The Filter Bubble – a warning against algorithmic recommendation in the web!

The TED talk below isn’t particularly new but I have only just found the time to watch this and it is something that I feel pretty passionately about so thought I would pop down a few thoughts.

In the 9 minute video, Eric Pariser takes us through his eloquent argument against the ‘personalisation’ of the web by algorithms set-up to increase the content you are exposed to that is of a similar kind to that you have previously engaged with.

The ‘Filter Bubble’ refers to your web, and the content inside it that is similar to that which you liked before. The perils of this mean that our interestes become ‘dumbed down’ increasing the sugar factor’ of entertainment vs challenging material.

The strange thing for me as a social media professional how few people actually know this outside media and advertising. Speaking to people about their Facebook news feed is perhaps the best demonstration, and people are astounded to know it’s probably only about 5% of the conversations that are going on that pop up in it. Notice your peripheral friends becoming more marginalised anyone?

Here is a link to the talk…

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

And this fantastic book cover links to the website to find out more…

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Measuring the impact of Facebook – Seeing beyond the number of ‘Likes’

Ignoring the slightly out of date stats up front, this deck is a good introduction to the idea of monitoring the ‘health’ of your Facebook brand page. It proposes the idea that 25% of ‘social’ time should be spent crunching the data/analytics, the equivalent of taking a step back and surveying your progress.

The most important point to take out is that most people are unlikely to want your brand updates cluttering their newsfeed, so one way to get your message out there is to use your advocates (highly engaged fans) to spread your message for you. This reinforces the point that so many seem to miss which is that overall numbers of ‘Likes’ are not the ‘Holy Grail’ of FB brand pages but measurements like engagement a much more effective benchmark.


7 top tips for creating a good Facebook app

When thinking about building a brand Facebook page it can be all too easy to jump straight in and create a flashy app that promises to bring in fans by the bucketload. This sort of approach rarely bears fruit, and can end up leading to expensive apps lying unloved and un-engaged with on the brands page.

The below example, (excuse the brandname which gets lost in translation) is a really nice example of well developed idea, appealing to users habits/desires and coming out of listening to existing conversations and behaviours and tapping into them.

Here is a brief checklist to go through before creating your app:

1) Make it relevant to your audience – think about what are they doing on Facebook and listen to their conversations to pick up on their interactions.
2) Don’t force behaviour – linked to the above but keep the barrier to entry as low as possible.
3) Make it your default tab for newbies – but don’t forget to promote clearly on the wall or with a message to your existing fans!
4) Make it shareable! Adding the share button will allow users to pass on to their friends – but remember the actual number will be variable.
5) Promote on/in your other properties, e.g. Twitter/marketing emails/even email signatures and don’t be afraid to re-promo!
6) Advertise it! Sadly in Social Media the best things aren’t free so don’t expect your content to fly without promoting it. ‘Advertise’ both for free on the wall, but also with app ads, and give it some social context, showing users which of their friends is already using the app.
7) Add a contest element or a reason to follow up. Some of the best FB apps lead to an end date e.g. Your face on a billboard in time square. This helps us in the eventual goal which is usually to turn occasional visitors into engaged fans and hopefully brand advocates.

Follow these and you can’t go wrong.

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