Facebook Uniques in iFrame – Breaking out of the Bland Blue & White

iFrames and the Release from Facebook Monotony

Let’s face it. The Facebook monochrome has left us all bored. The recent incursion of ad margin and the photo strip top has made the Facebook page feel a bit cramped and even cluttered. The great redesign, while holding out the promise of much more company friendly spaces, has just not yet taken hold.

But there is another dimension to the new template in Facebook for companies which few have seemed to embrace yet – iFrame – and the potential here seems enormous. Unaccountable is the lag in taking hold of the big change in what Facebook is allowing businesses to do now. We have read almost nothing of its value in all the usual blog circles. We have seen no large brands take up this sudden freedom in Facebook design. In the fast-paced world of social media one would expect a door like this to be not only celebrated, but rushed through.

Dropping Websites into Facebook

That is basically what iFrame is: a website nested inside Facebook. Now separately hosted material with all the bells and whistles of HTML and JavaScript can be dropped right into your business Fan Facebook page as an initial welcome to non-fans, as well as a resource to your current users. I’ll discuss a bit of what this means in the broader scale farther below, but essentially most of the design achievements that allow dynamic and engaged experiences on the web now can be funneled down into the Facebook environment, an commercial environment we must all admit sorely in need of it.

There have been a few posts on how to do it. This from Hyperarts, and  Social Mouths had perhaps the best introductory version of these. And Mashable had this excellent lay of the land post about the change when the change came about. But largely it seems that the opportunity has not been explored. This post is about one such exploration, a welcome page designed for the Facebook page Tonner Doll Company by Deep Soni at Essence Labs. Tonner Doll is going through a complete redesign of their web presence and social media and this new Facebook Welcome page is part of it. They have a substantial and very active Facebook fan following, but the challenge is how to inspire these fans and collectors to connect more with other Tonner new media offerings (and a new website due this Summer), as well as to more deeply inspire the casual user who might happen upon their page. The business challenge in social media platforms, especially those as restrictive as Facebook, is how to funnel users to other platforms and engage ultimately in more a committed and meaningful investment. Each business has strengths that need to come across in social media. One of the advantages that Tonner Doll has is that its product is visually striking, how does one communicate that in the bland and banal desert of Facebook blue and white.

The answer really is: iFrame.

The Tonner Facebook Page: gamify the entrance

Deep Soni used Ajax and JQuery to create a dynamic interface that would really catch the eye, especially designed to pique the interest of users that it must attract if it is going to begin building a next generation of Tonner Doll collectors. The page comes alive at the touch of the mouse. What is central to this approach is the keyhole effect, creating the experience of a company’s world going far beyond the expected restrictions of what company Fan Facebook page can offer. For those of you who do not watch the little video discussion, or visit the page and explore for yourself, I’ll outline some of the innovative features the Tonner Doll Facebook page employs.

Most striking is that the splash page is mouse-sensitive and scrolls in all directions beyond the natural Facebook frame. This unusual movement and the grid space was pushed to a limit in this design in an attempt to gamify the site. We want users – even those who might experience a momentary orientation challenge – to feel the need to explore. This is a play and imagination company and so we brought unique dynamics to what can otherwise be a stultifying commercial environment. If Facebook has one challenge as it attempts to create  a business-friendly space, it is that it must provide a freedom of expression for businesses parallel to what personal users experience. IFrame is the beginning of that. The reason why the drab blue and white template of Facebook works so well for personal use is that it does not interfere. All the joyful status updates, friend tagging and party photo uploads stand out from it. Yet for companies this same feature of non-interference becomes dulling. Companies do not produce the same kinds of interactions that individuals do. Tonner Doll Company actually has a robust and committed Facebook fan base that uploads photos and comments daily, but the Facebook template has still remained constrictive. With iFrame a window is opened up, a large window into which one can pour endless ideas of design. Tonner Facebook page represents just one version of what can be done.

Perhaps the biggest result of iFrame is that products can now be shown directly in the Facebook environment. Rich photographs and quantities that could never have fit in the narrow margins now become scrollable and clickable to external website pages. Website funnels now reach well within Facebook and users have at their fingertips the full variety of not only product, but also a company’s social media platforms. Products can now be browsed and compared, and YouTube pages or blogs can have a strong and up to date presence.

Welcome non-Fans, Resource your Fans

At this time Facebook limits an iFrame welcome page to be set as the default only for non-fans that visit the page. This means that when a non-fan types in your Facebook page url or clicks over to it, they do not come to your wall where they encounter conversations or announcements they have little connection to yet. Instead they are greeted with a Facebook keyhole welcome page. Importantly this is a company’s first chance to capture the user’s imagination and create an affective bond. Immediately a user can browse aspects of a company, interact with the company message well beyond the static FBML pages of the past. As you can see from the screen shot above one is free to design navigation to pages within the iFrame (at top), but also to designate internal Facebook navigation to these same pages. An iFrame as dynamic and content rich as the Tonner example is something you don’t just want to offer non-fans. Fans can reach all of its features through the sidebar as well. It could be that Facebook would expand the default option to all users, fans included – one suspects that Facebook had some rather profound uses in mind when they opened their pages to iFrame for business  – but as of now iFrame acts in a dual fashion: it dynamically greets new visitors to your brand, and it establishes a content rich bed for tabs in the side bar.

Visit Deep Soni’s description of the Tonner Doll iframe design here. Or the page itself here.

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more on brands as persons: facebook’s news feed of brands & pages

Just a brief follow-up from yesterday’s post on how brands can now act as persons, again drawing from the example of my wife’s fan page. Facebook has provided businesses all the tools to start building a person-like series of relationship building actions. As mentioned previously: liking pages, wall-posting on pages, and commenting in threads (not mentioned before: including the “@” attribution in your own post and thereby simultaneously posting to a brand or fan wall). One of these new tools is that Facebook has given your fan page its very own News Feed – found on the Home Tab – where all the recent and top posts of fan pages you have liked are conveniently found. It is like a b2b (brand to brand) mini-Facebook interface. What seems implicit is that Facebook hopes that businesses will not only start b2b relationships through likes of fan pages, but also begin time-sensitive habits of feed watching, just like a person would. Through your News Feed you can respond in kind, “liking” posts or comments, finding topic-friendly avenues for interaction, promoting affinities between not only companies, but also admins and followers of those branded pages. In this way Facebook potentially becomes significantly more like Twitter. What Facebook is thinking that fan pages will develop a “page stream” that becomes a central part of how they interact across the FB social space.

The one serious problem that Facebook fan pages struggled with was that there was no pulse, no sense of back and forth connection on many of their incarnations. Businesses took them to be broadcast pages that you pulled people into. What makes Facebook (and social media in general) dynamic is that each node, each person, was a doorway to other things happening. One sometimes like to “over hear” an interaction, and then slowly step into it. The triangle of communication – the other, third person – is fundamental. That’s how social media grows.

brands as persons – the new facebook

Today’s post is a development out of a brief, light Twitter exchange over the new fan Facebook profile. I was drawn originally to social media strategist Carri Bugbee‘s perhaps humorous thought that Facebook had intentionally reduced the impact of brands on Facebook fan pages in order to force them to buy more ads to help traffic:

I felt that this was a wonderful, irony-flavored Tweet, and given some of Facebook’s recent problems with appearances of self-serving greed it had first-blush elements of traction. I think we all have our doubts about Facebook and I’ll go as far as most when imagining the nefarious but clever strategies of companies. The big problem is that Facebook’s new changes to the fan profile page have the potential to be such a game-changing boon to business I would say that this criticism really is diametrically opposed to the truth. Facebook has not reduced the number of ways that a business can reach its audience with messaging, it has multiplied them to almost a radical degree. Facebook has turned brands and companies into functional “persons”.

As I understood it, Carri’s major resistance to the changes has been the loss of the Facebook tabs. And to this I have great sympathy. Because the past page was so rigid, and the company’s role so boxed, tabs were one of the few ways that companies could creatively engage users with navigation and messaging. But the loss of tabs is really the loss of an old way of Facebooking for companies I contend. First of all, custom landing pages are still perhaps the most important way of controlling company messaging on Facebook. And for Real Estate companies for instance, very strong interactive apps on the landing page (through a company like Roost) can make up a great deal for the loss of the central visual of tabs. It would have been nice if we hadn’t spent so much time designing our pages with the tabs essentially in mind, and if Facebook had given us a much better heads up, but the changes have been impressive and generous.

First a Bit About the Pics

The most obvious thing that replaces the tabs is the top “film strip” of 5 pictures. I’ve written previously how this film strip image in the personal profile suddenly joins the FB picture ads on the right now to an entire frame of images, linking ads to all the visual information in a way that should lead to higher CTRs. Also, should be noted that by making the business oriented fan page in the same format as the personal page, the line between business and persons on Facebook is by design further blurred. That is a main goal of the Facebook changes. Additionally though Facebook has now given companies, in a swap for tabs, creative control over the prime real estate of the top of the page, from left margin to center. If companies are smart about the photos they present – if they don’t just want to use it to humanize themselves in casual shots like a personal FB page, this has real opportunity. It has been said that some companies are not photo-oriented companies, but this should be a simply fantastic space to work with. The image below shows what has been done with the 5 pictures. As a non-design man creativity to this extreme is not something I’ve ventured towards – and I am unsure how the auto mix is overcome, perhaps its is not – but one thing is clear a lot can be done with this space. Even just selecting images that convey your brand in a cycle can bring strong messaging that did not exist before:

image via mashable the techcrunch how to

Aside from this unusual new top space, the biggest changes to brand fan pages run quite a bit deeper. In fact so deep that the entire game of social marketing on Facebook has changed for businesses. Contrary to the intuition that brands have become more limited, it was in the previous state that they had be chained down, islanded as passive landing spaces that one had to lure people to through non-Facebook (or FB PPC) means. Suddenly now brands and companies have been given the power of “persons”. They can actively roam the social space of Facebook, and engage targeted users with great flexibility. As I’ll talk about they can build b2b relationships. They can brand associate and value themselves in countless ways previously barred.

Business, Brand and Person

I’m going to use as an illustrative example of the new fan Facebook pages my wife’s own fan Facebook page. My wife’s page is just a modest fan page. She is an amateur Muay Thai fighter and her YouTube page had gotten enough communications to suggest a social space would be best for all the interactions. It’s a niche page, but it represents the way in which Facebook is attempting to blur the line between business and person – brands and interests – in their profile change move. People make a mistake if they believe that it is only the big brand fan pages that are in play in the new model. Not at all. Fan pages are going to proliferate (that is what is behind the new Facebook identity toggle, the promotion of persons being multiple admins). They are not only going to represented big companies; more and more they are going to represent segmentations of personal lives, interests and activities. And it is in this context that the new powers of a business to act like a person (with interests) has to be appreciated. I’m going to use my wife’s small page to illustrate how brands and companies can now project their message, form valuable associative connections, increase impressions and much more. The main change that social marketing has brought to business is that brands have had to work harder to become personal, and because Facebook may be the most personal of social media spaces, being able to act as persons on Facebook is an essential new tool in this.

A main advantage of the new b2b relationships – let’s say b2b is brand to brand instead of business to business with the added understanding that even people now are operating as brands too –  is that when a fan page likes another fan page that page can appear in the left column sidebar as a form of free advertisement. Further, it operates as something of an endorsement. The fan page has control over which liked pages appear there, if they wish to chose to exercise it, but the biggest deal is that your business page will receive free impressions if you get another fan page to like it.

In the above example you can see that Alias Fight Wear gets prime placement pretty far up on her left margin. At least half of Sylvie’s followers are a choice demographic for Alias, and in fact Sylvie has a relationship with Alias as she is sponsored by them, and even writes for them. This goes possible Facebook relationship between company and endorser goes all the way up the commercial ladder. Fan pages can be braided to reflect explicit associations. But just above the Alias page is Master Toddy’s Muay Thai. This is company that Sylvie has no affiliation with at all, though in the realm of female Muay Thai it is an important brand name. It’s presence communicates something about Sylvie’s page and interest. Both of these are free, prime placements for both small companies in an audience that is receptive to their business. Neither placement has been pursued.

Now, it may be objected that Sylvie’s fan page is really just a person, why would a “real” brand like another real brand, and give free advertising. There are lots of reasons for this. One may be that larger, more prominent brands become valuable to other companies in the association because of the image they represent. Either the large brand confers a beneficial association of strength to the smaller company, or – and here is something missed in the move – it gives smaller companies the opportunity to act like persons. Let’s say a plumbing company likes the Starbucks fan page. Immediately there is an affinity established with other Starbucks lovers. The appearance of the Starbucks fan page in the sidebar can instantly humanize the plumbing company. They are coffee drinkers like us! Perhaps there are even associations towards hard work or late hours that come with the Starbucks fan page placement. Or think about the cloud of values that surrounds Starbucks followers:

image via the era of interest

The point of social media is to project a transparency towards the human beings within a company, and this can be accomplished through brand association. If an accountant business page likes the WSJ this is something that mutually serves both entities. In fact this hand-washing-hand can be the source of a substantial interweave of company to company connections, one that simply has not existed before this new Facebook page change. It’s one thing to quote a NY Times article on your business Facebook page, another thing to like the NY Times, something your followers might also do.

Carri brought up an excellent and serious point in our brief discussion. Companies have to be very careful who they endorse and travel with. Connection cuts two ways. A wrong turn and you get dragged down a public image alleyway you don’t want to go down. I can certainly see this to be the case with large corporations. The pages they like have to be select because they are making endorsements of a kind. All the same, encouraging other pages to like your page provides roots for your brand in very focused social spaces, associations that are as risky as having individual persons like your page. For companies smaller than the elite, fan page liking as a company is the opportunity to present yourself as a person in a personal space. A golden social media combination. A mix of business associations reflecting real partnerships, and the kind of likes that a person would make, go a long way to portraying what the business yet still emotive scope of the company is.

Becoming Biz Social on Facebook

This directs us to another feature of the new Facebook. When you have liked a fan page you can then post on that page, as a brand. Let me repeat that with more detail. You can present yourself to the focused audience of another page and if you do it with sympathy to that environment you can confer upon yourself the values of that page. Of course this should be done sensitively, but brand to page posting is a powerful capacity that has to be weighed. Consider below. A company with investment toward images of women’s health might like a Breast Cancer Awareness page, and post something in support on their project. If anything I want to communicate here, Facebook pages are not just big-boy brands duking it out for attention, where everyone is your enemy/competitor with the big risk of being associated with the wrong partner. They are a wide array of brands, interests and persons of increasing variety, and there is much to invest in in ways that may be far more effective than any Facebook ad would bring. A business can entered into the actual social conversation in a way that is analogous to the flexibility of conversation that Twitter affords. There are some increased risks, but in fact there are even bigger chances for gain, as long as they are strategized out.

An additional benefit to the direct association achieved through a wall post, if you wall-post on a liked page your post will then appear in the News Feed of all the followers of your own page (below). (It will also be seen in “recent activity” on your wall. ) It’s pretty significant if you are a business that tends to only broadcasts news about yourself, the kind of thing that only the most hardened followers would find interesting. Here, instead of putting a “deal” or a new blog post title into followers New Feeds, you can put evidence of an interaction on a topic obliquely connected to your brand. This lateral wall-post gives readers something to grasp onto other than the broadcast of your own wonderfulness, very much in the same way that a Twitter interaction might draw a user into a topic or a partner.

The idea of entering the conversation as a brand – a whole new para-advertising social space – involves actually entering the conversation. That is, as a fan page you can make a comment on a comment thread of a page you have liked. In the example below, not only has your brand liked the Starbucks page, perhaps posted on the Starbucks wall (and thus on your followers feed)  it now has made a comment on the post that is floated to the top of the everyone mode of the Starbucks wall. In everyone mode the first listing isn’t even a post by Starbucks, but is a post that is weighted by Facebook as the most interactive.  Commenting where others comment is a way of presenting the most social side of your brand. It not only portrays you as conversational, it also puts you in the context of users who have already commented. As with Twitter there are strong social etiquette restrictions on the mode of how you comment. But it is a rich source for brand exportation and image shaping.

There are additional sources of Facebook interaction that are possible now. How about liking a community activity page and posting comments there if you are a company that is connected to that region or the nature of those events? And if you are a Hudson Valley business, why would you not support those who are looking to further the community itself, even if you are not immediately invested in those events? There is much to be had here. Perhaps through interaction you can find yourself sponsoring a future event. Building real ties with those who already have a stake in your area can be beneficial for both, the business and the user.

And lastly, business names, brand associations, cause pages, area pages do not exhaust what a Facebook page can be. There are interest pages that do nothing more than provide anchors to interests (with a large number of followers). While the interaction here is minimal, it does allow a business to associate itself with broad interests that further personalize its presence, giving a potential user/follower of your page a point of identification: me too. Below is the Muay Thai interest page, but there are thousands of interest pages to like now.

The key is to build a profile of activities (likes, comments, posts) that illustrate the values and relationships that the brand expresses, just as a person would. While there are restrictions on businesses to just whom it is best to associate with, this new way of business to present themselves is unparalleled in the history of advertising (not to overstate it). We have to think differently. Social Media is not broadcast. As the line between brand and person continues to blur, as the variety of fan pages expands, the actions of a company in this environment necessarily will become more humanizing,  more value-rich. What Facebook has done is empower businesses to at least consider the ways that they can both export their brand, but also associate their brand in a much more identifiable way, far beyond the mere advertising sphere.

This is of course not yet to mention the urgently needed notification feature in the new page which enables real time admin interaction with posters,  or the multiplicity of poster ID toggles between pages which allows a much more fluid human commitment to administrating fan pages, as well as an additional ability to comment on your own page, as a person. These are immense improvements to the business side of Facebook that should change the way that fan pages are handled and experienced.

I really want to thank Carrie Bugbee for the impetus for writing this piece. It comes out of only a brief discussion we had, but it touched off a real enthusiasm for what Facebook is doing in this recent change.

using gifting to steer message

photo from bazaarblog

Ian Greenleigh at Bazaarblog writes about how Toyota was able to counter a trending “negative online sentiment” through a story donation campaign on Facebook.

Kimberley’s social media team saw an opportunity to rebuild trust in the Toyota brand after last year’s high-profile recall. They saw an increase in negative online sentiment that they needed to address, and they realized that the traditional route—“talking about ourselves”—wasn’t going to do the trick. Instead, they devised a way of encouraging their customers to share positive sentiment online with each other (and prospective Toyota customers) through a clever campaign called Auto-Biography. “It’s what everybody else says about Toyota that matters,” said Kimberley. First, they asked owners to share their experiences on Toyota’s Facebook page, from the “wonderful,” to the “crazy,” to the “not-so-happy.” Stories could be text, photos, videos, or all of the above—a rich mix of user-generated content.

The campaign, so far, has resulted in the submission of over 13,000 individual stories, and has been seen by nearly 150,000 visitors. Thousands of these stories were about safety, and served collectively as a powerful asset to counter the public perception of Toyotas as unsafe. The submissions were overwhelmingly positive, but negative stories were not censored. To “extend the life of the content,” as Kimberley put it, six stories were selected for conversion into minute-long animated shorts which have had close to 100,000 views since October.

via How Toyota and UPS use social media as reputation defense « The Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Blog.

What strikes me, as I’ve started exploring the sense that Social Media operates through a Gift Economyexplicitly written about yesterday – is how opening up a space for stories (and not really complaints) is an act of generosity. That is, Toyota offers its social standing to carve out a media space for others, conferring importance upon itself, a sense of surplus, and in turn users feel a surplus in themselves when they donate a story or experience to the space. It is not just “we want your feedback” or “we care about you”. It’s reciprocal and always asymmetric acts of donation, gift giving.  

a war between the “photo” and the “word”: Facebook v. Google

The Picture and A Thousand Words

Piper Jaffray tech analyst Gene Munster among the Facebook bulls. He just gave an interview to Bloomberg TV which must have made any Googlers listening cringe.” “Google has given up on social. Facebook owns the social graph, Google can’t replicate it, and that race is over. Google is just going to continue improving search instead of trying to compete head-on with Facebook. Facebook is the place in Silicon Valley where all the rockstars want to work. Facebook is Google five years ago, and Google is Microsoft.”

Google vs Facebook In Social, Innovation, and Growth Foo forum at WebmasterWorld.

This is my natural response to the question of Google and the social:

The “social” war between Facebook and Google (and the ad dollars involved) really strikes me as the war between the “photographic” and the “lexical”. Facebook wouldn’t be what it is without the “face”, and Google without the search term. Which of these are more social? The face one would have to say at first blush. But the face lacks depth and breadth of contextual communication. So FB is attempting to lexify (is that a word?) its database with interests and likes, and Google trying to find in-roads into human relationships (Places, email – already established). Facebook has one huge problem though, the “social” often has strong anti-commerce assumptions.

I should add that Twitter as a (largely) lexical medium really seems poised here at the front line between between Google and Facebook, between search and social ties. It possesses the lexcial dimension to open up and expand social, affect-bound media, and yet the potential for social bonds to be brought to bear on data-rich, search contexts.

RSS Reader Death?

Fred at a VC posts evidence in an excellently exampled article that RSS still is alive and kicking amid the double Tsunami of connections that are Twitter and Facebook. But I have to lightly wonder where the general protest comes from. More and more (instead of less and less) I feel that industry is misunderstanding Facebook and Twitter, or mis-picturing it, as if they are replacing something instead of repositioning it. The very size and rapidity of their growth inspire interpretations of radical takeover as if there is a fundamental social break. Twitter and Facebook in this sense appear overestimated. Radio ads still exist in breadth even though we have television. Connections are about ways of life. As some commenters pointed out, the RSS is for substantive digestion, while Twitter (and/or Facebook) for something much else, snap-shot, skimming. If anything RSS finds itself enhanced by, amplified by Twitter and Facebook. It finds new planes, ones which its links-to disseminate. Sure, now blog titles now have greater lexical lifting power demand (no longer are they merely competing in a Reader Context, but in a Twitter feed, a Facebook link, an organic Caffeine jolt even), but RSS offers a secondary investment tier. Sure I’ll Twitter follow your feed, but if you draw me in I’ll RSS it. The interesting thing is that Twitter and Facebook actually have created the perspective that RSS reader feeds are MORE substantive than they once were. At one time not long ago blog posts were read socially and informationally as relatively thin and vapid – in terms of media stigma. In contrast now they actually stand as much richer anchor points beneath short, pictureless character limits or inert Like buttons.

Will there be a time that RSS is gone from intentional use? Certainly. But it seems more likely that the architecture and intent that is RSS will have been absorbed and incorporated – exapted – rather than discarded.

With techne, it is always about ethos, modes of life. And degrees of power.

facebook aesthetic penetration: thoughts at aimClear

Had a nice exchange with Aimclear, mostly around the new Facebook personal profile design and for me the power of its aesthetic joining of photographic ads to the rest of its photographic content. Merry Merud’s excellent and detailed post on how deeply Facebook is penetrating into user interests (and how they can serve advertisers) really got me thinking about how elegant and bold the Facebook profile move was. For the chain of thoughts:

I first commented:

The one thing I would want to add is something to the idea that the aesthetic changes may not be relevant marketers:

“While aesthetic changes in Facebook profiles may not seem relevant to marketers, the new profile elements will effect how some users self-identify and express their predilections… and thus, effecting targeting metrics.”

The aesthetic changes indeed by my eye are entirely marketer directed, in that the provide a visual bridge from the operative left column, to the right side advertisement column.

When they came out I did a very quick mock up of how these changes created a visual chain of images, joining the left to the right side through the filmstrip up top. Its actually a masterstroke of design that marketers should be interested in. I would expect a higher conversion rate for Facebook ads, and would love to see an eye-tracking study of how the changes are viewed.

To which MM replied,

@mediasres thanks for the thoughtful comment. I agree, the new profile layout does draw the eye a bit more and will hopefully lead to more clicks and eventually conversions. Thank you for pointing it out as it *IS* relevant to marketers.

The post was meant for marketers who use Facebook Ads to consider the possibilities of new targeting inventory through Facebook’s new prompted “interested, etc” fields and not on the aesthetic of the new profiles.

This WebTrends post does the impact of Facebook’s profile change more justice: Facebook Ads 66% More Ad Space & What It Means for Marketers

Which lead to my thought,

I should have qualified my comment as only parenthetical and hopefully complimentary to what you were saying. In a sense the conversion increase that may come out of Facebook ads, first is grounded itself in exactly the targeting capabilities you so beautifully illustrate, only then coupled with the CTRs of a new design. But I see the two intertwined, as a single move by Facebook – deeper penetration into the user, both informationally and aesthetically. For some reason when I first saw the new design I was inordinately shocked by how ad friendly it was, as if it may even have been the overriding reason for the change – how the ad column suddenly was aesthetically, graphically fused to the content of the page. Much as how Google aesthetically blurs the lines between its text AdWords ads, and the (largely) text organic results (and now the more enhanced text options on the left side), Facebook seems to do the same thing with the photographic emphasis in content. By such reasoning I wonder if it really is a photo ad medium more than a text ad medium, made for expressly that. This is one future where Facebook may have Google beat, Facebook has become about faces.

What is your feeling if you don’t mind me asking? Do you expect Facebook to ever overtake Google in terms of advertising effectiveness or dollars? Something of what you are saying is that Facebook is quickly building an architecture of interests meant to rival the intents expressed lexically in a search (and a search history). It strikes me that they have a hurdle of trust to overcome there, the barrier between the private and the public that is much more easily bridged by searches for information, rather than passive advertising.