Digital Impact Recap: Tapping the Wisdom of Friends Through Facebook

April 2, 2012

“Everything is in constant change,” said Caryn Marooney, vice president of technology communications for Facebook. She gave this morning’s opening keynote address at the PRSA 2012 Digital Impact Conference, themed “Influence and Persuasion,” at New York’s Sentry Center in Midtown.

In her address titled, “Tap the Wisdom of Friends: How to Thrive in a Connected World,” Marooney said that there are three things that all communicators need to remember to navigate constant change in a digital world:
• What is the audience we are trying to reach?
• What are the goals we are trying to reach?
• What are the best tools to reach this audience and these goals?

With more than 845 million people on Facebook, the social media platform has tremendous reach. “And with more than 100 billion friend connections, it’s this wisdom of friends that people are trusting more and more,” she said.

Users also upload 250 million photos to Facebook per day and generate 2.7 billion Likes and comments per day. People like visuals and Facebook is a very visual platform — even more so with the new “Timeline” layout. Use photos and videos strategically on Facebook as they significantly increase engagement, Marooney said.

“Timeline is like a personal scrapbook,” she said. You can select “only things you can see” if you want and make things private, fun, personal as part of the new Facebook Timeline redesign. “The magic of Timeline is that it’s not static — it’s fluid,” she said, adding that there is not new information or changes to privacy settings, just a different layout.

If you want to do “Spring Cleaning” and want to share with less people, then you can set certain items as private, filter your contact list so that they don’t show up as often in your feed or choose not broadcast it to everyone.

Or, you can also add the “Subscribe” button to your profile if you want to “share with more people and get your message out to the widest audience possible,” she said.
Facebook is also rolling out an “Interest List” so you can see what other people think is important and make posts targeted toward them.

This new decade is about discovering things through our “real friends,” Marooney said. She explained how communicators can leverage these latest Facebook tools to help their organizations or clients “move from the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends.”

Marooney concluded by referencing a poster that is plastered all over the Facebook offices, which reads: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” She posed that question to the audience in regard to quickly changing brands and technology in today’s world, adding, “We don’t know what we’re going to do next.”

You can follow the Conference on Twitter @PRSADIconf, or join the conversation at #PRSADIconf.


Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.


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