Monthly Archives: April 2009

Struggling with Facebook Statuses

I have recently been receiving quite a bit of traffic to this website from those who have specific questions about Facebook functionalities. If YOU are one of those people, I am more than happy to do my best to answer your question. To do so, simply submit it here.

If you’ve talked to me lately, you’ve probably heard about my frustration with Facebook status updates.

When the updates were first added as a Facebook feature during the Spring of 2006, the site was still only open to those with .edu addresses.

In fact, I distinctively remember first discovering status updates. I accidently put “Julie is Jeff’s” rather than “Julie is at Jeff’s” as one of my first statuses. They were that new that it was before I instinctively translated my thoughts into third-person snippets and formatted them to fit the “Julie is…” standard. I didn’t catch the error until Jeff pointed it out to me. And I remember being hugely embarrased by my Freudian slip. But I digress…

In the Spring of 2006, Facebook was still unknown to the general public and only used by college students. Status updates were to social networks what away messages had been to Instant Messaging services… And users weren’t afraid to push boundaries and include “not-for-adult-eyes” content since, well, there weren’t any adult eyes to see it.

But, here we are, three years later, and the landscape of social networks has obviously changed. Our safe playground is no more.

Currently, my status updates can only be seen by my “wide inner circle”… I’m still defining what that means, and I promise it’s the subject of a half-written blog post on Facebook privacy, but let’s just say that these are the people who are my “friends” and/or my high school and college classmates. Family members, colleagues and professional contacts compromise the majority of those excluded. Now, let’s be honest, as someone whose profession is the mastery of social media, I understand the consequences associated with anything created online – whether it has been restricted to certain users or not. As a result, my updates have evolved to be, for the most part, pretty benign. But I still don’t think my colleauges need to know when I’ve had a late night out and am struggling to keep up in the morning. (Not that I do that… frequently.)

Facebook Status Update

But, by restricting these updates, I’m effectively limiting the power of Facebook since the focus of the site has shifted to exactly this feature  in the latest redesign. And the whole thing is compounded by the fact that Status and Shared Link privacy is a single control (also the subject of an upcoming blog post). Everyone who can’t see my statuses also can’t see my shared links. Let’s take a step back and think about this – a lot of the content I’m sharing on Facebook is local, since that’s what affects my daily life. Now, guess which of my Facebook contacts would benefit most from this content? Would it be the high school and college classmates who have now scattered all over the country, or would it be my colleagues and professional contacts who are DC-based? You see what I’m getting at?

So why not just give in, realize that Facebook has evolved, and open up my status to everyone? Well, because, that’s not how I’ve chosen to use Facebook. Instead, that’s how I leverage the power of my Twitter account. I use Twitter primarily in a professional capacity, sharing useful links and remembering that I must be well-behaved and well-spoken at all times. My Facebook friends DON’T CARE about developments in my industry. They want to know what’s happening in my personal life – presicely the information that my professional contacts don’t need to see…

What it comes down to is that I’m struggling, as is everyone else, to find a balance between managing my personal and business contacts. And when things are so interwoven (since you can bet that everyone in the Social Media space is on Facebook), things aren’t so easy.

How Grey’s Anatomy Has Created A Successful Brand Experience — And Why It Matters

The behind-the-scenes people at Grey’s Anatomy have created an online wedding page on The Knot — which I would argue is the champion of the wedding planning website industry in popularity, recognition and, simply put, market share — for the upcoming wedding of Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd (the show’s main characters’). The page resembles that of any other couple. Visitors can leave their congratulatory notes on the “Guest Book” and can even RSVP to attend the “wedding”.

This is a prime example of a Marketing team getting it right. They have created a new portal that extends the Grey’s Anatomy experience and allows fans to become active participants. Marketing students (and veterans), repeat after me: The key to a brand’s success lies in creating memorable, engaging experiences for users. That is what builds community, improves brand loyalty, and cultivates vocal advocates.

Starbucks is the classic example. Some would argue that the products sold are comparable, if not inferior, to those found elsewhere. So why has Starbucks seen such success? It’s because it’s more than the (expensive) cup of coffee you’re getting, it’s the user experience the company has created through its emphasis on local events and overlooked music as well as the overall atmosphere of each store, where you can stay as long as you like.

So, kudos, Grey’s Anatomy Marketing team. It’s (almost) always good to be placed in the same category as Starbucks, even if it’s on a small blog like mine. 🙂

PS Grey’s Anatomy is set in the city where Starbucks was created – Seattle. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.

The Advantages of Smaller Baseball Stadiums

My friends over at SixFourThree*, “a blog about baseball and much more”, posted an entry today that discusses the somewhat counterintuitive recent trend of rebuilding baseball stadiums that contain a smaller – rather than larger – amount of seats.

The author of this particular post correctly points out that the main reasons behind this change are:

1. Aesthetic. Fewer available tickets increases the likelihood of a (near) sellout game, leaving fewer empty seats for the TV audience to see, improving the perception of team success and fan loyalty.

2. Economic. If the supply of tickets available decreases, demand then increases proportionally. This allows for the market value of tickets to increase. 

I think there’s an unintended humanistic result that musn’t be overlooked in this discussion and I’ve provided my thoughts below:

Julie Minevich & Lesley Angellis at Fenway Park

Ignore my shirt and instead look at how close we are!

Growing up a Red Sox fan, with Fenway Park as my home stadium, I think I’ve experienced baseball differently than baseball fans in other cities.

Fenway produces an intimate, community feel because of its small size. This was something I took for granted until I attended a Red Sox- Orioles game at Camden Yards during college – my first baseball experience outside of Boston.

I remember being hugely disappointed by the impersonal feel of the game there. Tickets were very easy to obtain and pretty inexpensive but the enormity of the stadium and the crowd itself made me feel like just another attendee.

Clearly, part of it is my obvious bias, but again, I think Fenway is physically so small that not only you are forced to become friends with your seat neighbors but also you go in knowing that even the worst seat isn’t that far away from the action and the players on the field.

I recently was exploring seat options at Nationals Park for the Red Sox games taking place there this summer. What I noticed was that there were definitely more seat options than at Fenway but a $50 ticket gives you a much better seat in Boston than does in DC.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, of course, smaller stadiums are being built first and foremost to maximize a franchise’s earning potential, but there is a positive outcome that shouldn’t be overlooked – the betterment of the game experience from a fan’s perspective.

*The phrasing of “my friends at SixFourThree” is a bit funny to me because “my friends at…” is a statement that is used in a general, vague sense, but, in this case, the writers of SixFourThree really are my college friends who happen to run a sports blog. Oh, grammatical humor! Gets me every time!