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Published: August 27, 2007 at 04:32 AM GMT
Last Updated: December 1, 2009 at 04:32 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.
Video of the Week: Fuse Brings Transcendent to TCA
As ever, one never really knows what’s coming next during a typical day at a Television Critics Association tour – especially during the cable portion. Case in point: The grand finale to the many presentations on Friday was a party thrown by Fuse that proved once again that a smallish network largely off the radar of most critics can break right through and be noticed at this twice-annual event. The Fuse bash topped off a day of memorable panels for such well-received offerings as BBC America’s new adventure series “The Last Kingdom” (from “Downton Abbey” producer Gareth Neame); Starz’ upcoming horror action series “Ash vs. Evil Dead” (instantly one of the most talked about new series of the tour) and dramatic limited series “Flesh and Bone” (about a young woman who joins a prestigious ballet company in New York City); the IFC comedies “Gigi Does It” (starring David Krumholtz of “Numb3rs” as a 70-year-old widow and grandmother) and “Documentary Now!” (a series created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers starring Armisen and Hader that will consist of parodies of well-known documentaries), and AMC’s breathlessly anticipated “Fear the Walking Dead.”
What Might Replace the Set-Top Box?
As Cisco punts legacy SA boxes to Technicolor, I thought I'd look around my home at the existing set-top boxes and the like. We've got a whole-home DirecTV set up so that's two boxes and two remotes (though a DirecTV app can replace the remotes). At the set in the living room are two more boxes with remotes: Apple TV and Amazon's Fire make it four so far. In my office is a Comcast box; that's five. And a router makes six. We've also got three TVs, a couple of laptops, a couple of iPads and a couple of iPhones … not to mention an iPod somewhere. And, oh yeah, an Amazon Echo ("Alexa, did I miss anything?" "You missed Chromecast.")
TCA Stand-Outs Large (Hallmark, Nat Geo) and Small (WGN, Up, El Rey)
One of the most interesting things about covering the cable days of the twice-yearly Television Critics Association tours is observing which networks or network groups most successfully grab the attention of the hundreds of reporters and critics attending their press conferences and which ones don't make much of an impression at all. The results can be very surprising.
The CFO/CMO Union
Will the CFO and CMO ever form a more perfect union? I recently saw a study produced by Ernst & Young and reported in the Wall Street Journal that claims collaboration between CFOs and CMOs is increasing. The survey also acknowledges that there is still a long way to go to establish a real partnership between their responsibilities, particularly as it pertains to "common practices and cultural differences." In my opinion a perfect union is unlikely but a better working relationship is not only necessary but critical to the success of a business. Let's explore.
Multi-Sensory Experiences for Brands
This week on Mindshare's Culture Vulture Live, Mark Potts explores multi-sensory opportunities for brands.
TV is from Mars and Video is from Venus
In a spring 2015 trend report Business Insider stated that video ad revenue will double in just two years and reach nearly $5 billion in 2016, up from $2.8 billion in 2013. Consumers' engagement online, over multiple devices, increases daily. As the landscape for what exactly constitutes "TV" or "video" changes rapidly, advertisers are racing to keep up.
The Macro Forces Behind Slow GDP Growth
Ever since the end of the Great Recession a few years ago, there has been much written about the lack of both economic growth and inflation. Much of this coverage mentions that the post-recession recovery is much slower than the recovery of past recessions of the late 20th century.
Early AT&T/DirecTV Merger Questions
Now that the consummation of AT&T's merger with DirecTV is done, how will this $40 billion-plus deal impact consumers from both parties and the TV world at large? Chances are you haven't heard much over that question up to now, in part because of how this deal was completed last week -- Federal Communications Commission approval mid-Friday afternoon, and AT&T putting out a press release, and only a release, of the consummation less than two hours later. That's way late for much analysis on the part of the business news channels or journalism in general.
Trevor Noah Hits TCA; Nat Geo Honors Cecil
In performance on stage Tuesday night and again in a press conference Wednesday morning, members of the Television Critics Association got to know the man they will likely honor in the years ahead with multiple TCA Awards in the category of Outstanding News Program – controversial comedian Trevor Noah (pictured at top), who will take over Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on September 28. Noah, a smart and engaging guy who joined "The Daily Show" last year as a contributor, quickly and efficiently charmed the group, setting the stage for years of admiration and handily putting behind him lingering memories about a series of sexist and anti-Semitic jokes he tweeted a couple of years ago.
Is TV Currency Dead? Predictions from AOL Open Series
There is a lot of talk these days about the changing TV landscape, from the advancement of programmatic to the demise of dayparts, the Upfront and even our current currency. All of this made for a lively discussion at the recent AOL Open Series on Programmatic TV. The event featured a panel of media executives from across the spectrum including Dermot McCormack, President AOL Video and Studios; Jaime Power, Senior Partner at MODI Media; Dana Hayes Jr, Group Vice President of Global Partner Development for Acxiom, and Dan Aversano, Senior Vice President, Client & Consumer Insights at Turner Broadcasting. The panel was moderated by Dan Ackerman, Senior Vice President, Programmatic TV at Adap.tv.
Is the ESPN Bubble About to Burst?
It’s episode 24 of Media Unplugged with branding authority Tom Asacker and media strategist Mark Ramsey.
At Summer TCA 2015, Netflix is Everything
Is Netflix everything? It certainly seemed that way yesterday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel during the historic opening day of the 2015 Summer Television Critics Tour. In a quantum leap of participation, and perhaps as a reflection of its current position in the home entertainment marketplace, Netflix impressively filled an entire day with panels for current and upcoming programs, along with a session with Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos (pictured at top). And just like that, the scrappy streamer joined the ranks of CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and FX – the only programmers who consistently present full days of panels during TCA tours, at least those in the summer.
Stuart Elliott: A 'Gawkward' Media Moment
It probably won't be long before the gatekeepers at the world's dictionaries are asked to approve a new word: "Gawkward," meaning an embarrassing or discomforting situation drenched in schadenfreude, as when a website known for anything-goes posts that upset and provoke others gets a turn in the barrel.
The Generation Gap(s) in Digital Media
One of the less appealing characteristics of the more strident members of the digital community is their habit of suggesting that the world of media planning, buying and selling was ill-informed, ill served by its measurements and entirely unaccountable until they came along.
Media Execs' Priorities for New Media Marketplace
The rapid proliferation of new digital, mobile and social (DMS) channels has completely changed the way that companies are connecting with their consumers. DMS channels are increasingly becoming a top priority for advertisers when developing strategies and campaigns to target and engage their consumers. The opportunities and challenges that this shifting landscape presents have been well documented.