Facebook? Make that a Google, Please.

Only two out of five Americans are not on Facebook. I’m one of the lonely who stay out of the joint by choice. Although I’m darn social-media-savvy (proud to say I was an early adopter on Twitter, beginning in fall 2007. Compare that to the guy on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” this morning – I don’t know his name – who conquered Twitter in March. Piker.)

However, when students ask why I’m not on Facebook, I tell them it’s because I don’t want any more friends. They usually laugh..even though within seconds their eyes begin sneaking peeks at their friends’ updates and I can tell that I have once again successfully managed to avoid drilling deep into any relationship with them.

Yesterday Facebook launched its IPO, the third largest in history. Creator Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire times twenty. The link that best summarizes what happened within the next 24 hours was from the WSJ.com’s Follow Mark Zuckerberg’s Worth in Real Time During Facebook IPO Day. Take a sec right now to check it out but then please come back.

You see, it’s the peaks and the valleys of the day that interest me most. We can’t tell how much MZ was up or down at any given moment – the stock ran from $38 to $41 as best as I can tell, then finished flat. So, give or take one billion, or 500-million or whatever, you’re talking about big numbers that the average person might want to be a part of.

But what would you really be buying if you purchased even one share of Facebook stock? Yes, you’d be part owner of a company that has 900 million followers, is the largest time suck of all the social media sites and even had a movie made summarizing its start.

But that would be about it.

Apart from MZ and all of the people lucky enough to have owned stock before the IPO, {NB: The price of a starter home in Palo Alto is now $2 million. Damn Gen Y.} it’s hard to see where there’s any “worth” in it. I don’t care what anybody says: No body is going to look at your stupid ad on Facebook. And if you can’t “sell” those eyeballs, you’re not selling anything.

Look at this fantastic interactive from the nytimes.com The Facebook Offering: How it Compares. (I love online news sites that do cool stuff such as this.) Tech stocks launch with great fanfare..but then go flat or even bust.

Except for Google. Now Google is probably not the sainted company it proclaims to aim to be with its motto: “Don’t be Evil.” Google is too damn big, too intrusive. But it is so darn good at what it does. That’s why Google is still the king, as far as I’m concerned.

Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Forms, OH! and don’t forget good old Google search. Where would we be without them? But be aware, be very aware, that Google has been using its secret sauce algorithms to collect oodles (a techie term) of data bits on you, your life, your wife, your need for a plumber, your location. Remember when you wrote a gmail telling your sister that you probably needed to re-shingle your mom’s house and the next time you opened gmail a list of roofers in your area opened up on the right? Spooky, man.

And I pray it never comes down to The New York Times v. Googlezon, I shared with you in 2008.

But for now, for me, please wrap up one share of Google stock and send it along.

Don’t have my address? Just Google it.

(This post in no way is meant to be interpreted as an offer to buy or sell any security or to make claims as to any stock’s future performance. Individual stocks can vary widely in price and you certainly should not put all of your 401-K eggs into any one basket. Please, consult your physician before purchasing these or any other securities, bonds, notes or other assets. Also, TSRC is not responsible for the views of this Ellen person.)

Pawlenty’s Youth Movement Plans Revealed

Item: Minnesota’s ex-Governor Tim Pawlenty insists that he, not President Obama, will win the coveted youth vote in the 2012 presidential race.

Not only that, Pawlenty revealed his secret weapon for winning over young adults. Policies to make higher education affordable? The mullet? The adorable “TPaw” self-branding? His cheeky TV ad showcasing his oh so hot “34-inch waist?”

No, the 50-year old candidate explained to the Vanderbilt University (no not that) Hustler that he had developed a special bond with 18-24 year olds because he — wait until you here this, kids — uses Facebook and accepts invites to The Daily Show!!!

Of course, that would be a bit more dope if 15 million senior citizens weren’t already using Facebook, and the other folks accepting Daily Show invitations these days weren’t senior citizens like Bob Dole, Madeline Albright, Zell Miller, Mario Cuomo, Allan Greenspan and Henry Kissinger.

– Loveland

The Holiday Spirit, To Whom It May Concern

We tackle all the controversial communications issues here at our little blog. But hold onto your mouse, because this is the hottest of the hot.

Holiday form letters: Love ‘em or hate ‘em?

Now, I’ve heard your snarky comments about those holiday letters filling your mailboxes these days. And sometimes I have a tough time with them too.

I’m a caring friend, so I really do want to know how little what’s-his-name is doing. But I could live without the selective reporting about his mensa ways.

I am glad to hear that your Nanna is a special part of your life. But I don’t need the details about her gastrointestinal health.

And of course I care about the basics of your life trajectory. But it’s not neccessary to give extravagant accounts of your fabulous vacations, luxury purchases, civic virtues and professional advancements.

So, holiday letter haters, I feel your pain. I do understand the art form is not always executed flawlessly. But given the choice of receiving 1) nothing; 2) a card with just a signature or 3) a holiday form letter, I prefer to find the pre-fab letters in my mailbox, warts and all.

Continue reading “The Holiday Spirit, To Whom It May Concern”

Social Spam

spam cartoonIn the marketing world, everyone is all atwitter about social media. With the media world in chaos, marketing pros are trying to show our bosses and clients that we understand how to promote their product, service or cause on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. We want to show that we are masters of this “bleeding edge” venue that so baffles and intrigues many senior exectutives.

But a lot of what marketers are doing on social networking platforms looks suspiciously like good old fashioned spam.

Organizations that would never dream of spamming email inboxes with unwanted pitches are merrily clogging social marketing sites with social spam. News clips, pitches, press releases, petitions, infomercial videos, invitations to join groups, event announcements…

Help! It’s like someone walking into your backyard barbeque and throwing an unsolicited Tupperware party. There’s nothing wrong with Tupperware, but the timing and manners are way off.

“What’s the harm,” my social media marketing friends say. “If you’re not interested in my pitch, ignore it.”

So, what is the harm? Well, spam that interrupts a social interaction can be annoying, and the annoyance can do more harm than good for the reputation of the sponsoring organization.

What’s the harm? A person who continually interrupts my pleasure with business runs the risk of eventually earning “hidden” status, which is bad both for friendships and business networks.

What’s the harm? A constant stream of promotional blather can cause the messenger to steadily lose credibility, arguably the most valuable professional and personal commodity we possess. As with the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” parable, loss of credibility can cause friends to tune us out when we actually do have something important to say.

I understand that there is a lot of professional pressure to move in this direction. But social spamming easily can do more harm than good.

– Loveland

“Nobody Goes There Anymore…It’s Too Crowded”

yogiYogi Berra, who contributed the title of this post when explaining why he never went to a particular restaurant anymore, would understand perfectly the adoption cycle of communications channels over the last 20 years or so.  Like a hot restaurant, the technology of staying in touch begins as an unknown, gets “discovered” and shared by early adopters, gets trendy with opinion leaders and “fast followers” who like to be at the front edge of such things, “explodes” into the general population and become quickly overexposed and ubiquitous.  By that point, the early adopters and the fast followers have forsaken their formerly cool hangout and moved on to the next new thing.

In the early 90s, it was e-mail.  Then, when the signal-to-noise ration got too low and the signal itself too overwhelming (400 e-mails a day, anyone?), some of us jumped onto instant messaging via proprietary system like AOL, Yahoo, Google, etc.  Then came texting, blogging, Facebook, MySpace and Tweeting.  Now, as we have been talking about in the comments section of a post a week or so ago about Twitter, it is possible that Twitter too has reached the Yogi threshold and is becoming too crowded and mainstream to be cool.

This doesn’t mean that the old, no-longer-cool apps will cease to exist.  I still e-mail (though I notice my kids’ generation does it only as a courtesy to the old folks and as a low-tech FTP method), I will keep Twitter on my desktop and my iPhone for alerts and such, I will continue to build out my Facebook and LinkedIn pages, but I’m kind of hoping the singularity arrives before I have to add too many more channels to the stream in order to keep up with things.

What’s next, then?  According to some of the stuff I read (here, here and here) coming out of the South by Southwest Festival, the breakthrough app was something called “Foursquare” that adds location-awareness and gaming features to social networking.

Unfortunately, Foursquare has already been written up in the New York Times so it’s already passed the early adopter phase and is probably destined to exit the cool quadrant even faster than Twitter or blogging (yes, my fellow bloggers, this activity is no longer cool per se – though the SRC will ALWAYS be cool because of the content and the participants who come hang out in our soul kitchen).

What’s the next next thing?

– Austin