Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Enough about the Facebook anniversary, already

All day long, on every communications channel, I have been bombarded with news about Facebook's anniversary and what it means. Happy Birthday, Facebook. Now, how about a little perspective...

Recently I came across this post via Twitter about the landscape for social networks in 2014. This maps just how broad social network use globally is. Yes, Facebook represents a very significant percentage of this map, but let's not forget just how diverse the world is.

There are some channels represented on the infographic that just don't ring as accurate to me. I find it hard to believe that some of these networks have the same active usage and engagement in 2014 as they had in their heyday. Size alone isn't interesting, or at least shouldn't be to us digital marketers. Instead, what we ought to be looking at is how active these populations are, who and how users are interacting on these sites, and how are they growing?

More to the point, what are the reasons we choose to engage with these social networks? One thing I'm certain of is that we join different sites for different reasons.

Yes, Facebook is dominating the size chart, but how many users want to receive business communication on there? I know on a personal level I still find adverts and sponsored posts on Facebook annoying. Posts from businesses, unless they're providing me with real value rather than just content updates, tend to irritate me too. What I do want from my time on Facebook is real engagement with my friends, near and far. It's helped me maintain friendships over greater distances than I could have otherwise managed. Their ten year promotion, #‎FacebookIs10‬, is actually a really smart promotion that is getting widely shared. And the reason why it resonates is because these are our personal stories. That's what Facebook means, from my point of view. I know that this won't be everyone's view, and I know some marketing communication on Facebook can be really effective, but I'm going to maintain some scepticism here.