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Facebook’s Attempt at Mind-Reading

Social media has always been a platform for self-expression, and has even evolved into a way for people to stay in touch and get updates on current events. Facebook in particular has some interesting methods of encouraging users to share their experiences, beyond the “What’s on your mind?” prompt for status updates.

In the past year or so, it seems like Facebook has been upping the ante in terms of getting people to share how they feel about things-current events, politics, sports, even seasonal changes.

Sometimes, it seems as if Facebook is reading our minds…These are a few of the things that I’ve noticed in the past few months that Facebook has offered to anticipate what we want to share:

Temporary Profile Pictures and Overlays

Last summer, Facebook started introducing temporary profile pictures as a way to let people show support for a cause, be it political or showing support for a sports team. When you make a temporary profile picture, you have options for how long you want to have it set for (a day, a week, a month), and then it will automatically switch back to whatever you had before. Last November, Facebook created a French flag overlay to show support for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Facebook prompts users to show their support by creating a temporary profile picture. In these circumstances, a temporary profile picture is meant to extend support and solidarity no matter where you are in the world.

Good Morning/Afternoon/Seasonal Changes

A couple weeks ago marked the first day of fall, and you may have noticed a “happy first day of fall” message at the top of your Facebook newsfeed. A couple months ago, I was on my phone and noticed a “Good Morning, Kassandra” message with a sun beside it (in the same top-of-newsfeed position). This isn’t an every day occurrence for me, and I haven’t figured out what the pattern is (or if there even is one), and one day there was a “Good Afternoon” curve ball. These messages don’t even have a “share with the public” option, so I can only imagine that they’re just to create a positive user experience.

Let People Know that You’re ______. 

Another feature that borders on creepy is the “Let people know you’re watching” option during a sporting event (only on mobile). The scores will automatically appear if you’ve liked a team’s official Facebook page. Facebook has since added a new “Sports” section that you can access to get updates from any team without having to “like” a ton of Pages. This area of Facebook is called Sports Stadium, which came out this past January. In addition to sharing a status update, you can “hang out” with other Facebook friends who are watching the game, too, and talk about it within the app.



Another example of a narrowed “let people know what you’re doing,” Facebook started sharing a “Register to Vote” campaign. When you click on it, you get taken to a printable page for voter registration along with instructions. And, because it’s Facebook, you could share with others that you’d registered.

Safety Check

Similar to “Let people know you’re watching,” Facebook has a “Safety Check” feature. If you are in an area that’s in crisis (natural disaster or otherwise), Facebook picks up on this if your location services are on, and will ask you if you are safe. Fortunately, I live in a pretty low-crisis area, so I’ve never seen this in action, until last week when one of my friends used the tool to let people know she was safe in North Carolina. For those of you who watched our Facebook Live video last week, we talked a bit about this Safety Check feature there, too.


These are just a few ways Facebook is attempting to anticipate what people care about and changing the way we interact with each other online. Can’t wait to see what’s next, Facebook!

Pokemon Go from a Marketer’s Perspective

Lately it seems like a lot of things from my childhood are coming back into the world, but repurposed for modern times, but with a bit of a twist. On July 4th, I was part of a conversation that relived the whole Pokemon obsession that most of the group had experienced in the late ’90s/early 00s. We joked about the varying levels of involvement- one guy was able to name all of the first 150. Only one person in the group hadn’t partaken in the Pokemon craze, and we teased her about it. 5 days later, Pokemon Go was released. Although we were all pretty into Pokemon as kids, the latest revival wasn’t as appealing to us. I asked my brother if he’d heard of it, and his response was along the lines of “Oh wait, they actually want me to walk around? Nevermind.”

If you’ve been on the internet at all lately, you’ve probably heard about Pokemon Go. Despite it’s lukewarm reception in the group I mentioned above, there are plenty of others who are going just as crazy over this game as the first round. It’s attracting users from all walks of life and is even becoming more popular than Tinder and Snapchat less than a month after release (in terms of mobile apps and usage).


From a marketing perspective, Pokemon Go has some unique opportunities, and unlike a lot of the other fringe networks, businesses have quickly discovered some different ways to get in on the action.

Let us!!! It will absolutely help you catch 'em all!!!! #pokemongo #charmander #pokemonshoes #mainerunning

A photo posted by Fleet Feet Maine Running (@fleetfeetmainerunning) on

This Instagram Post from Fleet Feet Sports uses the latest fad to create fun marketing messages. You don’t necessarily have to be “in” on the whole thing, but knowing enough to make a decent reference to it in your marketing can get some positive feedback. This applies to any fad/trending topic, too. Knowing a little can go a long way.

A slightly deeper knowledge of the game could lead to a sign like this (there are 3 teams to choose from in the game, giving it another interesting edge). Yes, there’s the risk of alienating some people who aren’t in on the joke, or people who are in but not part of that particular team…That’s a risk you’ll have to decide whether or not is worth taking as a business. Either way, I thought it was pretty clever, or at the very least, humorous. Another thing was a restaurant that offers specials based on what level you’re on in the game, all you have to do is show your server your phone.


Full story here: http://bit.ly/2a561GL

Another popular way businesses are getting involved in the game is dropping lures. The art/science/what-have-you of obtaining a lure admittedly doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, but as a business or individual you can acquire them (they’re apparently pretty hard to come by and/or cost some money). The idea is that it attracts Pokemon to a certain area (i.e. your business), thus attracting potential customers. This article does a better job at explaining the whole “lure” thing that I am” http://www.androidauthority.com/use-lures-pokemon-go-704942/. Even the Sydney Opera House tried it out a couple weeks ago...And as a few businesses in NYC have noticed, the little bit of money they spent on a lure was returned seven times by attracting enough people in to the storefront (full story here).

So whether or not you decide to take advantage of the Pokemon Go market in the near future, it’s an interesting look at how a new platform can be used in unexpected ways for businesses. And then there’s this:


If you are in on the joke, be in on the joke… or ignore it. Being a poor sport gets you no points… in gaming, marketing, or life. Where will you ‘Go’?

Three Google Analytics Metrics I Care About (And Three I Don’t)

On Facebook awhile back, Breanna asked about reading Google Analytics:


I’m sure she’d want me to say she sent that from her phone and it typed it for her. She’s normally a very clear sentence writer. But I totally get what she’s saying. And since I’ve never written about it before I thought this would be a good time to do it.

If you have ever looked at Google Analytics, you know it’s enough to be overwhelming. And while I am writing this from my business point of view (year round, service-oriented business not doing ecommerce) it might give you a few good places to think about (or not think about)

Three Metrics I Care About

These are items I look at when I figure out how I should be spending my time.

Social Overview

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