5 Social Media Gifts I Want From Santa

Matt Singley and Santa Clause Christmas 2010

All I want for Christmas (besides this creepy photo) is on my Social Media wish list

The holidays are upon us! Some celebrate Hanukkah, some celebrate Solstice, some celebrate Christmas. No matter your preference, I think we can all agree it’s a great time to reflect on the year behind us, be thankful for what we have today, and look to next year with hope and expectations.  Given the spirit of the season, I’ve put together a little list of things that I’ve asked Santa Clause for this year…in social media.  It’s a crazy list for sure, but if my 5 year old son can ask for a trip to the moon (and expect it to happen) I can dream big too!  I’m going to put out a plate of extra-special cookies and hope that ol’ Saint Nick brings me…

  • Hyperlinks within Tweets. Can you imagine having an extra 20 spaces or so (that’s what a typical link takes up) to say whatever you want? Instead of a tweet looking like this: “Check out this post I wrote about the upcoming Facebook Page Admin Controls and let me know what you are looking fwd to” (exactly 140 characters) it would look like this: “Check out this post I wrote about the upcoming Facebook Page Admin Controls and let me know what you are looking fwd to the very most y’all!” (still 140 characters but with more room to chat!)
  • Robust Admin Controls for Facebook Pages. I saw a sneak peak of them a while back when Facebook accidentally rolled out some new changes (you can see what I saw here) and it was definitely a step in the right direction.  Still, I would like better Insights (analytics) and the ability to ban users from a page without just flagging them.  I don’t want to wait for somebody at Facebook to *maybe* get around to it at some point. I get REALLY tired of the “first” and “gay” comments that go up on large pages all the time, but I have no tolerance for users that use hate language, attack individuals, constantly swear or link to porn
  • Overlay for YouTube videos. No, not just annotations, I want to be able to overlay the videos with graphic images.  You know…put a floating logo in the bottom corner (clickable of course), insert a graphic in the background…neat things like that. Sure, I can do this in a video editor then upload, but I would like to use full controls within YouTube proper so I can make cool SWF commands happen
  • Lists for friends in Foursquare. I treat Foursquare in a similar way as Twitter but with slightly tighter control.  Knowing that, I have a lot of “friends” on Foursquare that I would like to break into smaller groups so I can check on them in a more controlled and manageable way.  Kind of like Twitter Lists, but for Foursquare.  Foursquare Lists, anyone?
  • Dynamic backgrounds on Twitter. Everything else with Twitter has advanced over time…why not the backgrounds? Since the redesign, putting together a nice background (within the whopping 40 pixels on the left for people that view the page on a 1024×768 screen) has been a challenge to say the least.  Instead of outdated CSS and a static image I would love some basic HTML function so I could put up links to my other pages

We’ll see if I’ve been naughty or nice, I’m hoping to get these simple gifts under the virtual Christmas tree this year.  As you head into the weekend (hopefully with loved ones), I will leave you with a paraphrase of a famous work:

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And wrote up the meta tags, then turned with a jerk,

And laying his mouse aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his keyboard, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all coded like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he uploaded out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Facebook Steps Up The War Against Spam (And Porn!)

Facebook ads more granular controls for admins of pages

Facebook adds more granular controls for admins of pages

I was excited to read that Facebook now lets page administrators ban fans and spammers! I tweeted it, and several people replied back, “couldn’t we always do that?”  The answer is that yes, you used to be able to, but recently that ability has been taken away from several areas.

The functionality of this is back, and it’s well done! I love it, if for no other reason than page admins can now ban users based upon pictures they upload! Up to this point, it’s been a real cat and mouse game, trying to pull down questionable pictures before they were up for too many people to see.

This has been particularly problematic on some of the larger pages we manage…those with over a million fans.  Porn spammers have been getting around the Facebook rules by putting up bikini or semi-nude models in the fan pictures section, then putting the porn URL in the description.  Tricky…there wasn’t really any way to ban this before, and it couldn’t be reported as pornography because it didn’t show certain body parts.

Starting now, we page admins can flag the photo AND request to permanantly ban the user from the page, as well as take down all content they have previously posted.  This is most certainly worth the price of admission.

This may be a part of a larger effort by Facebook to crack down on spam; as I take a casual glance around some pages that I know are often targeted by these types of photo-spammers, I can’t find a single questionable image.  Either the admins have really stepped it up, or Facebook has, or both! Either way, I applaud the effort.

It’s nice to see Facebook make such a pro-admin move.  Well done, Facebook.

5 Reasons Why Facebook Places Won’t Succeed

Perhaps you have heard of Facebook Places.  If not, your one sentence summary is this: Facebook has introduced a new service that will allow users to “check in” to places and share their location with their friends.

The majority of speculation from those watching this roll out is that it is going to destroy other location based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Whrll, Loopt, etc.  I don’t think it will, and I’ll give you five reason why I think this.

First, let’s start with one reason, and one reason only,that Facebook Places might succeed: they have a user base of over 500 million.  The sheer volume of that might let it see life into 2011.

Now, on to why I think Facebook Places is nothing short of “meh“.

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Why Do Consumers Like Brands on Facebook?

Why do people "like" brands on Facebook? Free stuff!

According to a recent post by the Google Retail Advertising blog, the answer to the question is simple…they want discounts.

In a very short post, they state that their latest research reveals that only 50% of Facebook users “friend” brands, with the prevalent “why” being to receive discounts and promotions.  That’s really not surprising, I’ve seen time and time again huge amounts of traffic being driven to a Facebook brand page by offering something as simple as a coupon for a free bagel. Maybe we don’t clip coupons out of the newspaper anymore (remember newspapers?), but some things never change, and consumers continue to be primarily motivated by discounts.

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Facebook Changes Report to Flag

In a move that I hope is a signal that good things are ahead for Facebook page admins, Facebook has made a very subtle change to the way wall comments can be managed.

Facebook changes report to flagSpam is an ever-increasing problem on Facebook, particularly on Fan Pages with huge followings (I know, they’re not “fans” anymore, but everybody still calls them that).  As a page administrator, our two options to this point have been to delete the message completely, or more to my liking, reporting the spammer/offender by clicking “report” and then briefly describing the problem.  This would send a report to Facebook, and we had the option to request the offender be banded from the page.  I usually picked this as the vermin were rarely first timers.

Today, when I took a glance over the pages we manage, I noticed that “report” was gone, replaced with “flag”.  Naturally I had a lot of spammers on the page I was looking at, so I clicked “flag”, but was disappointed that I received an error message each time, telling me the action couldn’t be performed.  I ended up just deleting the posts.

This very small change gives me great hope that Facebook may be making the pages more admin-friendly.  I can only speculate on what is being rolled out, but I’m hoping for big things!  On my wish list:

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Why Facebook Now Controls The Internet

Facebook Controls Internet with Open Graph Protocol All Your Base Are Belong To UsSince their announcements at F8 about Open Graph Protocol (OGP), I’ve been following Facebook far more closely that I normally do.  Why? From the moment I watched the videos about what OGP does, I knew that the way the internet works will be changed forever.  Today I saw something that confirms that Facebook now controls the internet. No, I’m not saying that to be sensational or dramatic, I believe it to be true…a shift has occurred with OGP that will forever change how brands and consumers interact, and Facebook owns it all.  How do I know? Because long time rival Google is already embracing Facebook’s new protocol.

More about that in a moment. But first, if you are not familiar with what Facebook has done, let me give you a very brief overview.

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Microsoft and Facebook Join Forces To Take On Google Docs

Yesterday, Facebook’s F8 conference created quite a wave of buzz when they announced the release of the Open Graph API. Personally, I’m very excited about this from a marketing point of view. But, there was another announcement that was just as exciting to me that didn’t get nearly the same coverage as Open Graph: Facebook and Microsoft have become unlikely bedfellows, rolling out the new site.

The short version: a personalized document sharing site that lets you create, upload and share Office files with your Facebook friends. I haven’t seen a more obvious shot across the bow of Google Docs, and I think this site will only pick up speed as more people discover it.

The site is slick and simple, with headers that will let you see your docs, your friends docs, or add a new doc. The “Add a Doc” section offers to ways to share: either you can upload an existing document from your computer, or you can create a new document using the online version of Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

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Facebook Rolls Out More Robust Insights

Facebook announced at F8 They Will Roll Out More Robust Insights and AnalyticsI’m not at the F8 conference today, but I have been reading the news and keeping up with the announcements.  So far, the most exciting stories I have read have to do with Facebook Insights, the dashboard for page admins. If you run a fan page (now called a “like” page, I suppose) for a brand, agency or just for yourself, this is important information.

To date, the Insights have been underwhelming.  They have covered only the most basic information, and as somebody who works with big brands to engage and guide the community, I’ve got to say they have been less than helpful.  It seems that all of that changes today, however.  Facebook has announced “Facebook for Web Sites” and have already published full documentation about it.  The insight to user behavior should be interesting, as Facebook says:

“Once your app is up-and-running, you can get detailed analytics about the demographics of your users and how users are sharing from your application with Insights.

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