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.


social media pollination – microscopic

Cross-pollination via Facebook and YouTube

Today, I mean exactly today, social media just strikes me as amazing. Of course there are the stunning, revolutionary developments in North Africa spurred on and made possible by the media, but then there are the little things. As I’ve mentioned before, my wife runs a small Facebook like page for her amateur Muay Thai endeavors – Muay Thai is the national sport and martial art of Thailand. Today on Facebook she was contacted by a woman she hadn’t spoken to much, who she had trained with in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She had many kind words for Sylvie, and as it turns out herself writes on Muay Thai in her native Chile. She mentioned a Peruvian female fighter never heard of over here in the West who when she fights dances a Caucasan war dance, the Lezginka. In one hour, Chiang Mai Thailand, Chile, Peru, the Caucasus are all interwoven through a variety of electric postings and comments, videos shared and micro-interests. Other female fighters saw the video of a female dancing in a male sport were moved, it was immediately reposted in North Carolina, and who else  knows where now. What is most interesting is how this is happening everywhere, in a proliferation that actually preserves differences, memories and heritages, and does not merely assimilate them.

Google Running in Circles – Chris Messina and the G Social Network

With news that Google’s new venture into the Social Media landscape in a product rumored to be called Google Cirlces, aided by internet concept designer Chris Messina, I thought I’d take a look back at the The Social Agent work he did for Mozilla

Late last fall, from late November through December 2009, I worked with Mozilla Labs on a concept series that envisions what the future of a more social browser might look like. Working with the Mozilla Labs team, I produced a series of mockups and written pieces that were designed to first layout a future scenario for what I call “pop computing” — an era when computing is cheap, facile, and a part of the everyday environment.

— Chris Messina

via The Social Agent – Mozilla Labs – Chris Messina.

Here is his video summary of the main concept work he did.

As it turns out there is a rather explicit report that Chris is not part of any Google product team (quoting him), and that there is at least at this point amid Google denials not a Google Circles to present anytime soon. Though in thinking along with whatever Google Circles will eventually bring – and we read that it is meant to assess connections to others by an importance or trust factor so that it will not suffer the same clumsy issues of intimacy gradation that paralyzes Facebook growth – it seems worthwhile to note how much “trust” plays in Chris’s thinking. A Google social network, armed with its forays into universal login IDs and browser personalization, would be all about creating that seamless trust authority that a browser already possesses, and mobilizing it.

The one thing that is missing from this great calculation as I hear it being discussed and experimented on is the way that the web actually fractures identities, and that is what gives it its power to imagine and do. Much of the attempt to monetize the web has been about ways of corralling behaviors under one great personal ID, securing it, than freeing it up as much as possible under that umbrella. But there is at the heart of identification itself, as the web presents it, the ability to split off from oneself, to be other. The REAL social network innovation would be one that not only trades on invisible trust architectures like the user agent of the browser, but is able to fracture and facilitate one’s ID in a de-centralizing fashion.

Continued Thoughts

…what do I mean by this? It is pretty well known that a primary drive of internet expansion is not just how it connects us with others, but also the varied and segmented ways in which it does so asymmetrically. Actual avatars are only one aspect of this, it is more how all of the social media forms not only have an inside and an outside (friends or not friends, followed or not followed), but also an anonymous vector by which we explore and engage the space. It can be something as simple as our Facebook profile pic, or as complex as a LinkedIn resume. But the proliferation of media and uses I suggest falls right upon this capacity, the ability to not be totalized.

There are very good reasons why commerce wants to totalize and universalize users. It is after all their supposedly consolidated finances and agentized behaviors that one wants most effectively to harness. And there have been some very productive consequences of these moves towards universalization, a transparency of communication in many of the media, an ethic of representation. The problem is that anonymity, or more importantly fractured or spectrum-identity, has to some degree come to be seen only an interference in this universalizing process, affiliated as it is with spam and crime. Really though, if there was to be a social network solution 2.0, it is one that will embrace this real and kerneled propensity of internet exchange itself. I believe the autonomies of identities have to become more soap-bubbled and linked in a more de-centered fashion. The key comes back to the notion of “trust” and the architectures it is buried in, and this requires asymmetry.

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.

Twitter Users As Different Dogs?

Tom Webster at Social Media Explorer discusses some data that he believes suggests that Twitter users are not expressive of either internet users, nor social network users. They instead are those that are most open to and interested in “asymmetric connections” with relative strangers.

Data like these do not reflect causal relationships, of course – merely correlations. In the case of Twitter, which is still a growing and developing organism that has yet to cross the chasm to mainstream adoption, these findings certainly don’t posit that Twitter itself has enabled group membership. Rather, it suggests that Twitter users – a small subset of overall social networking users – are more receptive to joining groups. In other words, Twitter does not encourage or necessarily even facilitate group behavior; instead, it rather neatly aggregates humans who are already predisposed to joining groups in the first place.

If you think this through, it is of course common sense and even axiomatic. After all, what else is Twitter and other asymmetric networks than a group of loosely related (or even unrelated) individuals, seeking connection with other humans outside of their normal social circles of comfort? Most people connect with social networking sites and services to retain or foster connections with people they already know, either currently or from their past. Twitter’s asymmetric nature is such that those who join Twitter and continue to use it past an initial trial (out of curiosity, say) are those who welcome asymmetric connections with heretofore unknown humans.

via Twitter Users And Receptivity.

I love the reference to asymmetric relations, and I do believe that Tom hits on a key there, but the initial paragraph above really overstates things. Data indeed CAN reflect causal relationships and not merely correlations, that is something to be uncovered. Also the conclusion that Twitter does not encourage or facilitate certain behaviors seems completely ungrounded to my eyes. Tom seems to feel that Twitter only gathers together a kind, a class of person, segregating them, but has no active role in what they are doing. This seems odd.

Indeed it would appear that the Twitter medium’s very asymmetric relations is central here. Clearly relationships are formed through Twitter, modes of information exchange, versions of intimacy forged that simply would not exist without it. The “one way glass” of Twitter invites (I would say encourages) the very exploration that Tom picks out as essential to groups. And successes on Twitter may very well bolster one’s social skills in this thin, fast, asymmetric way. Someone who may be slightly predisposed towards social extending, once becoming experienced with Twitter may very well become proficient in those modes. This is not even considering the specific ways in which Twitter can be used to find people with specific interests, be they lists or keyword search columns.

It isn’t just that there is a breed of dog out there, and Twitter acts like a net scooping them up unmodified and without growth. It seems more the case that IF there is a predisposed nature to Twitter users, it is indeed nurtured and given to thrive in Twitter environments. This goes a bit to Tom’s final point, that branding towards Facebook and Twitter indeed should be different…there is no one “social media” strategy.

As Twitter usage begins to creep towards a double digit percentage of Americans, it is likely that differences like these between social networking users in general and Twitter users specifically, if they continue to hold true, may indicate that Twitter users are more than simply the “early adopter” subset of social networking users. Rather, it may be that active Twitter users, with their predilections for  group membership and asymmetric relationships, really are different dogs.

In other words, if you don’t have differential strategies for Facebook and Twitter (and are instead merely broadcasting similar messages across both), you are potentially missing significant opportunities for segmentation and tailored communications.

I certainly agree that strategies need to be different for different medium. And I do agree that Twitter users express different thresholds and needs for social interaction. What I would like to add is that such a strategy needs to see Twitter itself as more than an aggregate of a class of users. Rather, it needs to be seen as an active culturing of these predispositions. If indeed Twitter users are open to asymmetry, speed, thinness of communication, breadth of connection, pin-point brevity, but prone to group joining, then it is in the language of these things that brand strategy makes the most sense.

One of the most productive aspects of this may be that Twitter users as natural explorers among the anonymous, are the best Brand carriers.

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.