A "Private Facebook": Sometimes 400 million is too many
Posted by David Richards on May 13, 2010, 8:05 AM EDT
Some new marketing taglines we're (jokingly) considering
I received a call yesterday from the VP of Marketing for a large, healthcare consortium. We had been recommended to her by one of her members, a large healthcare system we're beginning to work with. She opened our conversation with the statement (paraphrased): "I've heard you have the technology to build us a 'private Facebook' and put it behind our firewall". I answered, yes. As this was the third time in a short period I'd heard almost the exact same phraseology to describe some of what we do, I took note; I'm now thinking that if Facebook's lawyers don't object I might change our tagline to something like, "Not 400 million people like Facebook, just your own". Pretty sure I won't get the thumbs up.
It is clear from comments like these and the incredible attention (positive and negative) that Facebook is a phenomenon. It has become the Kleenex of social technologies. It is also clear from organizations coming to us as clients, or just in search of knowledge, that Facebook, like Kleenex, isn't appropriate for meeting every need. Kleenex, great for sniffles, not so for bandaging wounds. Some of what Facebook isn't optimzed for? Privacy, branding and "control" seem to top the list. Many organizations, and you can count us in this group, need the control to keep their best clients, employees and partners from an environment consisting mostly of chatter from 14 year old teens, 50-year olds with too much time on their hands, or eery pictures of recently deceased, junior high friends. Seriously. The latter haunts me.
I'm a member of Facebook. I don't use it a lot but I check in now and then to see what's going on. My kid's friends occasionally writing on my wall is cute. Pictures of underage drinking, not so. Images of my recently deceased best friend from 7'th grade who is still active in Facebook despite being buried is just plain creepy -- I'm thinking this is due to somebody hijacking his profile, but I'm not totally discounting some extra-dimensional API the smart folks at Facebook snuck in there. Regardless, these all seem inappropriate for me trying to business-socialize with the very same VP of Marketing mentioned above and that prompted this blog.
So Facebook lawyers, if you don't mind please consider my request for our new tagline (and this one doesn't even mention you by name): "ConcourseConnect... when 400 million people living in Europe or having recently passed away don't drive your business"