all about narrow audience. The idea that you can get a big demographic on a brand message is sort of an old media concept. Essentially a hold over from traditional broadcast television and commercial spots.
Aside from major television events like the Superbowl, the Sopranos, or a major news event, even television is fragmented into much more narrower audiences. (Note: The one big exception…bad news travels fast on all mediums.)
Yes, there are still several broad-based communication platforms online, most notably portals and central news sites. Destinations. But those are hard to control and not typically easily or cheaply influenced by brand marketers. Then again, if you have a large marketing budget or a really cool brand, you can get prettymuch anywhere. For the rest of us, we have to find alternate channels.
Alternate channels basically mean verticals. And in most cases, verticals within verticals.
If you’re promoting a specific brand, you just want to talk to your target audience. (Except around the holidays, if the brand is something that can be gifted.)
Why talk to teenage boys if your product is for middle-age moms? It makes more sense to spend your dollars to hit the mom market. If you can narrow it to the income, race, regional, or other demographic, you can target your message to make it relevant to their personal experiences.
So you may be looking at women (v1), middle age (v2), moms (v3), high income (v4), living near a major city (v5)…and that’s just for one campaign. Your second campaign may change to target women of middle or low income, which will change the positioning of your value proposition.
The best part of the verticals within verticals is the way you can time and manipulate your out of pocket expenditures and messaging. There’s flexibility in all mediums from magazines to television to radio, but nothing that gives you the hypertargeting that you can get in new media.
Which brings me back to that brainstorm meeting.
After an hour of brainstorming, it was deflating to hear someone start talking about broad-based marketing on new media channels. We finally have the kind of communications structure that marketers dream about, and some of us are trying to get it to act like an old media channel.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen new media struggle in obscurity, stumble toward credibility, and now stagger to mass media acceptance. But for those of us who remember 1200 baud dial ups, this is an exciting time. The promise of new media communications has finally reached a level of maturity that allows us to truly share a brand message….one that gets people motivated to action.
The ability to create targeted, deep-vertical messages is the biggest, broadest appeal of new media marketing. Let’s use it to create messages that are relevant, motivating, and exciting to the deepest verticals that we can identify.
It’s a vertical world created by users…and perfect for marketers.