May wasn't a good month for Facebook. Their long-awaited IPO didn't go exactly as planned. Articles such as "7 Reasons Why Facebook IPO Was A Bust" from Forbes summed up the situation rather bluntly. Now I don't invest in the stock market, but I do know that people invest in a company because they think that it will make money which will in turn make them money. With Facebook, it would seem that people aren't convinced that the world's largest social network can deliver on its promises.
Two weeks ago I received an email from Facebook inviting me to "Reach more people who like your Page." The benefits of reaching more people on Facebook are pretty obvious. Facebook spelled out the benefits in their email: increase the reach of posts, highlight discounts, and show an engaging post to more of the people who like your Page and their friends. I immediately thought about colleges and universities that use Facebook Pages for all sorts of communications. More reach on Facebook is a good thing. However, a quick click through to the "Promote Your Page Posts" section on Facebook left me shaking my head. Facebook wants us to pay for the strategic privilege of getting more of our Page content in front of people. Let me be blunt about this: I have never clicked on an ad in Facebook nor do I plan on clicking on sponsored content. Obviously, some people click, otherwise this wouldn't be offered, but this seems so slippery to me. Is Facebook nudging itself into obscurity? The promotion of Page posts is a new revenue stream for Facebook. Sadly, the generation of sources of revenue may accelerate user departure from Facebook. Time will tell as to whether or not this is just another bump in the long road of Facebook changes. This new move feels far slipperier than usual though in terms of what it could do to the way that users interact with the overall Facebook platform.
Related to the Facebook status update situation is the recent news from LinkedIn regarding "Targeted Status Updates." According to LinkedIn, there are "2 million companies who have LinkedIn Company Pages." With Targeted Status Updates, companies now have the capability of tailoring their status updates to specific audiences…and they get to do this for free. As the article in Forbes astutely pointed out, we don't really need Facebook (I know, but it's really quite true). However, we do need jobs and LinkedIn continues to solidify itself in the social-professional fabric of the web.
LinkedIn is making sound moves in the social sphere…Facebook is always making moves, but in this case, I'm on the fence. Either way, the state of social media is in its usual state of being -- flux.
What do you think. Are promoted Page posts a smart move by Facebook? Is your school going to use Targeted Status Updates on LinkedIn?
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