November 8, 2007, 1:24 pm
Trust Among Friends on Facebook
By Laura M. Holson
I was struck Wednesday reading Louise Story’s article on Facebook’s new service which would allow users of the social networking site to broadcast ads to their so-called “friends.” I think this new advertising push is going to redefine friendship on Facebook.
Here’s why. When my best friend Kathy calls me to say I should rush to Nordstrom because cashmere sweaters are on sale, I trust her because she knows what I like. But that’s not necessarily so among “friends” on Facebook who are oftentimes better described as acquaintances.
A case in point. I had dinner the other night with some pals and the conversation turned, as it sometimes does, to dating. In this case a woman had met a man she found mildly attractive until she was invited to be his “friend” on Facebook. It was a turnoff, not only did he have too many friends by her standards 65 but 90 percent of them were women. Worse, when she logged onto Facebook last Sunday at 8 a.m., she found her “friend” had already posted pictures from Saturday night on his page. Did I mention he was in his 40s?
“Loser,” said one of the gals at dinner as she tucked into a tomato tart. The woman agreed.
So here is the dilemma for a marketer. This man is the kind of Facebook user, someone with a lot of friends who likes to share, who would likely authorize a retailer to give information to his “friends” about his recent purchases. But it is unlikely the woman, who turned down his offer for a date, would buy anything he recommended. Instead she wants to de-friend him.
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