The Roundtable is a live, interactive webcast gathering some of the most outspoken industry professionals to debate the hottest publishing issues of the week, as being discussed in traditional media, the blogiverse and on Twitter. From celebrity book deals to eBook rights and pricing to [insert YOUR pet topic here] — if it’s related to books, it’s on the agenda.
Topic: Facebook – What’s Not to “Like”?
This episode of The Roundtable was webcast live at 1pm EDT on Thursday, April 29, 2010.
Kevin Smokler, CEO, BookTour.com
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Dir. of Programming & Business Development, Digital Book World
Publishers will have a lot more information about Facebook users, too. The 24-hour limit on holding Facebook data will be lifted. Publishers will now know a lot more about users (basically all their profile information) as soon as they click the “Like” button, and they’ll be able to hold onto this data. Just imagine the CRM implications when a publisher is able to marry Facebook user data with its own customer databases.
As I was writing this post yesterday, others were spreading the word about Facebook’s new “like” strategy: you will soon see little “like” buttons all across the Web, and every time you click one data about you and your preferences will flow back to Facebook, to be aggregated with everything else Facebook already knows about you. I’ll leave it to others to debate whether Facebook is turning the Web inside out, co-opting the Web, invading everyone’s privacy, etc. The interesting possibility here is that Facebook is apparently willing to let user data flow back to the web sites supplying it–at least that appears to the be case with Pandora and Yelp, two of the initial pilot sites that have already implemented the “like” buttons.
What would a publisher need to have in place to take advantage of this, assuming it eventually will be a two-way data sharing street with Facebook? At a minimum, a community–one that’s engaged enough to be willing to click the “like” button often enough to supply meaningful data. Content for that community to consume, either publisher-created or community-created or both. And preferably, a direct-to-consumer sales mechanism.
“None [emphasis theirs] of your information-your name or profile information, what you like, who your friends are, what they have liked, what they recommend-is shared with the sites you visit with a plugin. Because they have given Facebook this ‘real estate’ on their sites, they do not receive or interact with the information that is contained or transmitted there. Similarly, no personal information about your actions is provided to advertisers on Facebook.com or on the other site.”
This gap in understanding (and I’m going to leave open the possibility that even my own research is leaving something out) is why Facebook is now facing its “death panel.” Like the misinformation in the healthcare debate that turned end-of-life consultations with doctors into a belief that the government would decide when to off Grandma, the belief that Facebook just opened its databank to third-parties is taking on a life of its own. And, unless Zuckerberg & Co. hire a translator, this belief is going to persist. In fact, it’s even possible that “Facebook privacy” has become an oxymoron to so many people by now that hiring all the translators won’t make a difference.
“Overall, I think it’s definitely the ‘new thing.’ It’s the new way to connect,” says Kate Rados, Director of Digital Initiatives for Chelsea Green Publishing. “Publishers are going to have to get very creative to find a way they can use LBS to connect with their readers. Libraries and bookstores are the ones with the most immediate opportunity here: create special tips, offers for people who check in, rally around events, etc.”
Facebook may not have made any big announcements about local business marketing at last week’s f8 conference, but the company is certainly stepping up its efforts in that area. Today, we discovered that Facebook is sending out window decals with text-to-Like SMS instructions to select local businesses.
Twitter (as RTd by @digibookworld):
@Knownhuman: #DBW I’ve always been apprehensive about Facebook – esp in terms of account privacy. Ask yourself, what’s their biz model?
@babetteross: #dbw your privacy has become the fee for Facebook
@MaryFramer: http://twitpic.com/1jex1m – just got this personalized @framenation sticker in the mail from facebook. I feel special! #DBW
@Knownhuman: #DBW if you can’t trust Facebook on privacy, why do you think you can trust them on data?
@babetteross: “won’t this be another way for pubs to ignore getting to know readers, doing market research & communicating.” @weegee #dbw
@pa4culture: “pubs need 2 get serious abt interacting w/ readers, not just depending on 3rd party intermediaries 4 data” @glecharles #dbw
@pa4culture: irony in the fact that leveraging soc med for hoovering mktg data compromises the very community that publishing needs. #dbw
@Knownhuman: #DBW Final thought today – publishers, welcome to the data firehose.