A Decade of Facebook

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In just a few weeks, Facebook will turn 10 years old.

To put it differently, I’ve been using Facebook for a decade.

Somehow it’s not even a teenager and it’s one of my best buds.

But it’s not just a reliable pal, it’s also revolutionized the way the world communicates.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook didn’t go it alone, but it did give social media the mass appeal it now enjoys, paving the way for some of our favorite networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram…Jelly?!) to thrive.

I remember when I built my original profile on thefacebook.com. I’d known about “the Facebook” for a little while, but I had to wait for my .edu email address to sign up. Yeah..remember that? When only college students could sign up??

Back then, I used it for the basics: posting pictures and finding out if my fellow classmates were single (I sort of don’t want to admit that). It became the first stage of profiling, even before the exchange of numbers for old-school texting.

Soon it was event central. If you were having a party at your dorm, you were definitely making a Facebook event and inviting all of your friends (well…maybe not all of them).

My first Facebook profile picture

My first Facebook profile picture

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that Facebook finally launched their Newsfeed. Yes, I’m serious…there was a Facebook without the feed…which I, at the time, checked probably 17 million times a day.

Fast-forward four years, and Facebook (& Twitter & YouTube & LinkedIn) had become a mainstay of my job, even though there were no classes about it in my undergrad advertising program. The marketing world was changing while I was in school, and by the time I had my first “real” job, social was the topic of conversation for CMOs across the country. Four years…that’s it.

By the time Timeline was introduced in 2011, small businesses and huge marketing companies alike knew that social media (not just Facebook), could not be ignored. And it’s not because it was another outlet to shout at consumers, it’s because consumers were now growing up, as I had, with social media. It was not only a part of our everyday, but Facebook was now a part of our story.

Sure, there are still significant negative associations with social networks (privacy risks and big data are a few), but I challenge you to consider the significant strides we’ve made since Facebook gave social media its popularity.

Family, friends and brands are able to connect and converse (like actually converse) with each other, while also communicating with an entire circle of people, so that it’s not just one conversation, but it’s one and many simultaneously. We’re able to remember the important things happening in each other’s lives and feel connected, even if we haven’t seen or heard from someone in years.

So I’m sappy. But Facebook is one of my oldest friends and I interact it every single day, multiple times a day. So, to me 10 years is a big deal. And I’m anxious to see what will happen in the next 10.

What’s your first memory of Facebook?

If you’re interested in a little more Facebook history, check out this infographic by Inside Facebook.

Tangerine_Tango

2012 Pantone color of the year: Tangerine Tango

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I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t like the color orange. It’s bright. It’s cheerful. As my favorite color since  2000, it’s actually been the pantone of my century. And so, I can’t adequately express how thrilled I am that Pantone has chosen “Tangerine Tango” to be their color of choice to represent 2012.

My orange crush is unusually related to my passion for social media. Both have changed my life in such significant ways. For instance, once I realized that my love for orange was something that people recognized me by, almost like my “color mantra,” I made it a part of my identity. It’s a symbol of the positivity we should bring to every situation. And if ever, and these times do happen, I’m feeling frustrated or upset, it’s the honest truth that surrounding myself with orange (and now Pantone 17-1463) somehow gets me out of my funk. Orange has changed the way I approach my work, my friends, and my life.

Social media has done the same. It’s not just something I do or even something that I like. It’s a part of how I communicate. It’s a part of how I live. I can’t just read an article anymore and think quietly to myself about it. No, now I read an article and share it to my followers, or my friends automatically see that I’ve read it via Facebook. I don’t just cook food for those who are actually eating it anymore. I cook and share pictures of my delicious dishes with my family and my friends. I don’t save my thoughts about marketing for conversations over cups of coffee (or tea). Instead, I share my ideas with people like you via a blog, twitter, facebook etc.

But this isn’t where the similarities end. It’s the energy that our new pantone of the year emits, that makes it so special. A great social media strategy has this same type of energy. It’s a bright light, a great idea, a spot on, amped-with-caffeine approach that makes a social strategy successful. There’s research and thought and PASSION behind every strategic element and that gives a campaign staying power. It gives it that certain “mustafa-genius” that we all, as marketers, strive for.

With it’s rich color, the 2012 pantone has a little more depth than other colors. Something that is also especially helpful when implementing a social strategy is a great idea that has “legs.” If a concept has depth to it, a strategy goes beyond assumptions about people’s behaviors and is driven by real human insights, then there’s no limit its virality.

Happy Pantone 2012! How has your favorite color shaded your social media interactions? 

My chucks

5 Similarities between chucks and social

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While wearing my chucks this weekend I started to wonder why so many people own them – from tweens to moms to big whig art directors. It dawned on me that my love for chucks is very similar to my love for social media.

When converses were first introduced, some out there probably thought they were just a fad – shoes that had no real value for the masses. The same was true of social media. Marketers were hesitant to jump on board, fearful of what consumers might post on their walls or tweet about their brands. But as time went on, chucks became a sign of rebellion – a sign of creativity – and social networking became a way for brands to harness this creativity into engaging conversations and interactions with their consumers.

Clearly the similarities between chucks and social didn’t end there. Here are some of my top comparisons:

  1. They’re both kind of geeky. Don’t get me wrong, chucks are definitely cool, but who started wearing them (well aside from the basketball players in Flubber)? Nerds. The same is true for social media. It started with a bunch of nerds (no offense Harvard).
  2. Rise to stardom.  When celebrities start wearing or using something, somehow the whole world catches on. I’m not exactly sure what made rock stars like Kurt Cobain and actors like Michael J. Fox start wearing all-stars, but when they did, they started a chuck-olution. Now, the most popular celebs out there wear them from Miley Cyrus to Elton John.  When celebs like Ashton Kutcher started using Twitter, we started taking notice. Now that almost all stars (like Lady Gaga, Oprah, and Obama) are using this as a powerful way to project their brand, it’s obvious that twitter and social is going to be around for a while.
  3. Something for everyone. Alert: this might sound corny. But one of the reasons I love social media as a marketer, is because of the niche groups of people I’m able to reach in a short time period. There are social networking sites like Foodspotting, Instagram, Washington Post’s social reader, there are short form and long form blog sites, there are check-in services, sharing sites, even sites that allow you to swap homes…you get my point. No matter what your interests are, there’s a social network out there that suits you perfectly. The same is true with chucks. There are not only thousands of different colors, but chucks are also customizable. Celebrities and even charities have designed their own chucks. Not to mention, the new world converses that are made of leather etc. Basically there’s a network and a pair of chucks to fit everyone.
  4. Make a Statement. If you’re looking to make a statement about yourself, in either a subtle or, well, not-so-subtle way both chucks and social media are the ticket. Wearing chucks allows you to make a statement about your personality, just like using a social networking site allows you to check-in, update, send pics, or tweet to communicate more about who you are to the world.
  5. Simplicity. The aesthetic of your typical chuck is simple, yet authentic. People wear chucks, not the other way around. When you think about social media, the core of it is simple – people want to communicate…easily. In order to be successful, a social networking site needs to be simple to understand and easily usable. People use social media, social media does not use people.

Have an opinion about your chucks? Tell me in this super quick survey!