Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Blog Has Moved

My Blog has now moved, check out my latest posts by going to or by clicking this link Holographic Life Mapping

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Are You A Servant of The Network?

Personal Possessions?

After reading a few of the recent comments on several discussion threads I have noticed that some people seem to view their facebook network almost like a personal possession that they need to protect. I have been wondering about this concept and would like to open it up for deeper discussion.

Stewards Rights

First of all I would like to point out that ultimately facebook owns the whole network and as Jim Turner so rightly made us all aware we are just stewards and have very few rights. Facebook can pull the carpet out from under us all anytime we choose.

I'm Bigger than You!

The second point I would like to make concerns network overlap. When you have a certain network of friends in common with another person does it automatically mean that the person with the larger network can automatically claim ownership of those friends or see them as belonging to them more than to the other. And does having a big network make you somehow better or more powerful than those with smaller networks. It raises the question when people complained that they were tagged in a note and the message was spread throughout "their" network.

Artificial Limitations Of A Scarcity Mindset

I think people need to realise that you don't own your facebook network in the same way you might own your autoresponder list. Where there is overlap between my network and your network only people who maintain a scarcity mindset will try and draw lines and say this part is mine, this part is yours and this part we share. They are placing artificial limitations on something that doesn’t obey the laws of linear perception. The real value of a network is not measured in such simplistic terms its is measured in terms of relationship, connectivity and responsiveness.

Feeling Protective

There are people who have worked hard to build a quality based network who might feel protective about the asset that they created. It is pointless to try to conjure walls around something that can’t be boxed in this way. It goes against the very nature of Facebook. With 6 degrees of separation you can always find anyone if you know who the connectors are.

You Can't Force People

Facebook has the required protection levels already in place. No on can force anyone to become friends so for those who might be worried about exposing their network to undesirables they can put their minds at rest. If someone acts inappropriately you always have the choice to remove them if you feel they have abused your friendship.

Further Ripples

What often happens is that a "wrong doer" might still be connected to a large portion of your network. Their actions will still cause ripples. So it is up to your friends to exercise their own discretion and judgement to decide what policy they choose to adopt. You don't need to worry or concern yourself on this matter except perhaps to inform the person of the consequences of their actions if you have the time and the compassion.


You attract what you focus your attention on. Thanks to Brian for so eloquently pointing this fact out in his recent Note. I have been split on this subject myself so I understand the dilemma. Constantly worrying about spam will only tend to attract this to you. Instead it would be better to concentrate on the types of people who you would like to influence and attract into your network

Servants of the Network

We are already starting to realise the power and potential within facebook. Different tribes are forming made up of people who share the same values and want to build a new social media culture. Those who are truly shining are those who have become servants to the network they understand that by serving others all their needs are met. That by adding value their reputation and standing is increased and that by participating in discussion threads they are helping strengthen the tribal bonds.

"Ask not what your network can do for you but what you can do for your network"

Tribal Music

I remember reading a book that describes village life in Western Africa and says that when people play music there are no distinctions between the performers and the audience. Everyone in the tribe participates in some way, whether it is dancing, drumming, singing or just clapping along to the rhythm. Similarly on facebook there will always be more talented drummers and dancers but that doesn't mean that the singers or clappers are not important. If you take them away something very valuable has been lost. It’s the participation in a group experience that is recreating those tribal connections and what gives that sense of community an belonging.

Tyrant Taxation

Those who want to hold onto outdated hierarchical models of organisation will find themselves marginalised. Those who want to define strict boundaries between the leaders and the followers might miss the real potential that is emerging. I am not saying leaders won't be important its just that they will wield their power in a different way. It is the difference between a tyrannical king who lays down rigid laws and regulations and imposes heavy taxes and an Enlightened Ruler who is adored by his people because of his character and his sense of justice, A king who truly serves his people will build loyalty based on love and trust and be transparent in all his actions.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

If Your Headline Sucks No One Will Listen

Strong Headlines are Vitally Important

In the world of social media your headline is the most vitally important aspect of your efforts to get noticed and if it sucks you can be sure that no one is going to pay much attention to your message no matter how good your content is or the quality of your product

This is something that so many people seem to forget or don't even realise the full importance and is what separates the successful from the failures.

Its Responsible for 80% Of Your Success

Direct response marketers have already shown that the headline is responsible for 80% of the success of any advert, article or email response. It often becomes the determining factor in the title of a book or the name of your website and is something you need to get right. Its not just your words that are important its your graphics and visual impact above the fold that will decide if people stay to read what you have written or will bounce out after only a brief glance

Stickiness Factor

Marketers have coined a term that they call the stickiness factor, I got a great insight about this while listening to a Rick Butts recent interview with Coach Deb, the undisputed Queen of Twitter about the importance of names. Rick was commenting about the great name Deb had chosen for her blog - "Tribal Seduction" and it had impressed him so much he had signed up to her mailing list while at the same time recommending to others to unsubscribe from all the marketing lists that clutter up their inboxes and distract us from the work we really need to be doing.

A Group Orgy?

"Tribal Seduction" is such a good name because it is short and direct and has a number of levels of meaning. Its also poetic in a certain way by juxtaposing two words that would not normally go together and using a sexual adjective it conveys the image at the unconscious level of a group orgy.

Sex Sells

As all marketers know sex sells. The website had another shocking image of a naked woman sitting on a chair facing us but with her head turned 180 around. It’s a very sexy image and doubles up the sexual implications that the title also suggest. Again its another multileveled image that excites and entices while at the same time has a certain artistic tasteful quality. It keeps enough covered up so as not to offend. And jars you into paying attention in a different way because the woman's head is not facing the direction you would expect it to. Again a symbol of how they hope to make you look at social media in a unique way and reveal new perspectives within this world.

Advertising Magic

The combination of all these factors gives a name that stickiness factor, and is why large companies pay advertising agencies millions to perform the same magic to rebrand and repackage their products and services so that their names stick in a customers mind and instantly returns whenever they make a purchasing decision.

A Personal Lesson

Last week I wrote a blog series about the changes Facebook have made to their design and the implications it would have to people using facebook for business purposes. I was struggling with the title for the posts and following a strange twist of my intuition I settled on a title that I knew was less than satisfactory. It was boring and had none of the usual excitement or interest that I usually chose for my blog posts. The content of the article was great, I was happy with the results and what had started as a quick outpouring of my anger towards the new facebook design had turned into a lengthy and detailed analysis that I had to split into four parts

Bad Strategy

I finished the blog post on a Friday and instead of waiting to optimise the time of publication I released them all at same time heading into a weekend. Again my intuition said this was the right thing to do even though my conscious mind was complaining that it was a bad move strategically and I was wasting all the work and effort I had put into those posts.

A Poor Result

As I expected no one took much notice and I only had about 80 visitors to my blog and received only 2 comments. On Monday I tagged all my friends on the note that had been imported and started to get some response.

Beaten By Brian?

Meanwhile my close friend Brian Campbell had made some almost identical posts and had given his much more powerful titles. The Funny thing is that the titles were very similar to ones that I had originally considered using.

"New Facebook Layout - beginning of the end?"

"New Facebook Changes – A Wake Up Call for marketers"

Are much more sticky than my titles

Facebook S.W.O.T Part 1 - Strengths

Facebook S.W.O.T Part 2- Weaknesses

My article series is full of great content but it never had the impact that I had originally intended and the payoff was unimpressive considering the time I spent writing them. This is all the result of choosing a poor headline

Don't Cripple Yourself

I am really happy now to realise that there was a purpose behind choosing weaker names because I now get the opportunity to use this as a teaching example to others. What often happens in marketing is that someone might have a great product but have no clue how to present it to the world. Its very difficult to be objective about your own work and I think a lot of people get stuck or don't realise their full potential because they have crippled themselves from the start with a weak name.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Facebook S.W.O.T Part 4 - Threats

This is part 4 of a four part series that explores the new look facebook and examines it using a S.W.O.T analysis

Part 1 - Strengths

Part 2 - Weaknesses

Part 3 - Opportunities

Part 4 - Threats

Facebook Is Now In Control

Facebook now has total control over what people see when they land on your page. So whatever is currently in your wall/mini feed will be there for all to see. You might not want what either you or some of your friends are doing presented so openly to the world. A spammy wall post or an embarrassing photo that someone tagged you in might not look so good to a potential employer, client or JV partner. Of Course facebook may argue that you can adjust your settings but how many normal users ever take the time to explore the maze of controls and adjustments.


Wall spam has now become a much bigger issue with the merging of the mini feed and wall. Before any ugly links and signature tags could be relegated to the bottom of your profile now they are brought to the forefront. And its up to you to take the time to edit them and delete anything inappropriate.

Go away on holiday for a couple of weeks and who knows what might have been on display for all to see. Also users who are less active on facebook but who want to keep a presence can't safely leave their profiles unattended unless they set their privacy restrictions so high that no one can see anything.

Allow More Choice

This is a major design flaw in the new system and I think it would be a good option to allow users to decide if they want their news feed to be merged with the wall and at least have an option to display them separately, maybe even on different tabs.

Self Expression

To be able to pick exactly what page is displayed to new visitors would also be a good option to add. The more sociable people could have the standard layout with the wall as the landing page. People who want to express more creativity and express their individuality or those who want to present a carefully designed business profile could have the option to do so. I believe user control and choice is what made the old facebook so great.


There is also a bigger danger in upsetting you friends when you tag them in a note, this goes directly into their profile page so you need to become more sensitive and take a few moments to decide if its appropriate. I discussed this issue in my previous blog post. If you want to restrict what comes into your newsfeed from a certain person but don't want to take the drastic step of removing them as a friend you can adjust your wall settings. Your news feed can be adjusted by scrolling to the bottom of the Home page. Click on preference for top stories .From there you have the options to adjust who you want to hear more about and who you want to restrict.

No Email Controls

Facebook still haven't implemented proper filters and controls for messages and emails that it sends. Consequently facebook's message service can no longer be relied upon as many users who have not kept up to date with their inbox are overwhelmed. Important messages are being lost and users are moving away to use other services such a twitter or skype. I often switch to these services when I want to be sure a message gets through or just to receive a confirmation. Skype is also much faster are more reliable than facebooks in-house IM service

What Happens if Facebook Sell out

If Facebook choose to sell to another company all the structures are in place to turn it into a much more commercialised network like myspace. Full of animated flash graphics and a constant bombardment of offers and advertisements. Utube is also set to go this way too with adsense being presented along with their videos. If you have built your business within facebook you face the real danger of losing all your customers if they choose to migrate to another service. And also you lose the control to decide what adverts will be presented alongside your products. For people with strong ethical principles this may be an issue.

Build Your Business Outside Facebook

It makes it even more imperative if you have a prescence on facebook to build your business outside its walls. That way if anything too drastic happens you still have everything in place to switch activities to greener pastures. It seems clear to me the direction facebook is moving in and it is aimed at monetising the masses of normal users who just use facebook to communicate with their friends and stay connected. People who use facebook for business are in a small minority. This will probably increase over time once more people realise the opportunities that are available but You should not expect facebook to design the system solely for your needs.

A Missed Opportunity

Facebook had the opportunity for setting the new standards for social networks in the future. But I believe they have fallen far short of the mark. While I agree there is some improvements with the new design it is far from perfect and could be made much more intuitive and user friendly. The new profile layout is confusing and many features are hard to find and difficult to configure.

An Open Market

This market is still wide open and I wouldn't be surprised that a new contender emerges in the next few years that utilises facebook connect and integrates all the social networks into one place or control panel. The new browser by flock and services such as Ping FM and Hellotxt are maybe precursors to this next generation of web 3.0 tools.

If You Still Really Hate It...

For some people change is difficult to adapt to, I myself got very frustrated when I first saw the new profile and thought that Facebook had unknowingly castrated this amazingly powerful tool . If you still hate it with a passion you can switch back by clicking in the top right hand corner. I myself will be staying. I believe facebook are intent on forcing all its users to adopt the new look profile so the quicker I learn to adapt and discover how to utilise the hidden potentials the better.

Please take the time to make your comment on this subject, its important to know the threats that might affect us all so we can take the necessary precautions.

Part 1 - Strengths

Part 2 - Weaknesses

Part 3 - Opportunities

Part 4 - Threats

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Facebook S.W.O.T Part 3 - Opportunities

This is part 3 of a four part series that explores the new look facebook and examines it using a S.W.O.T analysis

Part 1 - Strengths

Part 2 - Weaknesses

Part 3 - Opportunities

Part 4 - Threats

A Great Place To Network

Regardless of the changes facebook is still a fantastic place to network and share information with your friends. You can make valuable business contacts just as easily as before and you can use facebook to promote yourself, your business, your product or any services you offer .The strategies that you need to adopt are generally the same and you still need to avoid certain practices, for more information check out my facebook made easy guide

Facebook Pages

Facebook pages have become somewhat easier to find as they are now appearing in the search box with a little yellow flag on them. With the obvious refocus on advertising those who learn how to use facebooks social adds will have a great opportunity to get very targeted advertising.

Marketing Tools

Facebook has a range of powerful marketing tools like polls and surveys that you can use relatively cheaply to test your markets before investing too much time and energy into a project. With all the demographic data they have collected they will be set to compete with google as they know everything about all their users likes, dislikes and online habits.

Integration With Other Services

Facebook recently announced what they call facebook connect this allows users to link all their social media activities together sites like Digg . For more info check out this recent article on techcrunch . In the future they will all flow seamlessly together and your friends will follow you regardless of what site you are on. This will really unleash the full power of Web 3.0 and will make the internet a much more Tribal place. Knowing this smart marketers and business people will be positioning themselves to serve these communities not as an outsider looking in but as a full member and participant. This forces even greater transparency and also a higher quality of service. Poor products and bad services will quickly be exposed because of the power of word of mouth. Scammers and con artists can also quickly be excluded from these types of networks. The Cream will naturally rise to the top and peoples identities will be more determined by the communities and tribes that they belong to.

Power structures will Change

As facebook matures the structures of power will change. People who are within your network are not all equal in the strictest sense. Those people who have popularity, or large networks and groups have a much greater viral visibility and influence. Their messages, thoughts and Ideas will spread further because they have the structures in place to do this. With so much information available the normal person will pick a few people to follow who will act as their filters. They will follow their recommendations and trust that they will inform them of the latest changes and strategies that they need to adopt and keep them updated with the latest news and gossip. Malcolm Gladwell terms these people Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople in his excellent book the tipping point.I will be exploring these concepts in much more detail in a later post.

Facebook is clearly going to be a major player in the social media world of the future. There are huge opportunities available to those who know how to take advantage of them.

I would appreciate your comments and your views about any other opportunites and potentials that I have ommited in relation to the future of Facebook. Participation is an integral part of social media so feel free to add your voice.

Part 1 - Strengths

Part 2 - Weaknesses

Part 3 - Opportunities

Part 4 - Threats

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Facebook S.W.O.T Part 2 - Weaknesses

This is part 2 of a four part series that explores the new look Facebook and examines it using a S.W.O.T analysis

Part 1 - Strengths

Part 2 - Weaknesses

Part 3 - Opportunities

Part 4 - Threats

Vista or XP

Some users have made the comparison that the new look facebook is like using windows Vista, it looks fancy but its full of bugs and problems that still need ironing out. I was quite surprised that I found so many obvious issues that hadn't been solved and also many omissions and functions that had apparently been taken away. It makes me wonder how the beta test group hadn't picked up on them and what sort of demographics they chose for this test group (100,000 college kids???) I also wonder if facebook actually listen to feedback from their users. I should maybe apologise for the rather strong language that I included when I posted my initial feedback after my first 4 hours of frustration on the new platform.

Initial Teething Problems

I was reminded by one comment I read on the facebook page that in the early days people could go and change things on other peoples walls and even delete things on other peoples profiles. Maybe I should just have a bit more patience and not be so quick to criticise. I have also found that a lot of things have been moved around so you need to go and find them again. Mari Smith has made some great camtasia videos that take you through the new look profile, you can check them out on her fan page

Harder To Customise

While researching for this blog post I spent a long time reading all the comments and complaints on the facebook group page. From this I gathered that a lot of people felt that facebook had taken away their ability to express their individuality on their profile page. By forcing everyone's profile to look almost identical. Many users had custom skins for their applications and bumper stickers, pictures and videos so their profile had become almost a work of art. Many users were furious at this forced uniformity and even went on to accuse facebook of big brother like tactics

At the time of writing almost all the applications that I would want to be show on my main page can't be sent there. Instead they are left hidden inside my boxes tab where no one will ever find them. I hope that in the future this will change

Harder To Judge by First Impressions

For business users this is a big disadvantage of the new look facebook. On the old system if you knew what you were doing you could create a very powerful presentation by combining the right types of applications. People could instantly see in a glance what type of business were in and what type of networker you are . It now takes longer to decide who you want to accept as a friend. You have to hunt around for the telltale signs that attract and also repulse. Instead of scrolling we are now forced to click around different tabs. I suspect that with time I will still able to make the same assessment within 30 seconds that I can on the old facebook. It just takes a bit of getting used to

No shortcuts on the Profile page

Facebook has removed the shortcuts menu that used o be to the left and below your profile picture. It is now relegated to a position to the right and low down on the Home Page. I used this shortcuts menu all the time to access the groups pages. Making it harder to get to places will obviously reduce the numbers of people who go there so I foresee a potential decline in group activity, especially among new users who might not even know that groups exist.

Facebook have supposedly given you the option to create your own new tab on your profile but you are limited to a few applications that they recommend. I suspect that this is just a bug right now and will be changed in the future

Viral Potential Restricted

Facebooks new look has definitely reduced some of facebooks viral potential by making things harder to find and not immediately visible. This is especially the case for 3rd party applications if you can't see them you can’t spread them so easily. A good friend who works for one of the top applications developers sent me some screen shots of how my profile was going to look 6 weeks ago. She warned me of how bad it was for application developers who have been abandoning facebook in droves. Facebook seems intent on courting the big money from major advertisers who will be utilising all that extra white space in the future.

Application Developers

Facebook applications developers have also been hit because you can no longer share you applications with friends. Admittedly this might reduce the number of forced application invites that people receive but it takes away the easy ability to share something of value. I suspect this will change as this is an important part of the facebook experience and also an integral part of some of the game applications. There were a lot of complaints about this issue on the facebook group page.

Designed for Advertising

The new profile is a much wider. Wide pages go against the natural tendencies of our foveal vision you can't take it all in in one glance, so physically it makes the design uncomfortable to use, your eyes keep jumping around all the time

The Money Spot

Facebook has switched the advertising to the right hand side of the page, clearly to take advantage of the natural tendencies of people to focus on this area of the page. Marketers have already proved by using eye tracking software and split testing that the top right of a page is where the money spot is

Flash Distractions

I also found the animated flash graphics to be very distracting . One of the reasons I have always hated MySpace was because of this. But again, tests have shown that people click on things that move more because they grab your attention. When I was using the facebook chat facility the flash banner add was running right through the chat box and to get it out of the way I was forced to scroll the page downwards. I found this very annoying.

Please feel free to comment and add any other weaknesses that you have spotted in facebooks new design. Maybe someone will take notice. I saw that since Jim Turners recent note where he commented on the missing ignore all button that it has now been reinstated. Jesse Stay an author of two books on facebook also made an interesting blog post where he explored some of the missing features, New Facebook Design Confuses Many, Obscures Feature

Part 1 - Strengths

Part 2 - Weaknesses

Part 3 - Opportunities

Part 4 - Threats

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Facebook S.W.O.T Part 1 - Strengths

Do You Love It Or Hate It?

The new look facebook has now been live for a few weeks. It rolled out across the globe at different times so depending which part of the world you live in you might have had longer to explore than others. I am assuming that by now most of you will have probably got over the initial shock and started to find your way around. Some people seem to love it, others hate it with a passion. There are many differing opinions and I wanted to give you my take on it and invite all my readers to share their own personal experiences


In this blog post I will be using a standard S.W.O.T analysis in relationship to how the new look facebook will affect people who are using social networking for business purposes and examining its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I will break it up into four parts to make digestion a little easier. And allow you to comment on each aspect. I hope that some of the developers and programmers take note so that facebook can be improved for all its users

Part 1 - Strengths

Part 2 - Weaknesses

Part 3 - Opportunities

Part 4 - Threats

Initial Negative Experience

I must admit that my own first experiences with it were not so pleasurable and I wrote quite a long and negative blog post about my frustrations. I decided to wait before I published and on reflection I am glad that I waited. After a week of playing around with it I now feel in a much better position to give a more balanced overview of the changes and include the benefits and not just the problems that the new design creates.

Part 1 - Strengths

Clean Layout

One of the major strengths of the new look facebook is the clean layout and the simplifying of the profile page so that when you click on a friends profile you immediately have access to their wall/news feed and can quickly see what they have been up to recently and send them a message directly.

Tabbed Browsing

The Profile has been divided up into tabs so that all your personal information is in one place and all your applications are on one tab now called boxes. For many people this has been of huge benefit. You now don't have to wait for ages for a profile to load if a friend has installed 200 applications. Overall the platform seems to be running a lot faster than it did before. Although the tabbed feature is only limited to the profile and doesn't yet extend to other areas where it is desperately needed.

Integration of Wall and Minifeed

Facebook have integrated the wall and the minifeed into one aggregated feed that takes up 70% of the space on your profile page. This major prominence is because facebook has always been designed to focus on creating and maintaining real relationships and building a sense of community. Quickly being able to know what all your friends are doing plays an important role. It has a number of settings and wall filters so you can see only posts made by yourself, others or you can see the stories that facebook has selected for you. You can edit your privacy setting to make sure you only display what you really want to the world.

Makes Sharing Even Easier

Facebook has made the sharing of videos and photos even easier with one dedicated tab and a host of new features to play around with. For more information you can check out a recent blog post facebook the unofficial guide. This clearly shows that facebook can see the future and want photo sharing, video chats and video postcards to be on their system and not on other external services like flickr, ooVoo or Skype.

New Features

Facebook have brought in a lot of new features that help to make facebook the pivotal part of your daily life. They have introduced a new blog subscription service where you can join your favourite blog and enjoy all its content without ever having to leave facebook.

Another nice feature is the ability to create a profile badge that you can place on your website or blog that can show your current status and act like a business card and pull people from outside of facebook to become your friends. To access this feature you can find a link on the bottom left of your profile page.

This still had a few bugs in when I last tested it but I am sure Facebook will iron those out pretty soon. I would also like to be able to customise what is displayed a bit more.

Facebook Notes

The Notes feature has increased in prominence, which is great because it gets more people involved in conversations. Anyone who has a blog can import their posts automatically and then tag their friends to come and make a comment. This runs straight into the wall feed and you can make comments directly on your wall/minifeed and keep updated on the topic without having to go back to the post and scroll down to the bottom each time a new person makes a comment.

I would like to hear your positive comments about the new look facebook, what you consider to be its greatest strengths and any other new features you may have discovered that you would like to share.

Part 1 - Strengths

Part 2 - Weaknesses

Part 3 - Opportunities

Part 4 - Threats

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