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Published: August 27, 2007 at 08:56 AM GMT
Last Updated: December 1, 2009 at 08:56 AM GMT
Originally published August 27, 2007
Who's Your Friend and Who's Not? Facebook Users Can Get Rude Awakening.
Communications opportunities proliferated by new media technologies are simultaneously relationship threats.
Since publishing our three-part series on Facebook in mid-June, I've been personally addicted to building a network and exploring the applications offered in the Facebook social community. At the same time, the number of LinkedIn relationship requests I'm receiving has increased exponentially. Suddenly, I'm immersed in social networking, a phenomenon I've been following closely, but until now considered the domain of the 12 to 24 demographic.
What has stunned me is the breadth and depth of corporate executive participation in Facebook. As we reported in June, and Advertising Age more recently pointed out, Facebook is clearly no longer exclusively for the .edu crowd. The implications for executives, however, extend well beyond the obvious connections and networked links. Facebook, LinkedIn and other executive social networks are redefining relationships, self-perceptions and the very nature of friendship.
I've been surprised by the quality of relationships I can initiate and foster on Facebook. Bob Kerrey, former Senator and president of the New School; Wagner James Au, who I quoted in my new Virtual Worlds book; Procter & Gamble interactive marketing executives Vivienne Bechtold and Ted McConnell; AOL founder Steve Case and his wife Jean; Craig's List founder Craig Newmark; CNBC host Jim Cramer; Google's Tim Armstrong; Mark Cuban; Don Graham of The Washington Post; Jason Calacanis; YouTube founder Chad Hurley; CBS interactive chief Quincy Jones and his CMO Patrick Keane; Lachlan and Elisabeth Murdoch; AOL's Ted Leonsis; Bob Pittman; Steve Newhouse; Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales; Steve Wozniak; Carat's David Verklin and Sarah Fay; Zenith Media's Peggy Green; Sean Finnegan of OMD; Strauss Zelnick.
Equally interesting are those who have not yet become complicit in the Facebook revolution. The interactive heads of many media agencies; network executives; agency media executives. While a who's who of interactive media is engaged with Facebook, most of the traditional media community is still…well, traditional.
Through Facebook, I've reconnected with Jarl Mohn, who I haven't seen since he retired from Liberty Media years ago; exchanged e-mails with former AOL programming chief Jim Bankoff and ex-NBC entertainment president Scott Sassa about my new JackMyers.com website, which they learned about through my Facebook profile update. I've found and "friended" Jaclyn Myers, a Purdue student; Jackie Myers, who graduated last year from Salisbury College; Jacqueline Myers of London, Canada; Jack Myers of London, England; Jackie Myers from Kansas; Jack Myers of Michigan State; Brian Myers of The Boston Consulting Group; Jonathan Meyers of Forbes; Al Meyers of Turner Broadcasting; and Ashley Meyers, a hostess at Les Deux in Los Angeles who "gets paid to party."
Even spending a few minutes on Facebook, you find people you know. Join and do a search for Jack Myers. You'll find me and while you can't immediately access my profile page, you can access my listing of nearly 700 friends. Among them, you're sure to find some people you either know or you'd like to know. Simply send them an invitation to become your friend. "Friend" me first so you'll have a mutual friend and up the odds of having your invitation accepted.
It get's interesting when your invitation is either accepted or ignored. Why is someone who I thought was actually a friend and colleague ignoring my invitation? Is he simply not paying attention, or is he consciously "dissing" me? What will I say and how will I act next time I see him? Should I ask why he didn't accept my invitation? Should I simply avoid the topic? The rules of business friendships and relationships are being changed by Facebook and other social networking sites. A new layer of business judgment is coming into play that we did not anticipate and that most of us are not prepared to manage. You better not sign up for Facebook unless you plan on paying attention. But you're making as much a statement by your non-participation as you are by your presence.
I don't know Susan Mernit of Yahoo! but she has more than 700 friends including many of my friends. Should I send her a "friend" invitation, should I wait and see if she "friends" me, or should I do nothing? I can't see her profile but I think I probably would benefit from knowing her. Doing nothing and waiting are foreign to the nature of Facebook. So I send an invitation and wait and see. (She accepts and I now know she heads the Yahoo! Personals team and is "thinking about the next release.") But I've also sent out more than 50 invitations that recipients have chosen to ignore. They include people I actually consider my business friends. Should I reconsider the relationship?
I've met Al Gore several times but he didn't accept my invitation; I've never met San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom but he's now a friend. I've met Ana Marie Cox, formerly of Gawker and now Time Magazine, and I know Abbey Klaassen of Advertising Age, but they haven't accepted my invitation. Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon and Stuart Elliot and Virginia Heffernan of The New York Timesare Facebook friends. Do I now value and measure these relationships differently? If Jeremy Allaire of Brightcove fails to accept my offer of friendship, even though we know each other, while Dimitry Shapiro of Veoh does accept, does it affect my judgment toward them and their companies?
It's fun receiving invites from those you know and those you don't know, and discovering the common links. Plus it's great to find old friends. I hadn't been in touch with Garth Ancier since he joined BBC America as its president. Thanks to Facebook, we've now reconnected. My friend Lou Borelli regularly "pokes" me to say hello, much easier and less demanding than an e-mail. I don't know Tam Bousquet of OMD Los Angeles, but we share several mutual friends as well as similar tastes in music and television shows. I value this new friendship as well as more than 100 new Facebook friends who work for companies that subscribe to my reports but who I don't know, and many who until Facebook did not know me.
Some of my invitees, like Kate Crisalli and Kristen Green, sent me a message asking how I know them and why I want to become a friend. Many in the under-24 crowd, who grew up with Facebook as part of their college experience, are struggling with the concept of this personal link becoming a business tool. It's "freaky" for a college age son or daughter to include their parents among their friends, giving them access to their personal profile pages. But how do they decline or ignore the invitation? Either a new site that remains exclusive to students will be needed, or students will need two profiles, one that's parent accessible and one that's not. Recent college graduates are uncomfortable with their bosses becoming their "friends." But this is not your older brother's Facebook. If you're young and in business, you'd better adjust and take advantage of your boss' and colleagues' contacts. They've never before been so accessible to you.
Of course, there's also the fun and flip aspect to Facebook. Catherine Zeta-Jones is now my friend, as are Michael Douglas, Haylie Duff, Sally Field, Katie Heigl, Robin Porter, Michelle Dessler's (24) sister Lizzie, The Hills' Lauren Conrad, Russell Simmons. I get the impression that Haylie might actually be maintaining her own Facebook profile, and whoever is working the Catherine Zeta-Jones page is doing an especially good job. Who knew she likes rugby, boxing and a few beers?
Social networks, led by Facebook, are altering the landscape of business communications and connections. First it was e-mail, then instant messaging and chat, and then MySpace and Facebook that revolutionized interpersonal connectivity. Now Facebook and LinkedIn, inevitably to be followed by a slew of new vertical b-to-b sites, are introducing a new virtual realm to business communications. It's a different world and those who stay away from it, stay away at their own career risk. Unfortunately, those who join up face other risks. Communications opportunities proliferated by new media technologies are simultaneously relationship threats.
Susan Sarandon at the SAGs, Beer Ads and More: Gender News Weekly
Inspired by Jack Myers' new book "The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century" (coming in March), this is a weekly blog focused on gender equality, gender politics and the shift in gender norms in business and culture. Read on for this week's news roundup.
MediaBizBuzz: The Super Bowl, Comcast, ESPN, Viceland and More
A roundup of the week's key news from MediaVillage member companies and the wider media industry. This week, financial results from Comcast and Google shed more light on viewer and advertising trends, Nielsen fixes ESPN data, digital disrupts jobs at media companies, Yahoo tries to turn around its turnaround, Viceland’s executive landscape becomes clearer and how many digital ads a Super Bowl TV spot can buy.
Why I’m Excited About the Super Bowl for the First Time Ever
I have never been excited about the Super Bowl. I’m not a football fan. I neither enjoy nor understand it. The ads, which I do enjoy, are either released before the game or available immediately afterwards. I rarely care about the half-time performance. I do not like beer, buffalo wings, plain potato chips or really most go-to Super Bowl party refreshments. I do not like Sunday night engagements, as they conflict with “Downton Abbey.” Lest anyone rescind my invitation to their Super Bowl party, I am pleased to say that this year I am extremely excited about the big game. Why? Two words: Fantasy football.
ANA vs. 4As: The Advertiser Agency Battle Rumbles On
The argument between advertisers and media agencies in the USA over transparency rumbles on. Earlier Cog Blogs have commented on advertisers’ concerns over the agencies’ media buying practices, and their hiring (via their trade body the ANA) of two consultancies to look into the whole matter of where the money goes. Now, in what sounds like an attempt to get their retaliation in way before the consultants have even reported, the agencies’ trade body (the 4As) last week issued something called “Transparency Guiding Principles of Conduct.” In line with what seems to be something of a strained atmosphere between the two parties, the 4As did this without any discussion with their clients, whose trade body is as we said in mid-consultation and who might have had something interesting to input into what they consider to be the principles of transparency.
NBC Digital’s Bill Smee on the Evolution of News
News creation and coverage is one area of the media that has seen particular change in the past few years. Affordable easy-to-use production equipment, the shift from film to video to digital formats, advancements in production technology and expansive access to anyone and everyone via the Internet have dramatically shifted the business of news content formation.
Mindshare: Coordinates for the Perfect Playlist
This week on Mindshare’s Culture Vulture Live, Amanda Hechinger explores mobile location data and the opportunities for brands.
Access Confidential Brand Watch: AMA vs. ANA
The pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to controversy of late. Mergers and acquisitions activity, poor press and a divided front on DTC ads may have side effects on 2016 ad budgets.
The MediaVillage Articles Club -- February Selections
When Articles Club met late last month for our first meeting of 2016, we marked an important milestone … our one-year anniversary! While we have only been sharing our recommendations here at MediaVillage for a few months, we have together shared a year’s worth of our favorite articles. If we can just track down those missing spreadsheets from our first few months of meetings, we will have a pretty impressive roster. Our February picks are listed below. For the first time, they include television and radio content.
Data, Consumer Insights and Breaking With the Past
The last several years have delivered significant progress in the data insights sphere. Credit most players in the arena with responding to the changes the digital environment has enabled. Television has responded to improve accountability beyond traditional TV metrics we all grew up with, no small factor in its market resurgence. Agencies and traditional media platforms have instituted the Chief Data Officer position, to signal that “data” has an elevated seat at the table.
Out of Home Poised to Deliver Dynamic Analytics to Advertisers
The data and analytics revolution that ROI-hungry advertisers have been waiting for is upon us.
Five Questions for VSA's Anne-Marie Rosser on Alibaba Defined, China, and the Art of Navigating Cultural Perceptions
VSA's Anne-Marie Rosser was kind enough to take some time to discuss with AdForum's James Thompson the recent collaboration between VSA and Alibaba in developing Alibaba Defined, a comprehensive digital experience created by VSA Partners to help audiences outside of China understand the company.
Cantor Fitzgerald’s Youssef Squali on Ad Technology and 2016 Trends
Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project discusses ad technology and 2016 trends with Cantor Fitzgerald’s Internet analyst and Managing Director Youssef Squali.
When Reaching Viewers, Hallmark Gets to the Heart of the Matter
In this era of Peak TV there are more than 1400 series vying for viewers' attention throughout the year. Faced with such mounting competition, how do television programmers cut through the clutter, especially during the frigid winter season when viewing levels tend to be at their highest? Building strategies around holidays helps. "Emotional connections are key drivers in decision-making,” explains Michelle Vicary, Crown Media Family Networks’ Executive Vice President of Programming and Network Program Publicity. She's talking specifically about two of Hallmark Channel's annual programming events: Countdown to Christmas (October 30 – January 1) and Countdown to Valentine’s Day (January 30 – February 14), which deliver on the two big sentiments of the winter season -- connectivity and relationships.
The Year Ahead with Mindshare’s Colin Kinsella: Part 2
In part two of this Mindshare interview series, Colin Kinsella, CEO, North America and Katerina Sudit, Executive Director, North America explore the year ahead for the advertising industry, with a bigger look at influencer marketing and digital content.
Stuart Elliott: Super Bowl Ad Vets vs. Rookies -- Who Will Win?
The big story on Sunday in Super Bowl 50 is likely to be the faceoff between the veterans and the eager rookies. There also are different levels of experience among the football players.