Facebook's Promoted Posts: Good, Bad, Or No Big Deal?

Facebook is rolling out a feature that allows individuals to pay a small fee (currently $7) to have one of their posts display more often in their friends’ feeds. Most of the user feedback I’ve seen has been negative, and can be divided into two (related) categories:

Complaint Category 1: Greedy Facebook
This complaint sounds something like this: “Facebook is already making enough money from ads, they are just greedy/desperate, probably because their IPO didn’t go well.”

Complaint Category 2: You’re Ruining It, Facebook
This complaint was nicely and succinctly stated by Josh Constine: “I worry that Promoted Posts could change the atmosphere of Facebook from one where the most beloved content gets seen most to one where the rich can dominate the news feed.”

Good, Bad, Or No Big Deal?
I think the move is possibly bad, but probably is just not a big deal. Here’s why:

  • I expect very few Facebook users have the desire to pay $7 to promote a post. I’m positive it will be such a small minority of posts that get promoted, not enough to seriously impact my usage of the site.
  • Facebook doesn’t need many promoted posts. According to the TechCrunch article linked above, “Facebook could nearly double its revenue per user if it could get each US user to promote just one post a year”. If I have 300 friends, that means I would see less than 1 promoted post per day.
  • If I have friends who are “spamming” me with unwanted promoted posts, I can always unfriend them or hide them from my news feed.
  • Facebook provides a free service, which they need to monetize. Personally, I’d prefer to see 1 or 2 promoted posts per day (from friends I choose to be connected with), than to see more ads from companies I may or may not be interested in.
  • Facebook does need to be careful that they don’t turn into a site that is dominated by ads and promoted posts. (Remember those search engines that were 100% ads? Nobody likes that…)

What do you think? Are promoted posts good, bad, or no big deal?

Navigating Facebook's Privacy Saga

This is a guest post from Brennon at CampusBookRentals.com, a great place to find and rent textbooks.

What was supposed to be national “Quit Facebook Day” has come and gone, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled simpler privacy settings for his site. Despite some initial outrage about the privacy control free-for-all that happened in May, Facebook’s adoring audience has, by and large, stuck with Zuck.

So why now, are some privacy groups still demanding more changes? Last week, ten organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union and Consumer Watchdog drafted an “Open Letter to Facebook” citing the issues they still see with the site. Facebook then responded with a “point-by-point” rebuttal addressing each of the organizations’ qualms.

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15 Ways Facebook Can Get You an A+

This is a guest post from Karen Schweitzer, who writes on About.com and about Online Classes.

Facebook’s not just a gigantic time-sink, making you less and less productive as the service gets more and more popular. There are lots of ways to make Facebook more useful, and apps are one of the best. Thanks to its huge universe of applications, Facebook actually offers a number of ways for students, and anyone who’s still game for a little learning, to figure out something new.

These apps can enhance online learning, give you more control over your schedule, and make it easier to interact with professors and classmates. They’re particularly good for students of all ages, but they can help anyone who’s looking to further their learning, or get a little more organized. Here are 15 Facebook apps worth exploring (and worth telling your parents about, so they’ll leave you alone about all the time you spend on the site):

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How to Make Facebook Even More Useful

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

Facebook, with more than 300 million users, is now the third-largest country in the world. That’s nuts. It increasingly seems that Facebook is the first, and often last, stop for many people navigating their social spheres, doing everything from keeping in touch to planning events. It’s an excellent social network, and developers are turning into much, much more through applications, APIs, Facebook Connect, and more.

But  it’s still not a perfect tool. There are lots of little things about Facebook that could be improved, and luckily for us, many of the solutions have been found. These aren’t features built into Facebook (yet), but with the help of a few services and add-0ns, Facebook can be made even more fun and useful.

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Keep Your Social Media Life Organized with Skimmer

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

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I was thinking about it today, and realized that I’m active on a ridiculous number of social media networks. I’ve got Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Friendfeed, YouTube, and more – I’d get exhausted if I went through them all.

Though each application is improving, and has its own lures and reasons to use, keeping track of them all is hard. It’s a lot of different places to check, a lot of information to consume, and a lot of work to stay active on all the various sites.

After a few hours of using Skimmer, though, my social media life appears to have just become much less complicated.

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Dunkin' Donuts: A Prototype for Branding and the Social Web

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

twitter Major companies and corporations, it appears, are finally understanding how significant this whole "Internet" thing must just actually be. For a series of tubes, it’s become a pretty big deal.

The potential benefits of this are fantastic, both for companies and consumers. For us, the consumers, it means we get more personal, transparent, and efficient interaction with the huge companies that used to just ignore us and put us on hold for 37 minutes, playing the same Sting song over and over. And over. Thanks to the Web, things might just be looking up – though Sting’s royalties’ll go down the tube.

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Beat Infosaturation: Wade in the Stream

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

2595497078_4f6d5367bcOne of the things a lot of people are discussing recently, particularly related to the Internet, is information overload. Many of us have enormous numbers of inboxes, all of which do nothing but present us with information: RSS, email, IM, Twitter, Facebook, and countless other examples.

Ruud Hein, a blogger I like a lot, wrote on this subject a while ago:

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All-in-One Online Reading with Streamy

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

dual-screen-laptop_12Reading news online has become a fairly standardized experience. You subscribe to some RSS feeds, then read new stories in any of a number of applications – Google Reader, FeedDemon and others. While this is the most popular way to do it, it may not be the best.

Streamy is a new application that changes how you receive and read news and updates, and does an awfully good job of it. With this one application, you can follow your Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Flickr, and Friendfeed streams, as well as any of the news and RSS feeds you want to follow.

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Sunday Tips: Facebook

1824234195_e6b913c563Facebook is now (I think) the most popular social network in the United States, and is growing rapidly elsewhere. It’s connecting people of seemingly all ages, and yet somehow has managed not to be terribly creepy.

For many people, Facebook’s usefulness comes from the fact that just about everyone they know is a user. It’s an easy way to contact or check up on someone, and is a hub for a lot of people’s social lives, both on and offline.

I’m an avid Facebook user, and over the last couple of years have figured out a number of things that Facebook can do, and that you can do with Facebook, that most people don’t know about.

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