Social Media Lover Offers Perspective on Facebook Chat


Sarah Hutton, a writer for Our American Shelf Life and a contributor here on Adrants was featured in a video, shot by Amanda Mooney (also an ASL writer and Adrants contributor) about Facebook chat.

Sarah tells the story about how she like to stay in touch (stalk?) with a friend abroad using Facebook chat because her friend is never on AIM or iChat. She also offers perspective on chat, friending and social media in general.

In response to Amanda's question, "What do you think about brands chatting with you on Facebook?", Sarah minces no words, saying, "That's not OK." She hits on the important notion that people (as in actual human beings) can't really be friends with a brand as represented by some autobot representative that just spews corporate babble. That's not to say brands can't have employees who represent themselves as brand ambassadors chat as a human who just happens to work for a particular brand.

Just prior to April 15, I said on Twitter I was sick of doing taxes and couldn't wait to be doen. Less than five minutes later, I received a tweet from HRBlock. I thought, "Oh great. Another faceless brand trying to invade my personal bubble." But, after trading several messages back and forth with the HRBlock representative, it turned into an informative and productive conversation for me. Brand can certainly "join the conversation." It's all in how it's done, though.

by Steve Hall    Apr-25-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Social, Trends and Culture   

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I'm totally with you on your thoughts about @HRblock. I think it's really cool when people from major brands talk to me one-on-one on Twitter and FB but only if it comes from one specific person in the company (@richardatdell for example). Otherwise it's an avatar speaking on behalf of an entire company which seems really strange.

Have you checked out Frank Eliason from Comcast Customer Outreach on Twitter? @comcastcares responds to a tweet saying "LOL never thought of myself as a splinter cell...that beats other things that I've been called"

Posted by: Amanda Mooney on April 25, 2008 12:33 PM

I agree with you on the Facebook perspective as you choose the folks inside your "personal bubble" Twitter on the other hand is is like standing in the street and shouting out your thoughts to the general public. It is not really a personal "bubble" at all you have chosen to put your thoughts out there in the "public space" so you are then susceptible to being approached by brands, and others, about things that might be highly relevant to them.

I think it is kind of forward thinking to have a H&R Block rep scanning through the tweets at tax time myself. Not sure what the ROI would be on it but it is the kind of thinking that companies like this need to explore to stay relevant in this increasingly confusing marketing space.


Posted by: JP Holecka on April 25, 2008 1:44 PM

If I knew I was headed for AdRants stardom I would have been more clear! I absolutely agree with the way in which @HRblock was able to interact with you via Twitter. Unfortunately, I think it is rare to have such a great/non spammy experience. I definitely agree with "brand ambassadors" spreading the word about products and services without being obnoxious or obviously trying to sway you into purchasing. It's all about transparency.

Posted by: Sarah on April 25, 2008 1:56 PM

You're all good, Sarah:-) I know you meant that.

Posted by: Steve Hall on April 25, 2008 2:19 PM