F8 Keynote Speech Reveals Larger FB Game Plan

Facebook F8 is the preeminent Facebook developer event.  Typically held once a year to announce significant FB programming updates, past announcements made at F8 include the introduction of the original Facebook Platform (2007) and Facebook Connect(2008).

This year was no different.  In fact, the changes announced at F8 2010 speak to Facebook’s overarching agenda, which will likely influence the web in its entirety for years to come.

In essence, Facebook is looking to become the (branded) highway to all the great pit stops on the web, providing users with a direct route to all the major cities (features) they are looking to visit.  Pandora, Yelp, ESPN – Facebook wants to create a permanent knowledge base.

Here is how they’re going to do it:

Goodbye, Facebook Connect:

Facebook Connect, the log-in system that lets users sign-in to multiple sites using their Facebook log-in info will disappear. It will be replaced by something even better – something that solves one of users top 5 web frustrations; a universal Facebook passcode that will automatically connect users to multiple websites across the web.

Hello, Open Graph

Right now, many websites interact with Facebook, be it through Facebook Connect or through Facebook Apps. Problem is, the data is fragmented and it’s difficult for users to see all the connections that exist.

Facebook is in the process of changing these seeming ephemeral links so that users can see the full picture of the complete user experience on the web.  Sound like a big project? It is, which is why Facebook is bringing in the big online guns to assist.  Partners include Yelp, Pandora, IMDB, ESPN, Microsoft, and 25 more.  Open Graph will replace Facebook Connect.

Facebook Credit$

Facebook will launch their own currency called Facebook Credits for all Facebook purchases.  This will likely create some static as dollars and Euros will have to be converted, but hopefully should be fairly easy.   Microsoft has tried this effort to mixed effect before with its “Microsoft Points.”  Sounds like another way to integrate the Facebook brand within user experiences to us.

Like-able Plug-ins  

You may have already seen the new “Like” plug-in. It’s already available on a few sites (and pictured above), but it’s now possible to ‘Like’ a Facebook group from the original brand site. It’s a very adoptable plug-in that brands should definitely take advantage of, as it will make it easier than ever for users to “Like” brands on Facebook

It also signals that Facebook will be expanding its empire beyond its own brand walls.  Notice that Facebook isn’t adding location-based programming; it’s not attacking Foursquare or even Twitter with these updates. Of anything, it is poising itself to become the next Google. 

Posted via email from The Green Detail

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Cleveland Indians Introduce First Ever Social Media Press Box

Baseball bloggers have new incentive to move to Cleveland – free tickets to the Cleveland Indians. The Indians just announced their creation of the Tribe Social Deck at Progressive Field, the ball club’s first initiative under their new social media strategy.

The new deck encompasses 10 seats, which will be filled by a variety of bloggers and influential social media users throughout the season. In terms of tech logistics, the section will be outfitted with wireless Internet.   Right now the section is invitation-only, but the Indians will be working with MLBAM to create an online application process for future games.

Considering that he Indians are currently suffering from general fan malaise from a few disappointing seasons(including a 97-game loss in 2009), it appears that they are hoping that their new ‘social’ guests will prompt positive talk about the ball club.  The new social media press desk will surely help the Indians engage with a variety of new influencers and, perhaps, encourage new fanship from a younger, more tech-savvy fan base.

Sound like a social media grand slam to us!

Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

Happy FourSquare Day!

Today is the first ever social media holiday – otherwise known as Foursquare Day! Why today? Because today’s Gregorian calendar date is 4/16. Or, 4/4²!

Foursquare, as many of you likely know, is a geo-locator social media platform where users can ‘check-in’ to locations and send that location to friends.  People can also get badges that testify to how often they visit places and how adventurous they are.  If you haven’t joined yet, perhaps consider joining today so you can participate in a few of the festivities!

Foursquare will hosting a party in NYC later this evening and McDonald’s will also be celebrating the day by offering special deals for FourSquare users(client).

GolinHarris offices(my firm) across the country will also be hosting their own FourSquare festivities later on this today.   Please feel free to check-out the check-ins happening in Chicago , New York, Dallas, Washington D.C., and Atlanta!

To read more about the makings of FourSquare Day, please read the FourSquare Blog.

Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

Google Launches First Historic Twitter Search Tool

Google announced this morning that it is introducing a Twitter search tool that will, eventually, be able to track all tweets sent since Twitter’s inception in 2006. 

Starting today, Google users will be able to journey back across the Twitter-sphere through February 11, 2010 and, essentially, “replay” what users were saying.  It will soon be possible to travel as far back as the date of very first tweet sent on March 21, 2006.

Without Google’s assistance, it had only been possible to search Twitter data within the past seven days, making it difficult to see the full trajectory of news after the fact. Google’s announcement ensures that the full news cycle can be captured and analyzed long after the fact.

Consumers and marketers alike will benefit from being able see how past stories, how the Twitter community reacted, and how long it took each story to reach tipping point.  Logging Twitter mentions will also be easier without having to meet Twitter’s previous seven-day data deadline.

We’re pretty excited about the new Google Twitter search tool and consider it a welcome and much needed addition to real-time search tools. Free to test drive it yourself and let us know your thoughts!

Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

AOL Learns Costly Lesson About The Profitability Of Social Networks

AOL announced this week that it is looking to close or sell social network Bebo. If it sells, it will likely be at a portion of the original $850m AOL paid  for the site in 2008.

The site was originally destined to comprise the centerpiece of AOL’s People Network business unit, so AOL executives must be sorely disappointed by Ex-Bebo users abandoning the site for the likes of Facebook.  AOL likely hoped that Bebo might reignite the company’s early success in social networking, especially as Bebo was reaching over 12+ million users as of May of 2008(it now has 12.8mm).

However, it’s hard to feel too bad for AOL’s plight as the revenue of social networks in revenue has never been stable—simply, they took a risk and they lost.

Even Facebook has just started to turn a respectable profit. In 2009, Facebook reported revenues of 550-600 million, which in itself was a huge jump from 300-400 million levels in 2008. Only now, in 2010, does Facebook predict reaching $1 billion in revenue.

To give some perspective, search/news site Yahoo! raked in close to 7.2 billion in 2009 alone.

While AOL clearly missed an opportunity with Bebo, it’s also evident that AOL overpaid. As a result, it’s more likely that Bebo will close than be bought.   It would take some kind of social media maverick to buy Bebo from AOL, no matter the cost, considering that Bebo has only  12.8 million users compared even to MySpace, which has over 100 million.

The question now is how Facebook will continue to monetize now that it has beat down the majority of its competitors.

As for how remaining social networks stack up in terms of revenue, Twitter saw $4 million in 2009 and Meetup.org saw it’s very first profitable month last July, with a $30,000 take(it was founded in 2001). Considering each social network has millions of users, each site also appears to be having issues with translating their online success into monetization.

Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

Docs Hurting Their Reps By Leaving Themselves False Reviews

Changing insurance policies recently, I’ve been frantically searching online for specialists, an eye doctor, dentists etc. While usually, I would ask friends, the nature of my specific insurance coverage made that plan pretty obsolete as everyone had different coverage.

And, I have to say, it’s a bit surprising how few customer reviews there are. While sites like Yelp can be somewhat helpful, the fact is, Yelp was written for more direct consumer businesses and most people don’t appear to leave doctor reviews.

I’m not sure why(perhaps its less sexy?), especially as it’s such an important area for word of mouth reviews; I can live with a bad burger — but who can say the same for a bad doctor? But such as it is.

ZocDoc, a social media site that lets user input their insurance and location, is looking to change things for the better. Using ZocDoc, it’s super easy to find doctors by location AND health insurance.  Should be a total life saver, right?

It would be — if doctors weren’t abusing it. Looking for a dentist, recently, I was pretty shocked by the high number of 5-level reviews from people who, conveniently, had only written that one review. Since there are so few organic reviews, the fake reviews are pretty easy to spot. “Great service and super low rates.” or “The Doctor made me feel comfortable and listened to me.”  — the reviews are always super generic and bland and, frankly, rather pathetic.

It’s all so ironic, too. When I see that, I assume the doctor is dishonest and immediately move on, as opposed to booking an appointment. Maybe, they aren’t the dishonest one. Maybe, it’s a business partner who is infiltrating their reviews. But, it leaves me with a queasy feeling and makes me want to find a new doctor pronto.

I know that doctors run a business, like anyone else, but I’m looking for someone I can trust with my health — and that’s not someone who is inflating their reputation online.

I hope that docs get with the picture soon, for all us patients’ sakes. I also hope more consumers start leaving genuine reviews.  Until then. . . be sure to double-check who’s actually leaving your doc’s reviews. If it’s the doctor him/herself, keep on clicking!