Facebook’s Future Plan Presents Real Challenges to Social Marketers

By Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®

If you are my Facebook friend, you might have noticed that I’m listening to Pass the Mic by the Beastie Boys while writing this post. I didn’t actively share this; Spotify posted this information on my wall “for” me.

Welcome to the new Facebook.

Erica Christoffer introduced us to Facebook Timelines last week and Jimmy Makin wrote a comprehensive how-to on Inman Next as well. But while Timelines are the “sizzle” that came out of last week’s Facebook Developers Conference, the “steak” is Facebook’s Open Graph:

The goal is to create apps that provide “frictionless sharing” to your Facebook wall. It could include what music you’re listening to, what movies or television shows you’re watching, what Web pages you are reading, how hard you worked out this morning, what products you’re buying online and even what you’re cooking for dinner. All of this can be shared on your Facebook wall without your active and manual consent. Not everyone thinks this is a great idea. What do you think?

The addition of Timelines shines even more of a light on your social activities. We’ve always known that what happens on Facebook is there forever, for all to see, but up until now, the passage of time made past activities on Facebook difficult to see. No more. Your initial reaction to Timelines will likely vary based on whether or not you’re young enough to have participated in Facebook while you were still in college. Will your future clients appreciate your ability to do a keg stand? Or perhaps you were very vocal about your political views, or maybe you went through a bad breakup and decided you should vent to your friends. All the highlights and drama will be conveniently indexed on your Timeline for all of your friends to see.

There will be a considerable backlash to these changes. Many will argue that the platform is too intrusive. But those shallow connections to people you barely know are causing far more angst than the platform itself. As social marketers, real estate professionals walk a tightrope of personal/professional transparency. Many have used their personal Facebook accounts to cast a wide net in building their sphere of influence. This is not the way Facebook envisions the best use of their platform. Facebook wants personal profiles to be more and more personal.

It’s time to take a hard look at what it means to friend someone. It’s not a numbers game. Your Facebook friends are going to know more about you than most of you are comfortable with. Filtering what you share is going to get harder. The real solution will be to apply higher standards to who you connect with online.

Todd Carpenter

Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of the Data Analytics Group at NAR I'm a twenty year veteran of the real estate and mortgage industry, focusing on technology that fosters relationships between professionals and consumers. I am a subject matter expert in data analytics, online consumer trends, enterprise social media strategy, listing data, agent ratings, and public facing MLS portals.

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  1. “Filtering what you share is going to get harder. The real solution will be to apply higher standards to who you connect with online.” No truer words could be spoken!

    Think how much money the government could have saved on the census by mentoring Face Book. I’m all for sharing, it’s amazing how many “friends” will call me after I post something on FB that interests them or somehow connects them with me.

    Want to know somebodies business – log in!

  2. Agree totally about Spotify. I know it was fun to see what people were listening too, and then friending them, on Blip when it first got started. Then it got annoying. With Blip, you could turn off the notification to Twitter.

    Regarding general content. I think it behooves everyone to think about who they are and what they present on the Internet. This is not different, in my opinion, than it was on Active Rain with general posts (well, and members only as well).

    I’m a political person. I like to post about some politics as well as cmmenting on other’s posts. Same with other topics. However, I hope I stay away from being offensive or derisive – most of my training, from individuals to Dun and Bradstreet, pointed out that everyone is my client which basically just means treat everyone with respect. So if I present myself with all of my interests and flaws and giggles and posts, that’s me. I figure, people have the opportunity to unfriend me.

    You are so right to point out that maybe we all need to take a meditative step back and make sure we are adhering to our own Internet rules.

    I worry that FB is going to get cluttered. I am not interested in Timeline, I don’t see it advancing my business or my personal life. But that’s just me, I’m sure many are finding it fun! We’ll see what gets born on FB in the next few weeks!

  3. Nicely written and great advice.

  4. I don’t like the idea of more and more of my information being shared without my consent on Facebook. However, it is a “Free” service and I realize that I can stop using it any time I like.

  5. Nice post, It is going to get harder to market on Facebook

  6. Agree on the thin line social media platform’s (especially Facebook) pose between the professional and business life of every subscriber. This is sound advice on applying higher standards on people you connect with. Most importantly, to be cautious on what we share online.

  7. “The real solution will be to apply higher standards to who you connect with online.”

    Or, perhaps, simply exercising a bit more discretion on how we conduct our lives?

  8. Sheila Gothelf

    Be very cautious when memorializing anything. Not everyone needs to know everything.

  9. ken roark

    It seems like a huge waste of professional time and gives back little professionally but personaly I find it interesting ,something to keep up with the Jones,this too will pass

  10. This is really nothing new. We’ve been talking about this for some time. There is another aspect you need to consider. How easy would it be for someone to spoof you (pretend they are you) and post things that can…well let’s just say don’t make any tech savvy people mad at you.

    A while back, I was on our family computer. It is a killer system I built with bimultili-LCD screens, 3 very high end graphics cards, water cooling…it’s what the kids and I use when we want to watch videos or play games. Anyway, I had logged into YouTube and was watching videos. When I closed out I didn’t log off. So my teenage son comes along and gets on YouTube and you guessed it.

    My Facebook page was full of M&M lyrics and video “Likes”, and some of those lyrics were pretty descriptive. I was able to get everything removed from my wall but can you imagine how much damage someone else could do to your reputation, either with a slip up on your part like this or by deliberately trying to damage your reputation?

    Vigilance “Friends”,

  11. Just curious tho, how is it that Facebook will know what TV or movies you’re watching, or what your making for dinner unless you tell it. I think, as it’s always been, we will just have to set our privacy settings accordingly.