Growing up in Ohio some people used to say that if you didn’t like the weather you just had to wait, it would change in an hour. I never really got the joke until I moved to California and realized how boring weather could be. (Fantastically boring.) Luckily, Facebook has come along to fill the void weather has left in my life - not only because Facebook is constantly changing, but also because it is nearly impossible to forecast. This past week was a good example, with the very positive, surprise release of some interesting updates for Facebook brand pages.
I think Meghan Gargan had a great overview of the potential impact these changes could have on transmedia storytellers who want to use Facebook as part of their overall storytelling. She highlighted three key improvements: big cover photos (like the new personal profile pages), bigger, better app integration (RIP tabs, long live apps), and of course, the timeline (another profile page innovation they’ve copy-pasted into brand pages). All in all, very good stuff, and Meghan is dead right when she says these changes, “will greatly impact those who use the platform as part of their transmedia experience.”
But I want more. Yep, I’m that guy. Give me pie, and I want the ice cream. No, I want Graeter’s ice cream. And lots of it.
See, these changes will help storytellers tell a certain kind of story, but I think it’s only part of what social storytelling could be (or should be). If the story you want to tell involves characters, events, locations and brands that all of the fans share, on the same timeline, then these improvements are great. They bring a major upgrade for how fans experience Facebook pages that draw them into the Facebook pieces of a transmedia story and get them experiencing it together more deeply.
For example, the day I get to see a complete James Bond timeline, with images and videos from the past 30+ years of his adventures, will be a completely lost day for me. Zero productivity. Imagine the secrets it would reveal: he never sleeps late on Monday, he plays Words with Friends with enemies, and poor Miss Moneypenny and her frowny face posts every time Bond’s relationship status changes to “it’s complicated” … not to mention the behind-the-scenes posts from every mission. I would absolutely love to be able to dig into that level of background and experience that part of the Bond story with millions of other fans.
But even with the latest Facebook improvements, fans are basically only voyeurs of a single story. Fans can engage with each other and potentially influence the story if the storyteller writes it in real-time, but not every story is a real-time, broadcast performance, or should be.
So what’s still missing? I have a few ideas:
- More Personalization - each fan gets unique content tailored to them.
- Better Timing - each fan gets the content when they want to experience it, not only when the storyteller wants to push it.
- Improved Segmentation - it is almost impossible to follow a story when it plays out in the firehouse of social content, each fan needs to be able to tease out the story to experience it separate from their “real life”.
What else could Facebook do to help you with the story you’re trying to tell?