Facebook Frenzy?

As you may have noticed, we cover social media comprehensively in PR News. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help feeling the excitement that flows from hearing about  a great integrated campaign with a successful social media result—the Aflac Facebook effort that I wrote about in the Jan. 25th issue that garnered $1.2 million for charity, for instance. I even peppered the article with great stats on Facebook: 350 million active users! Then, an article in Monday’s New York Post (because I get all my “real” news from the Post) brought me down to earth. With the lead, “Facebook ‘friending’ may fry your brain,” the story went on to say that a study finds there is no way the human mind can handle 5,000 friends—it’s more like 150 tops. Sure, 150 friends is still a pretty big number, but not near the Facebook numbers we’ve been accustomed to hearing about. Which got me thinking, am I too jazzed up over Facebook? Are people within Facebook really conversing—and comprehending—in such great numbers? Have we gone slightly overboard with enthusiasm for this tool?

What’s your take?

–Scott Van Camp

  • http://www.prshifts.com Dan Wedin

    Hi Scott,
    So maybe your Facebook Friend count isn’t really your “social network” according to Dunbar. But, I think it is what it is. I hear or read people spouting their friend count like it’s some kind of score but, what they aren’t saying is “I have this many close(strong) friends” in relation to their fb friend count. Your fb friend count is really your number of ties(mostly weak as the count grows). So I think Dunbar’s point while an interesting research point, doesn’t really matter. Strong ties occur naturally, weak ties need work.
    Am I way off?

  • http://allpublicists.com John S

    If you have 5,000 Facebook friends, it’s likely that maybe 100 regularly read your status updates and check out your profile. Especially since interest in one particular person, product, company, or idea naturally waxes and wanes over time. I wonder if Facebook will eventually be replaced by Twitter; after all, once Facebook gained popularity, there was hardly room for Myspace anymore.

  • Bob Chase

    Quantity matters because updates from friends — whether you’re close or not — show up in news feeds.

    What marketers need to know is this: how many of our so-called friends or fans are sick of us and have hidden our status updates? This is useful information we need from Facebook that would help us refine our social media campaigns.

  • http://www.prperspectives.tumblr.com Nisha Pawar

    Social media really does seem to be taking over PR. I found a really interesting webcast which looks at how pr agencies are using this, take a look, makes for interesting watching http://prperspectives.tumblr.com/post/398433612/exploring-social-media-in-pr