Saturday, October 11, 2008

What Does Facebook Do?

Facebook has a new way of describing itself.

It used to be: "Facebook is a social utility that connects you to the people around you."

Now it's: "Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life."

Rather than describing what it is AND what it does, it now just describes what it does. In this case, I think it's a better move because most people never really understood what a "social utility" is. Plus, it shifts the locus of agency from Facebook to you, the user.

If anyone knows of any other self-descriptions Facebook had throughout its history please mention in the comments.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mapping the Social Networks of a Small Town

There's a fascinating article in the New York Times about how Unilver is attempting to map the spread of conversations about their Vaseline lotion, Clinical Therapy, in an Alaskan town. 

Through mapping the conversations Unilever was able to identify a network hub, Petal Ruch, who was apparently the most well-connected town resident. Unilever's advertising  agency and production company then built a marketing campaign around her story.

The network map is supposed to make its way onto a branded website called Prescribe the Nation.

Given my research on mapping the conversational geography of word of mouth and my work with ChatThreads I'm especially interested in this endeavor and will watch with interest how this develops.