My efforts to understand Facebook have been a bit like the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the apeman is bashing the ground with a bone. I could sense that this new tool did something, but couldn’t quite figure out what, so I kept thrashing around. Perhaps eventually the bone would turn into a spaceship. (Digression: If this doesn’t make sense, watch the clip – I saw this movie when I was six, a week after seeing The Wizard of Oz at the pictures – I’ve never been the same since.
(There’s a longer clip here.) Digression over.)
The more I saw of Facebook, the more questions I had.
One of these questions was: how do magazines get to have profiles, the same as people? This seemed like a neat thing to do for an organisation: have a profile that could befriend people, put neat stuff on it – videos, blog feeds, pictures; organise events… However, the T&Cs forbid one to ‘register for a User account on behalf of any group or entity’. There is a pricy paid-for advertising option to create a sort of temporary corporate site, but the magazines I looked at didn’t look like corporates such as ‘I Heart Virgin Mobile’. So how do they do it? I friended the NME, largely out of nostalgia: the NME, or New Musical Express as it was then, charted and to some extend created the musical epochs I lived through as a teenager.
I looked forward to seeing what kind of content they would provide via Facebook… perhaps reliving my leather-jacketed youth in the process.
Meanwhile, to try and figure out what kind of deal the NME were on, I asked the Facebook advertising sales guy I’d been emailling to explain the different levels; what did NME and others do differently from the heavyweight advertisers like Virgin and Apple? Were they paying or was there a class of ‘entity’ that could have a profile? A few days later, a reply came, thanking me for reporting the ‘abuse’. And the NME page disappeared. One less social networking channel for them, then…
Oh dear. Some ‘Friend’ I turned out to be…
I guess Facebook is just for people – and advertisers with deep pockets.