FB, The Ubiquitous Utility

I’m appearing on Bob Knorpp’s weekly radio show, The BeanCast, tonight along with Bill Green, Åsk Wäppling and George Parker.
We will be talking about Facebook, among other things. It’s a topic that can not be avoided today. Even The New York Times can’t leave it alone. Yesterday in “Week in Review” the paper framed Facebook’s week like this:

It was a typically vexing week for Facebook. On the one hand, the social-networking service signed up its 500 millionth active user. On the other hand, it was found to be one of the least popular private-sector companies in the United States by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Apparently, Americans were more satisfied filing their taxes online than they were posting updates on their Facebook page.

Of course, one of the perception problems Facebook is facing is a problem of it’s own making. By defining themselves as a “social utility,” they’ve reminded us that whatever we think about them, positive or negative, there’s no ridding ourselves of this updating menace compulsion.
The Times piece also references something social media scholar, Danah Boyd, wrote last spring:

“I hate all of the utilities of my life. Venomous hatred. And because they’re monopolies, they feel no need to make me appreciate them. Cuz they know that I’m not going to give up water, power, sewage, or the Internet out of spite. Nor will most people give up Facebook, regardless of how much they grow to hate them.”

Personally, I gave FB up for five or six months but eventually came back into the fold because, for a certain portion of my friends, Facebook is the internet. It’s not a utility, it’s the main attraction, the go to place to catch up on things and spend some personal time.
Like it or not, I also have a professional obligation to keep up on Facebook, to understand why and how it works, and why it matters to our culture and to marketers. And it’s not easy to do, all this upkeep. I’d love your help, to be honest. If you’re up for it, head over to AdPulp’s Wall and make some noise.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.