Fallacious Celebrations of Facebook Fans

This is a amusing and really good article about Web 2.0 marketing.  Mark Drapeau writes about how celebrating numbers of Facebook fans or Twitter followers is really missing the point of social networking, which is engagement.  The post uses the example of government agencies moving on to Facebook, but doing little more once there and using it as a service to re-post official communications.

They have understood that this is where an audience is, and they are taking the message to them. but they are not engaging them there.  The White House can, indeed, boast that it has more FB fans than the Washington Redskins,

But what exactly are we celebrating here? The fact that government agencies are embracing new technologies that the citizens they serve actually use? That’s nice I suppose, but everyone from Papa John’s Pizza to America’s Next Top Model (200,000 more fans than the White House, cough) to someone I met once at a party during Internet Week has a Facebook “Fan Page” now, so surely we are not celebrating the mere presence of them. In fact, when everyone in my social circle’s social circle asks me to become a fan of their long-standing charity, their favorite television program, or their single-person consulting firm, everything becomes a blur of meaningless, cheap invitations that become remarkably easy to decline. There is no value in simply having a fan page anymore. There may be street cred in not having one – time will tell.

Are we applauding the government’s fan numbers? The article leads with, “The White House currently has more fans than the Washington Redskins.” The most powerful global seat of power in perhaps the most recognizable office building in the world has more fans than the local football team? Earth-shattering. Let’s consider how popular the White House is. Facebook now has 300 million users; thus, approximately one out of every 1000 Facebook users is a “fan” of the White House. The other 999/1000 are not. And since many Facebook users live outside the U.S., one must assume that many White House fans do as well. Should every U.S. citizen using Facebook be a fan of the White House? Is that the goal? Who knows.

It’s an interesting article.  Read more at Fallacious Celebrations of Facebook Fans, Social Media Expert – PR 2.0.