Why Facebook matters

Facebook relationship statusLike many of my digirati colleagues over the age of 35 (yes, it is true, I just have good skin), on a daily or sometimes weekly basis I log on to my Facebook status to approve new friends, check out some new content and maybe, if I’m up for the challenges, I’ll play a little scrabulous or a movie quiz. It’s sometimes more like something I have to do…another “thing” to deal with. And I’m not alone here with my demo. I do update my status because I find that twitter-like behavior fun and interesting and using my blackberry Facebook app, it’s convenient and relevant. My fellow digirati share their whereabouts and industry insight and it’s on my mobile device so I’m good. But I wasn’t a believer…Facebook has always been, a tool I needed to understand and leverage as a “new media” professional, but then I experienced the POWER!

About a month ago my fiancé created a Facebook profile. We’ve been engaged for over a year and when that happened, I happily changed my romantic status to “engaged”…why not…it was true and was I proud of moving from my happy “Mary Tyler Moore” days to those of the monogamous and “mated.” Facebook had never been a dating solution for me but I was cool with sharing basic info in my profile. I noted however, that my fiancé had opted to have his status say ‘in a relationship’. I was shocked. “In a relationship!” That’s yesterday’s news… So I inquired as to why he choose that. And very simply, that’s what he felt comfortable doing. He’s not a public guy and felt that that was all the world needed to know.

Ah … how little he knows the female digital heart.

I explained my pride, that engagement was not too personal and that I loved the world knowing. That it wasn’t about being public but just stating the facts. But he was not to be moved. So, in a show of solidarity and perhaps some slight passive-aggressive tendencies, I changed my status to “in a relationship”…

That’s when it happened … as if all time slowed down and we were all in the matrix and life was moving at a speed where I could dodge the bullet in my cool black rubbery outfit … the phone calls began.

“Lori, this is Brad…what’s going on”….

“Honey, are you ok”…
“I’m so sorry, do you want to come over”
Oh and one, “Sorry to hear that, what’s his number?”

Apparently, the change from “Engaged” to “In a relationship” somehow communicated to the world that we had broken up. A really bad thing had happened and I was on shaky grounds. More emails followed and finally, a week later, at a meeting with a senior colleague while I was in our NY offices, I came to find out that the entire office was chatting about my status and concerned that I was getting a divorce. A bit of telephone yes but so fascinating.

What had exactly happened here? It turns out that that Facebook basic data, that stuff you put down on that profile, really matters. That information is so basic, so primal now in our daily lives, that its content has repercussions. My guy was right … all the world does know what’s happening on those profiles. I know this to be true for the audiences that we look at, that live and breathe on Facebook, but for my “I only log on to approve friends” crowd, it turns out they are doing more…although it may be so subtle and so integrated, they don’t realize how much they intake.

So from a marketing perspective, could we be leveraging Facebook better? Could we be targeting and localizing the content that’s available so that its perpetually relevant on a daily basis with services and information, pinging me to tell me where my level 1 yoga class is or where my favorite store is having a sale. For my Gen-X and boomer crowd, could Facebook help us navigate our life services?

Now, for all those who are concerned, my guy did change his status…well, it took a month of “discussing” and I have moved back to “engaged.” But I’m thinking of putting down some wedding plans…just to help move things along 😉