Google have stiff competition in Facebook. But not for the reasons you might think — neither quite understand the power of social media in the way you’d think they would…
It seems almost inconceivable that two of the biggest names in internet technology could both be blind to the potential of their own products / services. I was certain Google’s almost complete lack of social media smarts was a one off.
How wrong I was.
There I was, working towards writing a follow-up to my Facebook’s 5 missing features article when news emerged that Facebook had launched a Twitter application for Page owners:
“Now, with a new Twitter application created by Facebook, Facebook Page owners can automatically syndicate their posts to Twitter just by installing the app on their Facebook Page.”
My dream had finally come true! Now, I could post a Note on my Page on Facebook and have that article appear as a link on Twitter. Then, when someone clicks on the link, they see that article with the Facebook toolbar, allowing them to comment and / or like the article. All of which forming a strong outreach channel for my Page, helping build my fan number ever further, and building my brand.
For reasons that evade me, Facebook somehow managed to deftly avoid doing any of these things and instead released an almost totally useless Page application that simply burps stuff from your Page onto Twitter. Worse still, if you add a comment to a Note item, that comment is the title that people see on Twitter and not the title of the article itself.
It strikes me that Facebook are singularly clueless as to the power and potential of the very service they tend to. I am, quite frankly, astonished. I just simply cannot fathom how so many people with so many letters after their names managed to conspire between them to snatch mediocrity from the yawning jaws of social media success.
“No! Go back! Look…” I stab with an outstretched finger at the desk in front of me, littered with an assortment of sketches and notes. “Look, it’s there!”
But he doesn’t see me. Instead, he ambles over to the water cooler.
“Fuck the water cooler! Look mate, you have it right there!” I turn and stand in front of him as he sips quietly, jabbing my finger again and again. “There’s just NO WAY can you have NOT seen what I’ve seen!” I yell into his face, with back arched, neck taught and clenched fists to my chest.
Nothing. He does not hear me. He simply stares passively out across the grounds of the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.
I march away towards the office door, with my hands clutched over my head in sheer frustration.
“This isn’t happening. It can’t be.” I mumble to myself, turning to face the desk once more as the guy walks back and agrees with his colleagues that their new Facebook application is fine and there’s no more to be done.
“This is some kind of hell, surely?”
OK, you could argue that I might just be over reacting a little. It is a Friday and after making Emily (who’s a client of mine) laugh with the above scenario which I acted out over the telephone, she suggested it might be worth writing the whole thing up.
However, there is a serious side; how can all those smart guys at Facebook miss something like this? These are the very basics of social media. Get the basics wrong and what hope is their for the bigger picture?
Another example of a missed opportunity is Facebook Connect not, well, connecting! Also, an astonishing oversight which simply wouldn’t happen on my watch.
Right now, Pages on Facebook are little more than island communities. The cynic in me thinks that Facebook are attempting to furthering their own financial agenda and would prefer we didn’t have the tools to easily share our Pages, forcing us to use their paid-for advertising instead.
If that is the case, then Facebook aren’t on the same page as their users and are selling us all short…