Facebook Asked; Now What Will It Do About Its Privacy Policy Change?

If nothing else, Facebook is demonstrating it learned a lesson from the Beacon situation.  Launched in 2007, Facebook Beacon became a magnet of criticism in part because the company sprung the program--which involved sharing user data with third parties--on unaware consumers.  So this time it's asking what consumers think before loosening the Facebook Privacy Policy.  And how did consumers respond?  The mystery isn't what consumers said but what Facebook will do with all the feedback it received. 

In a post to the Facebook blog, Michael Richter, Facebook's Deputy General Counsel, shared some of the proposed policy changes and noted, "We hope you'll take the time to review all of the changes we're proposing and share your comments."  Most of these changes seem uncontroversial, but then there's this: 

In the proposed privacy policy, we've also explained the possibility of working with some partner websites that we pre-approve to offer a more personalized experience at the moment you visit the site. In such instances, we would only introduce this feature with a small, select group of partners and we would also offer new controls. 

This functionality, which is part of Facebook Platform, is quite similar to the way Beacon worked, only this time Facebook is asking for feedback rather than simply implementing changes.  The specifics contained within the proposed privacy policy state (in part and with my comments): 

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Word of Mouth and Social Media: A Tale of Two Burger Joints

AJ Bombers

Image by tray via Flickr

I moved to the Bay Area from Milwaukee about five months ago.  Among the things I miss from my hometown are my two favorite burger restaurants--AJ Bombers and Sobelman's.  Both have used Word of Mouth (WOM) to become successful small businesses, but while one built its buzz over 10 years, the other used social media to become a success in just one year.  The stories of these two businesses can provide insight and inspiration to much larger brands seeking to create benefits with social media.    

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ROI, Wal-mart and SKU reduction--and what we may learn about Social Media ROI

I've recently found myself in interesting discussions--one might call some of them debates--about ROI and Social Media.  In recent weeks, Social Media ROI was the agenda for meetings with several clients, the focus of a panel on which I participated at Digiday Social, and a lively topic of discussion at a dinner of marketing leaders in town for the OMMA Global event.  And today I read an article about Wal-Mart that got me to thinking about the dangers of too narrowly defining ROI.

 

It's interesting to hear the wide range of attitudes toward social media ROI.  Some companies measure quite a bit about their social media activities but do not evaluate ROI in its most literal definition:  The financial return generated by a specific monetary investment.  Others go through a great deal of effort to measure ROI, creating complex models to calculate an approximation of financial return. 

 

Some in the direct marketing space are beginning to value their social media efforts much as they do their PPC campaigns--assessing the cost of participation compared to the clicks, conversions and sales generated from trackable links seeded into tweets and Facebook posts.  This sort of measurement is essential and inevitable for companies that sell direct to consumers, but it's important companies not become overly narrow and begin to assess social media as just another click-generating channel. 

 

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My blog: The End of the Road or a Change of Lanes?

In three days, it will be the two year anniversary of my first blog post on Experience: The Blog.  Originally intended to be an exploration of experiential marketing strategies, my interest and focus quickly turned to social media and how the growth of the peer-to-peer groundswell creates challenges and opportunities for marketers.  It is apt to recall how my blog started as one thing and became another, because change is in the air again.  I'd like to reflect on that change, put it into context and invite you to join me as I shift my blog publishing to a new address.

A month ago, news broke that Forrester would be altering its blog policies and analysts would shift their industry-related blogging into a new, common platform on Forrester.com.  I posted at the time that I believed aggregating Forrester's thought leadership in one place made sense and that I was eager to continue blogging, sharing news and building my reputation within the new Forrester blog. 

The reaction was swift and emotional.  Hundreds of tweets and blog posts weighed in on the topic; a few supported the new blogging policies, but most did not.  One person tweeted I was "licking the boots of (my) corporate paymasters," and a friend sent heartfelt condolences at the loss of my blog.  I ignored the tweet and assured my friend that I was not progressing through any of the stages of grief (unless bemusement was one of those stages.)

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How Do You Keep Mass Influencers Engaged? An Example from TripAdvisor

In the Forrester report, Tapping The Entire Online Peer Influence Pyramid, we introduced the Mass Influencer, a category of online influencer comprised of people who create most of the peer impressions about about brands in social channels.  Although just 16 percent of the online population, Mass Influencers create 80 percent of all peer impressions about products and services.

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