The VPM Blog

Keeping Facebook Relevant

Posted by Don Crow on Mar 21, 2011 4:00:57 AM

I'm taking a break from our Old Marketing Dogs series. Based on the feedback I've gotten, most of you aren't interested in the psychology of why people fear, loathe or attempt to ignore social media and mobile. I get it - to a point. Don't waste your energy selling meteor insurance to the dinosaurs. But still.....ah well. Nevermind.

Instead, I'm going to ask facebook to make some two changes. I'm giving this intellectual property away for free. You're welcome.

These are suggestions which I think will keep facebook, (a) relevant, (b) more useful for current users, and (c) as a retention tool for those folks who sign up, don't like their news feed and stop using it altogether.

1. Tag your posts by category. Meaning, give users the ability to select which "category" they are about to fill their friend's news feed with, be it music, random, love or religion. You type in an update, you choose from a category menu, you press send or enter... and it only goes to friends' who've indicated they have an interest in said categories. Suddenly, your news feed becomes the stuff you want to read from the people you most want to hear from. You could give page owners the same ability.

I originally thought the new "group" feature might do this, but you have to GO TO the group to see the posts. I'm talking about what fills up your own news feed non-stop. And trying to select by network, friends of friends, etc.......seriously? Just let us choose the most appropriate category for out post.

For example, I appear to be the only heathen and non-country music lover of my 800+ friends. I've hidden more than a dozen friends who want to tell me about their religion, church, pastor, favorite scripture, why I need to be praying more, how their religion has been the only good thing in their life, and seriously - what their choir ate for lunch after church one Sunday. Likewise the handful of folks who share every single country song that comes to mind. Yesterday there were no less than 24 posts from the same person, back to back to back of the songs she was listening to. I'm sure the rest of us have friends who we want to stay connected to, and would enjoy their witticisms, and light-hearted posts, but not the heavy handed judgement of their gospel, nor the music videos. Likewise the other popular post which turns folks off: the sharing of loves lost. Listen, if the "guys" never call back here's a sign: it isn't the "guys" after all.

And the political rants? I bet you have more than a few who make you think, "that dude should've just kept that to himself."

2. Let people know who "de-friended" them. Let people choose why they are de-friending someone. Make it personal. Make it count. And I don't want to hear about privacy, and why facebook thinks it is important to keep that information from users. Bull droppings. Facebook being concerned about user privacy is akin to a middle eastern leader saying he's not concerned about social media.

For example, if I want to narrow my facebook family down to just people I have worked with, do I really want to go through the hassle of trying to "hide" everything from people who I attended high school or college with? No. I'd rather just drop everyone and indicate in the reason why that I only use facebook for professional networking now and while it's been real, and fun, it ain't been real fun reconnecting with the twice divorced mother of three who turned me down at junior prom who now wants to tell me how well I've aged. Huh?!

And yes, I know that the option to accept friend invites is solely up to me - I just think it order to keep facebook relevant, I should have the ability to say how I want to use it and in what way. My other option? Don't use facebook at all?

All I am suggesting really is this, facebook could give us all a lot more control over how we use the service and in return, it becomes even more relevant and wait for it, data producing on the back-end for advertisers and developers!

I'm waiting for Mark's call.....and I hope it starts it off by saying, "Don, I read your post and I'd categorize your thoughts as follows......"

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