September 28, 2022

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

PR Blogs vs. Facebook

PR Blogs vs. Facebook

Getting It without Getting It
PR Squared
After including Geoff Livingston’s take on the Facebook Beacon yesterday, I realized that I actually had quite a bit to learn about what the program actually does, so I dug a little deeper and read many more posts from PR and marketing experts on the issue. And? The more I read, the more I came around to Geoff’s way of thinking. In particular was this post from Todd Defren, who notes that marketers are recognizing the need for social media to be incorporated in their plans, but have yet to fully grasp what that should entail, causing them to turn to schemes like the Beacon. “Important!  But hard to figure out.  I think proud young Facebook has yet to get it right. Using Beacon, for example, advertisers and e-commerce sites can capture and publish your activities to your newsfeed, which in turn advertises your movements to your friends. Get it?  Your movements become their advertisements.”

Beacon Brother

Charlene Li of Forrester had a disturbing “run in” with the Beacon recently. For those of you still unfamiliar, the Beacon plants a cookie in your browser, which then posts your activities on other site automatically to your Facebook newsfeed. Charlene purchased a coffee table on, and the purchase showed up on Facebook without her knowledge or consent. Even scarier, one of her readers purchased an engagement ring on Overstock—leading to his girlfriend and web community finding out about his plans to propose before he could even get on one knee. “There’s a fine line that gets crossed when behavior data slips from being a convenience to being Big Brother. This is one of those times. Give me back my control by letting me opt-in (not opt-out as is currently the case), or I’m installing the Beacon Blocker.”


Deep Jive Interests
In a post that sums up my previous position on the idea of Facebook Beacon, Tony Hung points out that generally speaking, Facebook users are pretty much sheep. They flock to the site without considering (or really caring all that much, frankly) the implications of the types of information they are forking over. He argues, incorrectly I’ve decided, that no one will really care one way or another if their purchases are shared with their friends. “Average Facebook users neither know, nor care about
the intricacies and *importance* of owning, tending, and guarding, one’s personal data, information, and relationships — unless it directly and overtly impacts their own personal sense of privacy today. And Facebook knows it. In fact, its billion dollar valuation hinges on it.”

Facebook App Spam Hurting Personal Brands?
Six Pixels of Separation
In a Facebook complaint entirely unrelated to the FBH (“Facebook Beacon Hysteria”), Mitch Joel rants about the annoying factor involved in the relentless invites Facebook spasm its network with every time a friend adds a new application to their page. He rightly notes that most users sending these invites probably aren’t even aware they are doing it, as often the application will automatically blast a message to all your friends. Mitch argues that to consistently spam your friends list with invites to join your latest applications will have a negative impact on your brand. “Bottom line: this is building the Facebook application developer’s brand… and killing your personal brand. Whether you do it knowingly or are an unwilling accomplice, I see messages and invites from certain people and there’s a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve read all about adjusting my security options so I don’t get these messages/invites, but that’s not the point either. I want the people who are ‘sending’ them to be educated. I want them to know how badly it’s hurting their Personal Brand. I want them to better understand how these channels connect and what their online personal brand feels like to others.”

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About The Author

Chip Griffin is the Founder of CustomScoop. He writes and speaks frequently about data-driven public relations. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChipGriffin.

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