Facebook Sharing: A Thousandfold Increase In 10 Years?
Think people are sharing too much on their Facebook pages? If so, prepare to be dismayed, at least if Marc Zuckerberg is right. The Facebook founder and CEO predicted that Facebook sharing will increase by a factor of a thousand. The prediction came (perhaps with some numerical bobbling) at a recent Y Combinator event.
To Zuckerberg, of course, the prediction is nothing to be dismayed about. His belief in sharing, or oversharing, personal information seems to be genuine. And it is also key to Facebook's business model.
But how much should the IT community at midsize firms invest in Zuckerberg's prediction, intellectually or financially? "Social" has become an immensely big buzzword, even as social media is struggling with small screens on mobile devices.
As Paul Sloan reports at CNET, Zuckerberg offered his prediction at Stanford University during Y Combinator's "start-up school" event. The specific quote, however, is a bit confusing: "We expect this rate [of sharing] will double every 10 years. So in 10 years from now, people will be sharing about 1,000 times as many things as they do today."
Taken literally this makes no sense. Doubling every 10 years would lead to a 1,000 times increase only in 100 years. More likely this was a typo by CNET (or "braino" on Zuckerman's part), and the intended meaning is doubling every year, which would indeed lead to a thousandfold increase in a decade. If it came true.
The most relevant point wasn't emphasized at the Y Combinator lovefest, which was all about start-ups. But as Sloan notes, the implication of that enormous increase in Facebook sharing is that it will include "interacting with brands." This is what has so many midsize firms interested in social marketing and related analytics.
Interacting With Brands?
On the most literal level, it is hard to see how we could share a thousand times as much of anything on social media--assuming we wanted to--and still have time for anything else. And while marketers don't like to hear it, a lot of people "interact with brands" mainly by hitting the mute button on the TV remote during ads.
But the real social marketing story is subtler and more complex. And it is a subtlety that IT managers at midsize firms must grasp in order to provide the most effective guidance for the use of social media.
There is one subgroup of the public that does enthusiastically interact with brands. This group is generally young, consumer-minded, outgoing--and likely to be heavy users of social media. And their brand choices are often highly influential with their friends and acquaintances.
This group makes up only a fairly small share of the population. But it is disproportionately important from a marketing perspective. Which is why, even without a thousandfold increase, social marketing technology will be important to the IT community at midsize firms.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Follow Rick Robinson on Google+.