Can you ignore Facebook?

by admin on December 2, 2009

in Marketing

My number one barometer for anything tech is ‘er indoors. As one of the most technophobic people I know, she has eschewed most of what I consider essential tools for many a year. All that’s changed in the last couple of months. First was the MacBook which she wanted in order to get onto email with the family back in the UK. Unfortunately, I commandeered the laptop so what started as a good faith purchase ended up as yet another nail in the technophobic coffin.

That changed when I acquired the iPhone. The iPod Touch was passed on and all of a sudden a new world opened up with the iPhone Facebook application. It wasn’t long before the question of laptop access reared its head again. As it happened, the MacBook was proving less than adequate in large part because of the lack of Firewire, needed to connect the XL2 while on the road. Cue a MacBookPro and a happy lady who now had her hands on a MacBook with Facebook set up.

What’s the Big Deal with Facebook? Farmville. It’s a ridiculously addictive game that keeps you playing by getting you to feed things, apply fertilizer, have fertilizer applied to crops, buy and sell various things with Facebook friends. There’s a bit more subtlety to it than that but you get the idea.

In recent days Farmville has come under something of a cloud. According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

The reputation of Farmville, one of the most popular applications on Facebook, has fallen into a ditch following the launch of a class action by some of its users over an alleged billing scam.

The addictive farming application has amassed 60 million players worldwide and is just one of several popular social networking games created by US developer Zynga for Facebook and MySpace users.

Even so, the game keeps milady well and truly glued to her laptop for hours on end, flitting between that app, Fishworld (another Zynga game with similar addictive qualities e.g. ‘Oh my goodness, I need to get the fish fed.’) Facebook chat, messaging and photo posting. Subtly, Facebook, or rather these applications, are enticing her to stay in ‘their world’ viewing advertising offers Facebook dishes up (and occasionally saying, ‘Hmm, I fancy one of these.’)

‘er indoors is no shopaholic but the combination of well thought out game play and friend recommendations are holding her interest, providing what seems to me a kind of immersive experience.

Imagine someone invents a business game that might appeal to the business user. Imagine that game teaches the business person some of the basics of running a business. You could argue Farmville partially fulfills that purpose but it’s a tad lightweight. Now imagine that is sponsored/owned/developed by a firm of professionals. Might that be something that would prove sticky enough to make people associate the game with firm? I can see that working. But there is more.

Despite the popularity of other social networking destinations like Twitter (my personal favourite) I see more and more people using Facebook. As one friend said: “Twitter is for those with ego problems, Facebook is for connecting.” It’s a fair point given all the pimping that goes on though one I find hard to parse against the clutter that flows past my Facebook screen.

Your POV?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Hugh December 2, 2009 at 12:45 am

Twitter is great for news, business and entertainment. Facebook for family, friends and sharing…and then when you actually want to talk – Skype! All have their place especially given good support for mobile access.

Hugh December 2, 2009 at 3:45 am

Twitter is great for news, business and entertainment. Facebook for family, friends and sharing…and then when you actually want to talk – Skype! All have their place especially given good support for mobile access.

Anonymous December 2, 2009 at 1:05 am

I think Hugh said it well – Facebook is wonderful for friends and family and I am personally addicted. It is also wonderful for less tech savy means of organizing school fundraising (just did that) networking blogs (just did that with the school fundraising) and organizing a party (do that via FB all the time.)
For actual ‘work’ and for learning something work related or receiving input on something work related I turn to Twitter. I love that with Twitter I can throw out a question and with the proper tag words thrown in someone in the Twitterverse with pitch me back an answer. For someone with a small network pool that is invaluable. I personally stay far away from Farmville despite all the lost cows and lonely sheep that seem to show up on my page. I simply don’t have time.

dahowlett December 2, 2009 at 1:11 am

Logic would dictate that to be the case but then people don’t always behave logically. Providing a game seems an excellent way to drive attention. I’m speculating that a business oriented game might hold value. Twitter is a curiosity in many ways. I use it the same way you and @hugh might and as do many of my peers but I suspect we’re outliers with usage based on a very specific need.

cailinyates December 2, 2009 at 4:05 am

I think Hugh said it well – Facebook is wonderful for friends and family and I am personally addicted. It is also wonderful for less tech savy means of organizing school fundraising (just did that) networking blogs (just did that with the school fundraising) and organizing a party (do that via FB all the time.) For actual 'work' and for learning something work related or receiving input on something work related I turn to Twitter. I love that with Twitter I can throw out a question and with the proper tag words thrown in someone in the Twitterverse with pitch me back an answer. For someone with a small network pool that is invaluable. I personally stay far away from Farmville despite all the lost cows and lonely sheep that seem to show up on my page. I simply don't have time.

dahowlett December 2, 2009 at 4:11 am

Logic would dictate that to be the case but then people don't always behave logically. Providing a game seems an excellent way to drive attention. I'm speculating that a business oriented game might hold value. Twitter is a curiosity in many ways. I use it the same way you and @hugh might and as do many of my peers but I suspect we're outliers with usage based on a very specific need.

Anonymous December 2, 2009 at 1:43 am

Dennis…. my suggestion (tongue firmly in cheek)?

Turn your computer(s) off, grab your better ‘arf, head out to the countryside and smell the roses (OK the Olive oil or whatever)

Farmville? You live in the middle of a gigantic freaking agricultural nation….

benkepes December 2, 2009 at 4:43 am

Dennis…. my suggestion (tongue firmly in cheek)?Turn your computer(s) off, grab your better 'arf, head out to the countryside and smell the roses (OK the Olive oil or whatever)Farmville? You live in the middle of a gigantic freaking agricultural nation….

Chris Yeh December 2, 2009 at 3:57 am

I long ago swore never to touch Farmville. I have enough demands on my time without having to tend to fake crops. But I wonder if you could truly devise a Farmville/Mturk hybrid that would allow you to generate revenues from renting out the brainpower of people who want to waste their time….

chrisyeh December 2, 2009 at 6:57 am

I long ago swore never to touch Farmville. I have enough demands on my time without having to tend to fake crops. But I wonder if you could truly devise a Farmville/Mturk hybrid that would allow you to generate revenues from renting out the brainpower of people who want to waste their time….

Brij Singh December 2, 2009 at 4:55 am

‘Imagine someone invents a business game that might appeal to the business user’

With proper trimming and feature changes, Second Life could have been Farmville for business. I am sure someone will come up with LinkVille very soon.

Brij Singh December 2, 2009 at 7:55 am

'Imagine someone invents a business game that might appeal to the business user' With proper trimming and feature changes, Second Life could have been Farmville for business. I am sure someone will come up with LinkVille very soon.

Hugh December 2, 2009 at 12:45 am

Twitter is great for news, business and entertainment. Facebook for family, friends and sharing…and then when you actually want to talk – Skype! All have their place especially given good support for mobile access.

cailinyates December 2, 2009 at 1:05 am

I think Hugh said it well – Facebook is wonderful for friends and family and I am personally addicted. It is also wonderful for less tech savy means of organizing school fundraising (just did that) networking blogs (just did that with the school fundraising) and organizing a party (do that via FB all the time.)
For actual 'work' and for learning something work related or receiving input on something work related I turn to Twitter. I love that with Twitter I can throw out a question and with the proper tag words thrown in someone in the Twitterverse with pitch me back an answer. For someone with a small network pool that is invaluable. I personally stay far away from Farmville despite all the lost cows and lonely sheep that seem to show up on my page. I simply don't have time.

dahowlett December 2, 2009 at 1:11 am

Logic would dictate that to be the case but then people don't always behave logically. Providing a game seems an excellent way to drive attention. I'm speculating that a business oriented game might hold value. Twitter is a curiosity in many ways. I use it the same way you and @hugh might and as do many of my peers but I suspect we're outliers with usage based on a very specific need.

Gary Turner December 2, 2009 at 6:40 am

In the olden days I used to only have a blog for online stuff.

Now stream-of-conciousness stuff that fits in Twitter goes there, professional stuff goes to LinkedIn, Facebook gets friendly/familial type stuff and the occasional long form goes on the blog.

I don’t think it’s a choice more than natural evolution.

garyturner December 2, 2009 at 9:40 am

In the olden days I used to only have a blog for online stuff. Now stream-of-conciousness stuff that fits in Twitter goes there, professional stuff goes to LinkedIn, Facebook gets friendly/familial type stuff and the occasional long form goes on the blog.I don't think it's a choice more than natural evolution.

benkepes December 2, 2009 at 1:43 am

Dennis…. my suggestion (tongue firmly in cheek)?

Turn your computer(s) off, grab your better 'arf, head out to the countryside and smell the roses (OK the Olive oil or whatever)

Farmville? You live in the middle of a gigantic freaking agricultural nation….

Anonymous December 2, 2009 at 7:09 am

I blocked farmville for appearing in my feed rather quickly. I only notice it when occasionally seeing peoples’ personal profiles loaded up heavily with it. Of course, I’m more of a “hardcore gamer” so I would launch SimCity or something of its ilk if I wanted to experience this sort of thing. Or fire up Rollercoaster or one of the Railroad Tycoons for the business angles. ;)

krupo December 2, 2009 at 10:09 am

I blocked farmville for appearing in my feed rather quickly. I only notice it when occasionally seeing peoples' personal profiles loaded up heavily with it. Of course, I'm more of a "hardcore gamer" so I would launch SimCity or something of its ilk if I wanted to experience this sort of thing. Or fire up Rollercoaster or one of the Railroad Tycoons for the business angles. ;)

Richard Murphy December 2, 2009 at 8:02 am

Facebook?

What’s that?
:-)

From a non-user!

Richard Murphy December 2, 2009 at 11:02 am

Facebook?What's that?:-)From a non-user!

chrisyeh December 2, 2009 at 3:57 am

I long ago swore never to touch Farmville. I have enough demands on my time without having to tend to fake crops. But I wonder if you could truly devise a Farmville/Mturk hybrid that would allow you to generate revenues from renting out the brainpower of people who want to waste their time….

Brij Singh December 2, 2009 at 4:55 am

'Imagine someone invents a business game that might appeal to the business user'

With proper trimming and feature changes, Second Life could have been Farmville for business. I am sure someone will come up with LinkVille very soon.

garyturner December 2, 2009 at 6:40 am

In the olden days I used to only have a blog for online stuff.

Now stream-of-conciousness stuff that fits in Twitter goes there, professional stuff goes to LinkedIn, Facebook gets friendly/familial type stuff and the occasional long form goes on the blog.

I don't think it's a choice more than natural evolution.

krupo December 2, 2009 at 7:09 am

I blocked farmville for appearing in my feed rather quickly. I only notice it when occasionally seeing peoples' personal profiles loaded up heavily with it. Of course, I'm more of a “hardcore gamer” so I would launch SimCity or something of its ilk if I wanted to experience this sort of thing. Or fire up Rollercoaster or one of the Railroad Tycoons for the business angles. ;)

Richard Murphy December 2, 2009 at 8:02 am

Facebook?

What's that?

:-)

From a non-user!

Anonymous December 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I’m sure you can ignore it if you try. Biggest problem is how do you know who you are conversing with? My wife loves it to bits – farm game, gem game, chat, keeping up with old friends (even scrabble!). But once you get beyond those that you (really) know then how do you know who they are – and there are several examples well known to my other half where someone’s account was taken over.

alastairharris December 2, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I'm sure you can ignore it if you try. Biggest problem is how do you know who you are conversing with? My wife loves it to bits – farm game, gem game, chat, keeping up with old friends (even scrabble!). But once you get beyond those that you (really) know then how do you know who they are – and there are several examples well known to my other half where someone's account was taken over.

alastairharris December 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I'm sure you can ignore it if you try. Biggest problem is how do you know who you are conversing with? My wife loves it to bits – farm game, gem game, chat, keeping up with old friends (even scrabble!). But once you get beyond those that you (really) know then how do you know who they are – and there are several examples well known to my other half where someone's account was taken over.

Jon Reed December 3, 2009 at 6:48 am

Dennis,

I liked this post because you packed a lot into a short pondering.

There are several questions raised that I think are somewhat distinct:

Does the traction of something like Farmville provide models for more hardcore business communities? Yes.

Is it possible that a serious enterprise business or vendor could create a Farmville like game for either entertainment or roleplaying purposes that could become a real time suck and market advantage? I think yes.

Does Facebook have a deeper adoption level than Twitter? Definitely yes.

Does that make me like Facebook any better myself? Not really.

I certainly don’t find Facebook free of ego. Facebook took pages from Twitter and thus many of my friends are continuously “lifestreaming” events in their lives. Often I think of this as falling into a category I call “lifestyle marketing,” or else information I find irrelevant. There is plenty of the same on Twitter but based on who I follow, I find I can focus on forward-thinking business on Twitter in my industry and make new and interesting contacts. with the right dash of personal sharing. Most of the discussion on Twitter in my stream is related to key business and cultural topics. My Facebook friends as a whole aren’t interested in hearing about that kind of stuff from me – certainly not my latest ponderings on enterprise software developments. SUGEN is not a monicker I would burden my FB friends with for example.

What I value Facebook for is the way I can track friends through the years. Unfortunately for me that can also mean an emotionally volatile mix and very eclectic group of people. People follow me on Twitter for what I’m doing now in SAP/ERP/ etc, people on Facebook are friending me mostly for past affiliations, some of them powerful, some of them tenuous. Facebook for me ends up being more about the past than the present for me if that makes any sense. But that’s what’s so interesting about Facebook – it means such different things based on what you have done with your life and how you choose to spend the time on the site. I think Facebook is also very different for businesses. Based on the “stickiness” you have described, it’s hard to imagine a large “B to C” business not sweating how they can get the attention of those who love spending time on the site.

But that’s not my game so I’ll wrap this comment up, I see Facebook has just sent an update to my mobile phone – evidently someone has poked me.

Jon Reed December 3, 2009 at 9:48 am

Dennis, I liked this post because you packed a lot into a short pondering.There are several questions raised that I think are somewhat distinct: Does the traction of something like Farmville provide models for more hardcore business communities? Yes. Is it possible that a serious enterprise business or vendor could create a Farmville like game for either entertainment or roleplaying purposes that could become a real time suck and market advantage? I think yes. Does Facebook have a deeper adoption level than Twitter? Definitely yes. Does that make me like Facebook any better myself? Not really. I certainly don't find Facebook free of ego. Facebook took pages from Twitter and thus many of my friends are continuously "lifestreaming" events in their lives. Often I think of this as falling into a category I call "lifestyle marketing," or else information I find irrelevant. There is plenty of the same on Twitter but based on who I follow, I find I can focus on forward-thinking business on Twitter in my industry and make new and interesting contacts. with the right dash of personal sharing. Most of the discussion on Twitter in my stream is related to key business and cultural topics. My Facebook friends as a whole aren't interested in hearing about that kind of stuff from me – certainly not my latest ponderings on enterprise software developments. SUGEN is not a monicker I would burden my FB friends with for example. What I value Facebook for is the way I can track friends through the years. Unfortunately for me that can also mean an emotionally volatile mix and very eclectic group of people. People follow me on Twitter for what I'm doing now in SAP/ERP/ etc, people on Facebook are friending me mostly for past affiliations, some of them powerful, some of them tenuous. Facebook for me ends up being more about the past than the present for me if that makes any sense. But that's what's so interesting about Facebook – it means such different things based on what you have done with your life and how you choose to spend the time on the site. I think Facebook is also very different for businesses. Based on the "stickiness" you have described, it's hard to imagine a large "B to C" business not sweating how they can get the attention of those who love spending time on the site. But that's not my game so I'll wrap this comment up, I see Facebook has just sent an update to my mobile phone – evidently someone has poked me.

Jon Reed December 3, 2009 at 6:48 am

Dennis,

I liked this post because you packed a lot into a short pondering.

There are several questions raised that I think are somewhat distinct:

Does the traction of something like Farmville provide models for more hardcore business communities? Yes.

Is it possible that a serious enterprise business or vendor could create a Farmville like game for either entertainment or roleplaying purposes that could become a real time suck and market advantage? I think yes.

Does Facebook have a deeper adoption level than Twitter? Definitely yes.

Does that make me like Facebook any better myself? Not really.

I certainly don't find Facebook free of ego. Facebook took pages from Twitter and thus many of my friends are continuously “lifestreaming” events in their lives. Often I think of this as falling into a category I call “lifestyle marketing,” or else information I find irrelevant. There is plenty of the same on Twitter but based on who I follow, I find I can focus on forward-thinking business on Twitter in my industry and make new and interesting contacts. with the right dash of personal sharing. Most of the discussion on Twitter in my stream is related to key business and cultural topics. My Facebook friends as a whole aren't interested in hearing about that kind of stuff from me – certainly not my latest ponderings on enterprise software developments. SUGEN is not a monicker I would burden my FB friends with for example.

What I value Facebook for is the way I can track friends through the years. Unfortunately for me that can also mean an emotionally volatile mix and very eclectic group of people. People follow me on Twitter for what I'm doing now in SAP/ERP/ etc, people on Facebook are friending me mostly for past affiliations, some of them powerful, some of them tenuous. Facebook for me ends up being more about the past than the present for me if that makes any sense. But that's what's so interesting about Facebook – it means such different things based on what you have done with your life and how you choose to spend the time on the site. I think Facebook is also very different for businesses. Based on the “stickiness” you have described, it's hard to imagine a large “B to C” business not sweating how they can get the attention of those who love spending time on the site.

But that's not my game so I'll wrap this comment up, I see Facebook has just sent an update to my mobile phone – evidently someone has poked me.

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