Facebook: Content Ain’t King Anymore

It may not get the same attention as tomorrow’s State of the Union address, but when Facebook talks about the future, it’s wise to listen. No company is working harder to shape the future than Facebook, and with a core membership of 600 million people worldwide, it has the user base to implement its vision.

That’s why a relatively minor speech in London by Joanna Shields,  Facebook’s Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, caught the Wall Street Journal‘s attention.

Shields’s message – that the future of the Internet is about people, not information – seems obvious on the surface. But the implication of the shift is enormous. It means that the concept of “content is king” is slowly being toppled by the concept of connectivity. A company or organization whose product is difficult to share online risks falling behind competitors who make it easy to connect with people.

As Sheilds put it in her speech:

The single most popular impetus to buy is someone else’s advocacy. Yet many marketers focus on media spend, principally advertising, rather than driving advocacy with the consumer. If the product gets weak reviews, or worse, isn’t even discussed, it isn’t even likely to survive the winnowing process.

That statement includes a subtle nuance. A product with weak reviews has a better chance of surviving than a product that is ignored online.

The same could be said about ideas. Audacious ideas that draw heated opposition have a better chance to influence public opinion than strong ideas that get little Internet traction.

So make your voice heard on your favorite platform – be it Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or even the comments section of your favorite websites. If you see something you want others to see, don’t hesitate to push it. Otherwise, your favorite content may end up ignored and, ultimately, extinct on the Internet today — and even more so tomorrow.

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