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Friday Quick Hit: Facebook Timeline

Thursday’s news from Facebook’s “f8 Developer’s Conference” was everything that bloggers, reporters, and social media followers thought it would be: Game-changing.

Wednesday’s announcement and launch of an enhanced “News Feed” were discussed in my blog on Thursday. At the end of the post I said this:

So, if you thought Wednesday’s changes were mind-blowing, Thursday’s f8 event is sure to be a memorable day in social media history. Don’t reject it, embrace it.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement caught the social eyes of all that have (and don’t have) a Facebook account. “Facebook Timeline” will now give you the ability to have an online scrapbook. Will it be a true account of your life? Maybe not, since you’ll be the one to choose the photos you want to post.

Zuckerberg, also announced a series of partnerships with music, media and games companies –including Spotify, Netflix, Zynga (the maker of Farmville) and The Washington Post. The new developments will allow users to listen to songs, watch movies and read news content, without leaving Facebook.

With this addition of content to Facebook, it’s the first time the social network has directly enabled users to access content via an app without leaving the website. You’ve probably already noticed most of these changes. The Spotify integration has already opened up a whole new world to your friends and followers.

This is an exciting time if you are a public relations, marketing, and social media pro. Facebook has opened a whole new can of worms. It will make our jobs a little difficult at first, but just imagine the possibilities with these new tools.

Facebook Changes Need To Be Embraced

If you found it difficult to log onto Facebook on Wednesday, you weren’t the only one. The reason was the first of what will be some remarkable changes to the social media platform.

The latest changes to Facebook are focused on the News Feed, which takes your friends’ posts and considers a number of factors to decide whether they deserve top billing on your account’s home page. The network also changed the News Feed to more prominently display pictures and added some more settings meant to give users post-by-post control over the feed.

These moves come ahead of today’s f8 developers conference when CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers his keynote speech to kick off the event at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Of course, with any changes to Facebook, there’s a fair amount of folks that complain about anything Zuckerberg and his team does. It’s your right to complain, but let’s be honest. It’s a FREE service. If you don’t like the changes, delete your account. It’s that simple.

For me, I view these changes as a chance to embrace Facebook further, especially as a social media marketer and public relations professional. Our clients are going to want to know about the changes and we need to make sure we fully understand them. If you run a Facebook account for a client, you need to adapt to these changes. Otherwise, they’ll find someone else that can do it.

We live in a time when things around us are changing daily. Social media isn’t any different. As a matter of fact, it’s likely because of social media that we see such constant change.

So, if you thought Wednesday’s changes were mind-blowing, Thursday’s f8 event is sure to be a memorable day in social media history. Don’t reject it, embrace it.

I want your thoughts on what Facebook is doing and how it affects you. Let me know in the comments section.

The real meaning of “The Social Network”

This past weekend, I finally watched “The Social Network.” By now, you know it’s the story of how Facebook came to be.  I found it to be terrific and enjoyed seeing a platform that has changed the way we interact, highlighted in Hollywood.

Of course, there have been some detractors. Sean Parker, Facebook’s founding president, recently called the film a work of “fiction.” On the other hand, the movie’s main character, Mark Zuckerberg, hasn’t had anything earth-shattering to say about the portrayal of him in it.

When it was first released, it received a ton of buzz and folks flocked to theaters to see it.  This month, “The Social Network” won four Golden Globes, including one for best picture. On January 25, it was nominated for a best picture Oscar and received a best actor nod for Jesse Eisenberg.  For the folks that originally thought it was going to be a “social media” movie, it’s been more than that.

And that’s why I’m writing this post. “The Social Network” is more than just Eisenberg’s portrayal of Zuckerberg; the movie is about the entrepreneurial spirit. Sure, that spirit doesn’t always include hanging a zip line so you can do tricks into a pool (watch the movie to see what I mean). What the entrepreneurial spirit does is inspire us to create something that will help change the world, or at least help make it better.

Now, I’m not here to argue whether the idea for Facebook was stolen or whether Parker’s character in the movie is accurate.

What I will tell you is that anyone who works hard to see their dreams or plans come true, this movie will help inspire you to work harder. It surely did for me. Do I think I’ll be the next Mark Zuckerberg? No. But, who’s to say that I can’t make my blog something that people go to for advice and (maybe) inspiration.

And for that matter, who’s to say YOU can’t be the person that comes up with the next great idea in social media, PR, or marketing? No one.  And if someone tells you that you can’t do it… don’t listen and, most importantly, don’t believe them.

You can be ANYTHING you set your mind to. Believe in what you know and put it to good use.  You may not see it pay off (monetarily) at first. But the more you hone it and get the word out on it, you will see the results.

Right now you may be sitting at a desk, wondering how you can make that next great idea take off, so you won’t have to sit in your office for another year. Do something about it… Make your dreams happen now!

Did you see “The Social Network?” What were your thoughts?

Facebook’s new message platform… Why the hate?

Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s latest brainchild on Nov. 15, a platform that he hopes will help users rethink how people connect and communicate. Facebook Messages allows you to set up your own email address (yourname@facebook.com) and integrate instant message features into one area. The whole idea intrigued me when I started reading because I love when companies come up with ways to simplify what we already have.

However, within moments of Zuckerberg’s announcement, the negative comments started flying.  Everything from “if you apply for a job with a @Facebook.com email address, you won’t be considered,” to “Facebook Messages: The Worst Thing That Ever Happened.”

What is the deal with all the hate about it? I know there are naysayers about everything, but for a product most haven’t even had a chance to try? C’mon, folks.

I’ll be up front and say I haven’t tried it, but have read some of the reviews and they are mixed.  Of course, there are some kinks that will be worked out and the new platform is on an invite-only basis at the moment.  So how can someone honestly say they don’t like it?

Take Google Wave.  I tried it for a bit, but wasn’t really impressed with the platform after a while.  Where is it? Gone. The same could happen to Facebook Messages.  The point is: Do you want a platform that does not evolve or do you want something that is always pushing the envelope?

In business, we are always trying to stay on top of the competition.  It’s how we keep and expand our client list.

Remember the days of AOL and Prodigy? You had to dial in and risk getting bumped off or you’d get a busy signal and couldn’t log in at all.  Prodigy is, of course, gone now and AOL has evolved into more web-based content.  AOL changed with a ton of bumps along the way.  The Facebooks and Twitters of the world can thank AOL and Prodigy for helping make the path a little smoother.

If you want to survive, you’ll evolve.  If you want to watch your product and business stay flat, don’t change.  I’d rather be part of a place that is always pushing the envelope, instead of just gliding by.

I can’t see how you can hate that.

What are your initial thoughts? Leave them in the comments section and let’s talk!

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