Friday, July 30, 2010

Splinternet in the Wild

I have been thinking about the views expressed here and here by Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research about what he calls the ‘Splinternet’. One other aspect arising from his thesis is that Facebook is becoming (or perhaps has already become) a de-facto second Internet alongside the primary Internet. There are many connections between the two. But it is becoming increasingly common for many people to spend the majority of time online within Facebook’s so called ‘walled garden’. This is therefore increasing pressure on organisations and businesses to communicate within the confines of Facebook.

Examples of this happening are all around us. Walking from the train this morning I passed a shop with a ‘Find us on Facebook’ sticker in the window. Then this Carlsberg bus shelter advert had a prominent ‘Find us on Facebook’ banner beside the traditional URL.

A 98FM-branded car parked further down the street had incorporated versions of the Twitter, YouTube and Facebook icons into its livery. As they have done in their press advert in today’s paper shown here.

All of these examples indicate organisations responding to incentives/pressure to be active within these social networks. I wonder if most will end up having to replicate much of their online content within Facebook Pages micro-sites as well as on their own dedicated websites?

I am also interested in the overhead of time/personnel organisations will need to bring to bear on their social media activities. Given that the important word in social media is ‘social’ it is a given that cross-posting content into Facebook is not a useful strategy for anyone. If companies are going to use Facebook to engage with their customers and have actual conversations, what resources are required? The idea of a Facebook page were the organisation only replies between nine and five on weekdays might seem logical to certain classes of organisation, but is nonsense in the real-time web. Depending on the size of the organisation is 24/7 uptime required? How many people do you need to resource up for that? What do you think?